Kraken wakes, what is trying to tell us arhiteutis

First filmed live on video in his deep element in the camera's focus swam arhiteutis giant squid – the ocean monster hero sea stories and legends of the fishing taverns. Swam in a living reality of flesh and blood. But why now?

Here they are monsters. Neil Landman (Neil Landman) and I, along with a group of students standing in the store of the American Museum of Natural History, which in Manhattan. Landman curator, he was responsible for fossil invertebrates. We gathered there for the audience, which won us arhiteutis, or giant squid. Before us is a large stainless steel containers safely marinated subject sailor nightmares leviathan with hands-snakes Tightening accidents sea travelers to unknown depths toward certain death.

Landman squid tentacle grabs and lifts it up, that I touched. I wait in fear that the wet flabby thing snapped at me and grabbed it. In myths long half-life.

The washed-hot in his tin-bath tentacle to touch solid, like rubber. It's a bit like a bicycle wheel to pump spiked-suckers a coin on the stem. Stroking his fingers inside of the tentacles, I feel like a sawtooth ring of chitin, which provides its powerful sea monster like a vise grip. In the life of squid suckers leave evidence of the existence of the legendary monster is quite common, and often circular scars of them remain on the body of his worst enemy – the sperm whale. Under the photo in a publication from 1917, stored at the Smithsonian Institute, has a very poetic signature – "A piece of sperm whale skin with scars from the suckers left after the battle with the giant squid."

Predatory cephalopods and then rise from unimaginable depths of our collective unconscious. This 12-rukaya Scylla from Homer's "Odyssey", which is enough seafarers to vessels as a snack tray with the waiter and filthy "polyp" Pliny, whose awful nasty breath plaguing dogs, and out of water "fish-devil", which in 1879 described the biologist Thomas Kirk (Thomas Kirk). Referring to the story of the affected New Zealander, who came across the carcass of a sea monster, Kirk has created an image of "vile creature type" tentacled "thick as a human leg," with "horrible bulging eyes" and "a powerful beak," which, according to Aboriginal Maori enough people and pulls them inside. (Scared to death Kiwi swore: "No more sea bathing!")

But all these old (and everywhere) stories of many-armed creatures that maim people, no more than the old sea stories, the scientists said. Remember the story of 1873, which told Richard Ellis (Richard Ellis) in his book «The Search for the Giant Squid» (The search giant squid) on arhiteutisa encounter with a small fishing boat in the bay of Newfoundland. According to legend, a clever fisherman from Conception Bay to stop the attack of the giant squid, an ax chopping off one of the tentacles of the monster. There is no doubt that something was there. According to a local resident, excited, amputations monster is irrefutable proof of the existence of "a hitherto mysterious squid … arguing about which natural scientists for centuries." But modern cephalopod researchers speak about this "attack" is very dismissive, calling it the death throes of a dying animal, and noting that almost all of the giant squid, which could be found on the surface of the ocean, were either dead or dying. "There is no evidence-based stories about the attack of the giant squid per person, boat or underwater vehicle," – says Ellis.

However, there is compelling evidence of how big squid behaved aggressively towards humans. Biologist at the University of Arizona Kerstich Alex (Alex Kerstitch) while diving to film the series «Nature» commissioned by PBS in 1990, was attacked by the Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas). It was off the southern coast of Baja California in Mexico. Humboldt squid is not as huge as arhiteutis it just great. The maximum length of the animal is 1 meter 80 centimeters and weighs no more than 50 pounds. But his rather small size it makes up for a muscular mantle and aggressive manner in Joe Pesci (Joe Pesci). Sensing the smell of the bait, which operators use to attract cephalopods, squid suddenly several Kersticha grabbed his legs and began to pull at high speed into the marine underworld. They were joined by other creatures that had not met with the computer scientist, the grid for the collection of samples, light and right into the spirit of the street gang, a gold chain from his neck. But suddenly released Kersticha squid, and he happily swam up to the boat. Recalls producer Howard Hall (Howard Hall):

Squid attack is not really scared of Alex at the moment. He was too busy to be afraid. But when he got on board, I began to ask questions like: what if? What if they held it a little longer? What if they tore off his scuba regulator? And the worst thing for Alex: What if the squid with its bill (and it is much more than the largest parrot) ripped from his neck or two pounds of meat? When he started to think about it, his legs began to gave way. He decided that he should rest.

