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Scientists Dissect, Examine Extremely Rare Colossal Squid [VIDEO]

Only three intact colossal squids have ever been caught. You’re about to see the most recent one caught.

In December of 2013, the fishing vessel San Aspiring caught a colossal squid in the Ross Sea near Antarctica. The squid was frozen and put into cold storage for eight months at the University of New Zealand until Tuesday when scientists thawed it for dissection.

Scientists hope the dissection will shed some light on the mysterious squid species. Currently, the scientific community doesn’t know much about colossal squids, because only a few partially intact specimens have ever been caught. And, they typically live at depths of thousands of feet in the waters around Antarctica, making them pretty hard to find. That’s why this video was such a big deal.

This is the video of the examination that was live streamed on the Web. It’s a long clip, so skip about 10 minutes in to start seeing parts of the squid. Until now, only a few people have ever seen an adult colossal squid, so this is pretty cool.

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Scientists have known about colossal squids since 1925, when fishermen began finding remains of the squids inside the stomachs of sperm whales. In 2003, fisherman caught the first intact sub-adult colossal squid off the coast of Antarctica. In 2007, the San Aspiring – the same ship that caught the most recent specimen -captured the first intact adult colossal squid, also in the Ross Sea. That colossal squid weighed 1,000 pounds. It’s been a popular feature of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, where scientists conducted the dissection on Tuesday.

There are two known massive squid species: the colossal squid and the giant squid. The colossal squid is the largest squid species in terms of mass. The giant squid is longer, but weighs less. Both species live at depths of thousands of feet. Colossal squids and giant squids could be the origin of the Kraken, a legendary sea monster of epic proportions. But who knows, there could creatures much larger than the squids lurking at the bottom of the ocean.

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Scientists Dissect, Examine Extremely Rare Colossal Squid [VIDEO]