A 30-foot-long giant squid that washed ashore in Spain on Tuesday had beachgoers astonished the cephalopod was still intact.
The 400-pound Architeuthis Dux was transported to the Maritime Museum of Cantabria where its fate remains unclear as to whether it will be put on display or dissected for science, El Diario Montanes reports.
“The find however has a great scientific, cultural and museum value; whether we conserve her in a special storage or have her exposed in the museum are some of the options under consideration” Gerardo Garcia Castillo, head of the museum responsible for the conservation, told MercoPress.
The squid, a female specimen, “presents externally no signs of violent death or pathology,” Garcia Castillo said, adding that it is “slightly deteriorated” with lost skin and its eyes popped out, which is “normal.”
Photographer Enrique Talledo, who captured images of the giant squid, told GrindTV, “The animal died at sea and ocean currents brought it to the coast. The squid was in good condition except one [tentacle] had been broken.”
Giant squids, the biggest invertebrate on Earth, are elusive. Living at depths between 1,000 and 3,000 feet, they have been difficult to study. It was only in 2004 when the first images were captured of the giant squid in Japan by Tsunemi Kubodera, a scientist with Japan's National Science Museum. Two years later, Kubodera and his team were able to snare a 24-foot giant squid southeast of Tokyo.
Earlier this year, the first video footage of the giant squid was released. "People have been searching for them for hundreds of years, literally," Richard Ellis, author of "The Search for the Giant Squid: The Biology and Mythology of the World's Most Elusive Sea Creature," told CNN. "For a long time, people didn't even think they existed."
"It was shining and so beautiful," Kubodera told Agence France-Presse about the discovery. "I was so thrilled when I saw it first hand, but I was confident we would because we rigorously researched the areas we might find it, based on past data."
The giant squids’ eyes are some of the largest in the animal kingdom, measuring up to 10 inches in diameter. They have eight arms and "two very, very long tentacles which it uses to grasp its prey," Ellis said.
As for the recent one that washed ashore in Spain, it’s considered, “A large specimen but not excessive,” Garcia Castillo said.