Knowingly Mexican fishermen call these creatures «diablos rojos» (Red Devils).

Most scientists believe that the Humboldt squid is much more aggressive giant squid arhiteutisov. But even if a giant squid unfairly uses its mythical reputation wrecking ships and monsters devouring people, the unvarnished truth about arhiteutise severe enough to reinforce, rather than dispel the idea of him as a legend of sea monsters. He has three hearts, blue blood, and the largest eyes in the animal kingdom. "The size of a volleyball," – says the zoologist emeritus Smithsonian Clyde Roper (Clyde Roper), whom many consider the world's most authoritative expert on arhiteutisu. They say that long giant squid is 14 meters.

Like Kubodere and Lendmanu, Roper believes that arhiteutis while hunting hangs motionless in the darkness of the sea at a depth of 600 to 1,000 meters. When a fish swims past the squid or smaller size, it calculates the distance, rushes to the victim, missing its two long tentacles, and then pulls it to his eight short arms, and eventually to the curves like a parrot's beak, located in the center of the tangle of muscles, tentacles and limbs. Squid beak sharp as a knife, his upper tight to the bottom of the serving. Tearing off chunks of flesh, arhiteutis uses rough, like body language, with tiny teeth, called radula, or float. With this float it pushes food down the esophagus. "Some people think that these are very gentle giants" – cleverly said Landman. But it is not to be bought. However, this is an open question, and the answer is – a subject for debate, and indeed everything about arhiteutisa. Chief Specialist for squid from New Zealand, Steve O'Shea (Steve O'Shea) clearly on the side of those who speak of a quiet disposition giant.

Ellis writes in his book about the search for the giant squid arhiteutis "is the least-studied large animal on earth, the last animal is unbowed." Most of what we know about the giant squid – or think we know – it is 90% terrible stories and 10% facts woven fears, fantasies, and conjectures of scientists, based on examination of the dead or dying specimens washed up on the surfaced on the beach or the ocean surface.

That was until recently.

Close contacts with the Kraken from the real world becomes more and more. In recent years, and even catch a giant colossal squid – whole and in part, for the camera and that it is much less common on the hook. "Historically, in all cases where arhiteutisa found it was a dead animal – says tevtolog (Professional squid) from New Zealand, Steve O'Shea. – Now we often see as living giant squid photographed and filmed. Success in the shooting of these animals in the study of life and biology in recent years, the phenomenal compared to what it was a few years ago. "

Despite being the largest invertebrate on the planet, a living giant squid until 2004 in its natural habitat was never seen, let alone to photograph. September 30, 2004 at exactly 9:15 am a giant squid length of eight meters pecked near the Ogasawara islands of Japan in the woods with bait, which Dr. Tsunemi Kubodera (Tsunemi Kubodera), along with his research team secured the strobe lighting and a digital camera with a timer enable every 30 seconds. Within days of the cephalopod fans pelted the Internet links to the amazing photos of animal depths of the sea, which, as explained, scientists, grabbed the bait, "almost as much as pythons encircle their prey rings immediately after the attack."

After that, we were spectators of the whole series with megakalmarami starring. In December 2006, Kubodera and his team surpassed himself by slipping on a hook near the Japanese island of arhiteutisa Titidzima. Scientists videotaped writhing eight-meter sea monster when it is pulled out. (Unfortunately, arhiteutis died from contact with warm water on the surface. He had no chance, as the squid is also pulled out of the water on the deck of the ship.) And in February 2007, the crew of fishermen from New Zealand made a new discovery. During commercial fishing for Antarctic toothfish in Antarctic waters south of New Zealand they live dragged on deck colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) 13 meters long and weighing 450 pounds. Kalmar has not survived, but it was the adult specimen (and, some say, the most disgusting) from among the largest members of the Order of giant cephalopods, ever catch a man. (Why is lousy? Because Mesonychoteuthis arhiteutisa beat on all counts: at the ends of its tentacles, similar to a club many terrible stirring hook – the better to grab you and me.)

