Cephalopods!

Oh man. I am obsessed with creatures of the sea, ESPECIALLY squids and octopuses! Did you know they are honorary vertebrates in the U.K.? They are very intelligent and can change colors, sometimes glow. They can also be pretty brazen; Check out this video of an octopus stealing a video camera! (Great shots of the whole dude after our vertebrate cameraman regains control)  octopus steals my video camera and swims off with it (while it’s Recording) from Victor Huang on Vimeo.

Here is another video I love, “Baby Squid, Born like Stars”. The music is serene and odd and mystical sounding to me. It really seems to fit well with these strange and beautiful underwater images.

If you’re feeling playful, go over to Te Papa and build a squid! You pick colors, features, etc. and then release your squid baby into the virtual ocean! I love going back to check on my squids, Squiddy Squiddy Woo and Dillinger (he just escaped a peckish petrel!) Check it out here: http://squid.tepapa.govt.nz/build-a-squid/interactive

Squiddy just passed an underwater volcano!

Wikipedia has an informative entry on this cool class of creatures, with tons of great pictures like Ernst Haeckel‘s detailed drawing:

I think part of the allure also comes from the horror stories told by sailors who were first encountering these bizarre creatures, especially giant ones. This site has a great account translated from latin:

Historical account of a giant squid

The first scientific description of a giant squid was in the 19th century, but for hundreds of years there were stories of great, many-armed beasts that rose out of the ocean to capsize ships. In this mid-16th-century account by the Archbishop of Uppsala, Olaus Magnus, it is possible that his description (translated below from the Latin) of a large-headed animal with globular eyes and root-like tendrils is of a giant squid:

‘Their forms are horrible, their heads square, all set with prickles, and surrounded by long sharp horns like the roots of an upturned tree: these heads are ten or twelve cubits long, very black, with huge globular eyes which are at least 8 to 10 cubits [360 to 450 centimetres] in circumference: the pupil one cubit in diameter, and is red and fiery colored, which in the dark night appears to far-off fishermen as a burning fire amongst the waves: It ‘has hairs like goose feathers, thick and long, like a beard hanging down; the rest of the body, compared to the greatness of the head (which is square) is very small, not being above 14 or 15 cubits [630 or 675 centimetres] long. One of these sea-monsters will easily capsize or sink many great ships provided with the strongest sailors.’

Apparently, I’m not the only one who finds this inspiring!

Found at BibliOdyssey

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