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Giant squid eat their own!

norway giant squid

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Sea behemoth researchers in Australia have revealed the shocking truth behind these monsters of the deep: they eat their own kind. New Scientist reveals in Gruesome habits of the giant squid that an analysis of the stomach contents of Architeuthis dux shows disturbing evidence of cannibalism. Researchers led by Bruce Deagle of the University of Tasmania in Australia examined the contents of a giant squid that had washed ashore off that island. They found:

three tentacle fragments and 12 squid beaks. The beaks could not be unequivocally identified, but all of the squid DNA in the slurry, and the tentacle fragments, was found to be that of A. dux (Journal of Heredity, vol 96, p 417).

While Deagle thinks this is clear evidence of intent, earlier investigators thought it might be an accident. Here's where it takes an even more disturbing turn. Over to Steve O'Shea from the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand:

"The male giant squid has to use a puny 15-gram brain to coordinate 150 kilograms of weight, 10 metres of length and a 1.5-metre-long penis... He physically plunges this penis into the female's arms, which are rather unfortunately right next to her beak. Because he is coordinating so much with so little, I think occasionally bits get chewed off when they inadvertently get too close to the beak."

It's all part of the cycle of life, although you might not want to think about that too much as you have your next fish dinner.

Pictured right is a specimen that washed ashore in Norway, back in the days before we knew the truth about these monsters of the depths.

UPDATE: Here are the first pictures of a live giant squid.