And then there was the first video of a live arhiteutisa in the ocean depths. It was done in 620 miles south of Japan, at a depth of 700 meters – where sperm whales are hunted for giant squid. In June and July 2012, the expedition, funded jointly channel Discovery and Japanese broadcasting organization NHK, went in search of this elusive animal. Scientists Kubodera, O'Shea and marine biologist Edith Widder (Edith Widder), to lead the expedition, had 55 dives on two underwater vehicles. Using electronic jelly bait made Widder (it glowing and copies bioluminescent jellyfish lights Atoll), and innovative video technology called Medusa, which runs quietly in the pair floating camera and light source is extremely red range, invisible to most marine species, the researchers were able to remove the plush, literally unearthly squid shots approaching the bait.

Squid dancing in the dark, illuminated chromatophores, which gleamed iridescent multicolored – from gold to silver and cold blue. It was a messenger of a different world, where there are no stars, no sun. "The eye was very similar to the human, but the creature looked like a stranger," – said the producer with the Discovery Channel Leslie Schwerin (Leslie Schwerin), who accompanied the team of researchers. "The color of it was not so, as we expected – said Widder. – The one that brought to the surface [command Kubodery] … was red. Many deep-sea squid in red. And this was a bright silver and gold. Its as if carved out of metal. The spectacle was absolutely fantastic. "

In the focus of the camera float in the ocean monster, the hero of sea stories and legends of the fishing taverns. Swam in a living reality of flesh and blood. But why now?

According to Ellis, this is due to the fact that we have there are more opportunities to observe the most nooks and cracks of our planet. "We only just learned how to study the ocean without having to send in the depths of man in submersible or submersible, – he says. – Application of robotic cameras allow researchers to remove large areas of the ocean, without exposing themselves to danger. The more we do it, the more surprises we meet. " (In his new book, «The Little Blue-eyed Vampire from Hell» (little blue-eyed vampire from hell), he just talks about one such surprise. This Vampyroteuthis infernalis, strange little squid with big eyes. The body has a lot of luminous dots similar to the Christmas lights. And the name of his frightening, worthy of the Norwegian group, which performs death metal. first stories about him appeared in 1903, but take it to a depth succeeded only in 1992.) Helps and secrecy afforded light of the extremely red range, said Widder. Due to this in the dark ocean is increasingly possible to observe the giant squid and other ocean creations subconscious.

However, as O'Shea, an attack on the depths of the sea led the scientists and the business, in particular, the oil industry. "Thanks to the deep search for oil, we saw footage Magnapinna (another type of squid -" puny, with disproportionately long tentacles, reaching a length of more than six meters "), all-terrain vehicles taken underwater at a depth of 4,500 meters in the Gulf of Mexico."

However, the most dramatic photos and video footage megakalmarov is the result of hard and painstaking work of dedicated tevtologov which lift the creatures on film, and if lucky, watch live. "Dr. Kubodera three years spent on expeditions totaling 26 weeks before getting the first pictures, and he was searching in the area where there must have been guaranteed to the giant squid, because it lies on the path of migration of sperm whales – says Roper. – He just came back hard in the same place, which carries a large bait lure, and eventually managed to catch a squid. He put a phenomenal effort, did it for a long time, and finally succeeded. That's it. "

According to O'Shea, the media, exposing society to these animals played an important role in ensuring that the search of large squid engaged fans. As an example, he cites the entertainment and educational programs, such as a documentary on Channel Discovery «Chasing Giants: On the Trail of the Giant Squid» (The Pursuit of giants: in the wake of the giant squid). O'Shea there one of the leading players. In addition, he said that museums use arhiteutisa as an exhibit, and it is a guarantee of success in attendance. By popularity second only giant squid that animated dinosaurs with sound. "Whenever in the window gets colossal squid, damn media come in manic excitement" – says O'Shea, and his voice is clearly different notes pained fatigue syndrome scientist from the Kraken.

