Daily TWiP ArchivesSomething interesting has happened on (just about) every day of the year, and Daily TWiP provides the proof. An offshoot of my local events column The Week in Preview (affectionately known as TWiP), Daily TWiP was published April 2008-Aug. 2011 and is still giving readers reasons to celebrate.
More in "Daily TWiP"
- Daily TWiP - Oct. 23: National Mole Day
- Daily TWiP - June 18: International Picnic Day
- Daily TWiP - June 30, 1859: The Great Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope
- Daily TWiP - Dec. 1, 1761: Famed wax sculptor Madame Tussaud born
- Daily TWiP - Dec. 4: National Cookie Day
- Daily TWiP - Oct. 8: National Fluffernutter Day
- Daily TWiP - Sept. 7, 1936: "Benjamin," the last thylacine, dies
- Daily TWiP - Nov. 12, 1933: First photograph of the Loch Ness Monster taken
- Daily TWiP - April 1, 1957: The BBC pulls off its infamous spaghetti tree hoax
- Daily TWiP - April 11, 1954: The most boring day of the 20th century
- Daily TWiP - May 3, 1978: The first spam email is sent
- Daily TWiP - Feb. 28, 1939: The non-word “dord” is discovered in Webster’s New International Dictionary
- Daily TWiP - March 3, 1931: "The Star-Spangled Banner," set to the tune of an English drinking song, becomes the U.S. national anthem
- Daily TWiP - May 16, 1777: The American with the most valuable autograph is fatally wounded in a duel
- Daily TWiP - May 25: Towel Day and Geek Pride Day
- Daily TWiP - June 30: National Ice Cream Soda Day
- Daily TWiP - July 22: Spoonerism Day
- Daily TWiP - Aug. 13: International Left-Handers' Day
- Daily TWiP - Aug. 23, 1784: The short-lived state of Franklin declares its independence from North Carolina
- Daily TWiP - Feb. 5, 1897: The Indiana General Assembly unanimously votes to change the value of pi
- Daily TWiP - March 10: International Day of Awesomeness and Chuck Norris' birthday
- Daily TWiP - Jan. 25: National Irish Coffee Day
- Daily TWiP - Nov. 30, 1954: Ann Hodges becomes the first person hit by a meteorite
- Daily TWiP - Oct. 6, 1582 does not happen in certain countries
- Daily TWiP - Sept. 17, 1859: Joshua A. Norton declares himself Emperor of the United States
- Daily TWiP - Sept. 30, 2004: First images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat are taken
- Daily TWiP - Aug. 27, 1896: The shortest war in recorded history is fought
- Daily TWiP - July 30, 1419: Czechs chuck politicians (literally) during the First Defenestration of Prague
- Daily TWiP - July 21, 356 B.C.: Herostratus destroys one of the Seven Wonders of the World to ensure his own fame
- Daily TWiP - May 14: National Dance Like A Chicken Day
- Daily TWiP - Jan. 26, 2004: Dead whale unexpectedly explodes in Tainan, Taiwan
- Daily TWiP - Jan. 8, 1835: U.S. national debt hits zero for the first and only time
Daily TWiP – Sept. 30, 2004: First images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat are taken
For centuries, the unfathomable creatures of the deep sea have been a source of fear and wonder to mankind. On Sept. 30, 2004, a little light was shed on one of the most elusive of these creatures, the giant squid, when it was photographed in its natural habitat for the first time ever.
There had been sightings of giant squids over the years by sailors and scientists alike, and a considerable amount of information had been gleaned from dead and dying giant squids that had washed up on beaches or become entangled in fishing nets.
Tsunemi Kubodera of the National Science Museum in Tokyo and Kyoichi Mori of the Ogasawara Whale Watching Association decided to take a more active approach to researching the creature.
Sperm whales are known to be the major predators of giant squid (thanks to the countless squid beaks whalers have found in sperm whales’ stomachs over the years), so Kubodera and Mori tracked the whales to their hunting grounds to see if they might happen upon some giant squid.
Setting up about 3,000 feet from Japan’s Ogasawara Islands, Kubodera and Mori managed to attract a giant squid to their underwater camera by means of fishing lines baited with squid and bags of mashed shrimp. It may sound uncomfortably cannibalistic, but giant squid do prey on smaller squid species.
Before this event, there had been considerable debate as to whether the giant squid was an aggressive predator or whether it was more passive, floating in one place and using its long tentacles like fishing lines to catch whatever happened to be passing by.
The images Kubodera and Mori took (totaling more than 500) answered that question once and for all. The giant squid showed itself to be quite an aggressive predator, enveloping the bait with its tentacles and only disengaging when one of its tentacles became snagged on a hook on the bait apparatus.
The giant squid ended up leaving its snagged tentacle behind, and it was still twitching when the research team hauled it onboard their vessel for study. Like octopuses, squids are able to regenerate severed tentacles.
Assuming the 18-foot long tentacle was severed at its base, Kubodera and Mori estimated the giant squid was about 26 feet long. The longest giant squid ever measured was 59 feet, which meant this one was about an average specimen.
The giant squid is not to be confused with its close relative, the colossal squid. Although both creatures inhabit the deep ocean, living as deep as 3,300 feet below the surface, the giant squid is actually longer than the colossal squid.
The colossal squid, however, is heavier. Based on specimens that have been sighted or washed ashore, scientists believe colossal squids can weigh up to 1,600 pounds.
Don’t expect to find either of these creatures on the menu at your favorite seafood restaurant anytime soon. The colossal squid and the giant squid are both technically edible, but according to reports, floor cleaner is more palatable. Apparently sperm whales prefer quantity over taste when it comes to their favorite foods.
You can view photos of the giant squid taken by Kubodera and Mori online, courtesy of National Geographic.
– Teresa Santoski
Originally published Sept. 30, 2010.