I've been thinking about invertebrates often lately, and so was delighted to learn that the genome of the giant squid has been sequenced. I'll never tire of reading new genome papers.
One of the largest animals known, the giant squid is also one of the most elusive, appearing to us mainly as body parts sporting telltale suckers that have washed ashore. A full grown giant squid can't be comfortably stuffed into an aquarium tank. So most of us know about it from fiction.
Giant Squid in Culture
The giant sea monster of Scandinavian folklore, the Kraken, terrified sailors in vessels along the coastal waters of Norway and Greenland. It was likely a giant squid, as was Homer's tentacled Scylla in The Odyssey. Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, written in 1869, famously featured the animal.
More recently, the 2005 film The Squid and the Whale evokes the image of a giant squid battling a sperm whale depicted in a mesmerizing diorama at the American Museum of Natural History. Director Noah Baumbach borrowed the image as a metaphor for the battling parents of his young protagonists.
True squid stories are intriguing too.
To continue reading, go to DNA Science, where this post first appeared.