Of course, he adds, a wide and rapid spread of the Internet and the news staff, telling us about the giant and colossal squid, to bolster their popularity. About them all now know, from fishermen and enthusiastic yachtsmen to vagrants on the beaches. "In 1925, the British Malacology Robson found two copies of the contents of the stomach Mesonychoteuthis whale harpooned in Antarctic – says O'Shea. – The next time these creatures dragged on board was somewhere in the 70's. Russian caught quite a few cephalopods when fished for toothfish. So in Russian literature was, but who the hell would read this? And in 90 years, when all captured Google, all of a sudden became aware of these creatures. But otherwise, if they have catchy names such as "colossal squid". "

Another obvious explanation for more frequent meetings with megakalmarami is that the new technologies of fishing, such as bottom trawling and longline gear, helps to penetrate into the depths of the ocean (sea, most researchers would say "looting the deep sea"). For example, vessels with longline gear, more and more get into Antarctic waters, home to colossal squid feeding on Antarctic toothfish.

"The depth of fishing increases – says O'Shea – and we with their trawl gear and invade a new environment. It is not surprising that in the course of the invasion of the fishermen catch new, more strange animals. "

He is joined Roper. "The density of the animal population is not increasing," – he said, noting that on the basis of exhaustive research giant squid beaks found in the stomachs of whales, we can say that in our seas arhiteutisov "many millions." (Colossal squid examined worse, so its size can only guess).

As O'Shea, Roper explains the popularity megakalmarov the media that "now people get to the places where they live." Arhiteutisa usually found at a depth of 400-900 meters, in areas of the mesopelagic to bathypelagic, he says. Colossal squid live deeper in the water column, "probably at depths of 800 to 1,000 meters." According to Roper, "many deep-sea fishing nets today dipped in 1000, or even 1200 meters."

We have not only started to penetrate deeper into the interior of the ocean, he says, but they have to expand the geographical boundaries of their penetration. Fishing areas now reach far into the Southern Ocean and are located around the entire Antarctic. Until recently, no one there did not catch fish, but as in the traditional areas of fishing is getting smaller, the fishermen have to climb further and deeper. That's why as a by-catch, the catch is optional, but not the fish, which is a catch, they get a large squids (most of which are simply dumped over the side, already dead).

According to Roper, more frequent detection of large squid showing very ominous picture. Using the world's oceans, we descend deeper and deeper into the water column. But it does not threaten us disastrous consequences? Would not monsters squid canaries in the coal mine?

Roper condemns methods deepwater trawling, by which fishermen pick up living in the depths of sea creatures. "The life cycle of them is 30, 50 or even 100 years," and it causes serious damage to the population, which in these conditions can not be maintained. He talks about the orange roughy fish, which grows slowly, matures late and can live for 130 years. "Orange roughy spawn eggs in the coral forests on the edge of the seamount, where the soft and hard corals grow to 12 meters in height. And then there are sweepers and clean out everything. They are like giant rollers that are just destroying the forests. "

O'Shea in his laconic manner of New Zealand says it is sharper. Bottom trawls "raped the seabed," he says. "If you're working on an underwater mountain, or in the deep reefs, you have a weight in the form of large steel balls that hold the bottom edge of the network on the bottom surface, divide the seabed. In New Zealand, there are coral growths, towering above the sea floor by seven meters. The age of the coral base can easily be two thousand years, although the living part of the coral, its terminal branches, much younger. Them for twenty years. It is a huge structure, which is the habitat of animals set fouling crust and small fishes. And when you're trawling through it, you instantly destroy that grew 2,000 years. This is the complete destruction of everything that is on the sea floor, including coral clusters millennial age. And in order to get a couple of fishes. "

Getting back to the squid, O'Shea notes that trawl nets kill 78 of 86 species of New Zealand squid. These are the kinds whose fragile, free-floating mass Caviar easily destroyed trawl nets. His concern is that trawling "leads to death and the complete destruction of the species."

