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Giant squid on display in London’s NHM

Posted on Wednesday, March 1st, 2006 at 11:12 pm CET

A giant squid of 8.62m (28ft), nicknamed Archie after its Latin name Architeuthis dux, is on display at the Darwin Centre of London’s Natural History Museum. It is one of the biggest and most complete giant squids every found!

Giant Squid at London Natural History MuseumGiant squids are rarely seen as they live at depts of 200 to 1,000m (650 to 3,300ft) and were once believed to be mythical creatures. They can grow to tremendous size of up to 10m (34ft) for males and 13m (44ft) for females.

Researchers of the museum have taken great care in preservering the giant creature, which is now on display in a 9m (30ft) long glass tank.

“Most giant squid tend to be washed up dead on beaches, or retrieved from the stomach of sperm whales, so they tend to be in quite poor condition,” said Jon Ablett, mollusc curator at the Natural History Museum.

“The first stage was to defrost it”, Abbet explained to BBC News. “That took about four days. The problem was the mantle – the body – is very thick and the tentacles very narrow, so we had to try to thaw the thick mantle without the tentacles rotting.

The scientists did this by bathing the mantle in water, whilst covering the tentacles in ice packs, after which they injected the squid with a formol-saline solution to prevent it from rotting.

Source: Giant squid grabs London audience

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