Giant squids are fantastical creatures that live in the crushing depths of the ocean and are rarely seen except in adventure books.
But this winter in South Africa (which was summer in the United States), a baby giant squid washed up on a beach northwest of Cape Town. It lay there, its grey-pink tentacles spread on the sand, and the beachgoers who first saw it realized it was breathing. It had even squirted some of its dark ink onto the sand, an action typically used to confuse predators and one of the reasons that scientist Wayne Florence called the discovery a “stunning find.”
Days before, the giant squid probably had been swimming and searching for food. It would have used those fierce tentacles – the longest was 14 feet – to latch onto its prey and pull it closer to its beaklike mouth.
The animal died before it could be