Nine-foot long squid to be unveiled in Y’s science museum

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    By SARA GILES

    A nine-foot long squid is being unveiled Thursday at the BYU’s Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum.

    This is an extremely rare opportunity for BYU to have a Moroteuthis robusta or Giant North Pacific Squid on display according to Douglas C. Cox, assistant director of the museum.

    The special tank constructed at the Bean Museum will suspend, light and preserve the squid in order to allow visitors to see all angles of the squid.

    Usually, squids are discovered dead and in pieces in the bodies of sperm whales, one of their main enemies or washed up on the shore. They are deep sea creatures who can only survive in that atmosphere.

    “Its very irregular to find a squid especially one alive and in one piece,” said Cox.

    Few institutions in the world are fortunate enough to have a giant squid, since they rarely survive once captured and deteriorate quickly when they die. In fact, very little is known about these animals according to Braithwaite.

    Students expressed interest in seeing something that normally would be hidden from human eyes.

    “I think its really exciting to see something that is almost just a myth because no one really knows anything about them,”said Wendy Wadsen, 23, a senior at BYU majoring in sociology from Alamo, California said

    The squid that is currently in the Bean Museum was found five miles northwest of Point Pinos off the Monterey Peninsula in California. Local bottom- dredge fisherman caught in their nets the squid then alive at 1200 ft. They brought it to Stanford University which gave the squid to Lee Braithwaite, a BYU associate professor of zoology and a specialist in marine invertebrate biology.

    This giant squid is nine feet long, but its species can grow up to 19 ft, including the length of the tentacles. Other types of squid can grow up to 75 feet long. According to Cox, scientists have never caught a squid that big but assume that they are there because of the size of the squid parts found in the stomachs of their main predators, the sperm whale.

    Squids are not by nature aggressive towards larger animals according to Cox. They are generally thought to be protecting themselves in fights with whales. Human contact is fairly rare because in the past, humans have been unable to descend to the ocean levels that they exist at. But with modern technology, human contact is becoming increasingly more frequent.

    In order to provide more information, there will be a lecture this Thursday at 7 p.m. titled “Getting to know Real Sea Monsters :The Krakens” by Lee Braithwaite. It will be held in the Bean Museum’s’s Tanner Auditorium. The event is free and the public is welcome.

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