Scientists are rejoicing after a giant squid was filmed off the coast of the US for the first time.
Footage captured by scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Journey into Midnight project, 160km southeast off the coast of New Orleans, shows the huge sea creature wrap its tentacles around the recording device.
Crew members couldn’t believe their eyes after checking their footage from Wednesday’s deployment of Medusa, a hi-tech camera which uses red light undetectable to marine life, while enticing creatures in with an artificial jellyfish that replicates their behaviours.
Estimating the squid was at least 3.7 metres in length, the size of your average hatchback car, the crew rushed to confirm their discovery with one of the world’s best squid experts, Michael Vecchione.
After a painstaking wait, contributed to by their vessel being struck by lightning, they were eventually able to receive confirmation from Mr Vecchione.
Scientists Sonke Johnsen and Edie Widder, who were among the group exploring the dark depths of the Gulf of Mexico described the capture as “the most amazing video you've ever seen”.
Giant squid has the largest eye of any animal
Capturing a giant squid on camera is extremely rare, with the team believing previous attempts using bright lights in the dark depths of the ocean proving a deterrent to marine life.
Mr Widder was part of the team responsible for the first time it was captured on camera in 2012 off the coast of Japan.
Widder described giant squids as a mesmerising creature due to its set of abnormal characteristics.
"It's got eight writhing arms and two slashing tentacles," Widder explained.
"It has the largest eye of any animal we know of, it's got a beak that can rip flesh.
“It has a jet propulsion system that can go backwards and forwards, blue blood, and three hearts. It's an amazing, amazing life form we know almost nothing about."
Scientists observed the squid appeared intrigued by the artificial jellyfish but left peacefully once realising there was no meal to be had.
"What were once monsters to be feared are now curious and magnificent creatures that delight," Johnsen and Widder said in reference to the giant squid’s reputation.
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