But why should we worry about a couple of hundred squid, which many millions? Two words, says O'Shea – "cascades exhaustion", the flip side of the life cycle, which gives us a sense of mutual connection with nature. "What are the implications for the multi-level of the food chain? No one knows. However, we know that scientists are finding more whales – sperm whales, pygmy sperm whales, pilot whales ordinary, toothed whales – are suffering from acute gastric ulcer. " Why? Because they have enough in the diet of squid. It turns out that squid for toothed whales is not only food, but also a source of water, as the salt water they drink. Therefore, "they are hungry and thirsty," says O'Shea. Ulcers, he suggests, are caused by a strong acid, stimulates digestion. It burns a hole in the wall of the stomach of whales.

But there is a ray of hope. O'Shea "removes the hat" to the New Zealand fishing industry that voluntarily announced that 30% of the exclusive economic zone of New Zealand [this sea area, which stretches 200 miles from the coast] bottom trawling is prohibited. Roper is encouraging a ban on trawling "in the vast territory in the South Pacific", introduced after the Republic of Kiribati in 2006 declared marine reserves vast space of atolls, reefs, and is a deep habitat. And George W. Bush in that year declared a national monument of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (Leeward Islands). Stroke of a pen, he created the world's largest marine reserve larger than California. In 2009, President Bush added to the territory of the reserve more bandwidth controlled by the Americans of the Pacific Ocean.

But as always, the joy of this is tainted: although these protected areas are highly praised, researchers marine life can not fail to notice that they are only a small part of the ocean.

At a time when commercial pillage in the deep sea with a little help from the pollution and global warming destroys the idea that the seas are too vast to some kind of man caused them harm, giant and colossal squid look as menacing and sinister as in ancient times. Kraken, once reminds us of the words of Hamlet Horatio limits of human knowledge, can still tell us a lot of stories, warning that our seas are emptying forever if we abandon the outdated ideas of the industrial age: that natural resources are inexhaustible that they are the fuel for the engine of capitalism. He can tell you how ecstatic over-production and over-consumption overflowing our landfills and creates samovozvodyaschiysya monument to our civilization: a huge Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean, which is a floating mass of plastic waste in the main, the size is two times larger than the territory of Texas and weighing about 3.5 million tons. As reported in its report of 2006, the organization Greenpeace, marine life take such waste as plastic bags and pieces of Styrofoam for jellyfish and other prey. Many of these animals, such as birds and sea turtles, inevitably die as plastic stuck inside them. They are dying of hunger, because they have stomachs filled garbage.

O'Shea found plastic in the stomachs of the giant squid. "Oceans very ill, – he says. – Available at my disposal projections, such as review publications indicate that by 2025, the crash of commercial fisheries. By the time all the fish disappear, which is on your plate when you buy it in the supermarket. " Not disappear completely, and in a commercial sense. "After 2025 years will have to go 25-30 to fish populations recovered enough, and could again begin to commercial fisheries. But at that time we will have to find some alternative source of power, and I do not think people will want to again completely destroy all life in the oceans. "

"If we continue to go the way that we go as a global society, in one way or another will be in danger of literally all forms of life – said Roper. – All this will not happen tomorrow, and if we poumneem and start fast enough to react to what is happening, it will not. But we definitely need to control the wealth of their management and oceans. "

In Tennyson's poem "The Kraken" sea monster emerges from the abyss at the end of the world when the "abyss of fire burn through the sky." Perhaps the real monsters, such as arhiteutis and his enormous cousin, appear in people's imagination, to warn us that our reality, which is becoming more and more virtual, allowing us to turn it off when we get tired of it, we are in a much greater dependence on incredibly complex natural systems and mechanisms than we think. Speaking environmental terms, we are only a few degrees of separation from the darkest places of nature, where her most incredible creations.

Mark Dery cultural critic, often writing about the squid, the author of many books. He is currently working on a biography of the writer, illustrator and legendary eccentric Edward Gorey.

Original publication: The Kraken Wakes: What Architeuthis is Trying to Tell Us

Category: Ocean

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