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Learning English - Words in the News
28 September, 2005 - Published 15:42 GMT
Scientists find giant squid
Giant squid
Giant squid

Japanese researchers have taken the first pictures of a live giant squid. Photographs taken by a scientific expedition suggest that the animal was eight metres across and fed 900 metres under the sea. This report from Pallab Ghosh (voiced by Jackie Dalton).

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Until now there's been no photographic evidence of living giant squids. But scientists have known of their existence from the remains of dead specimens that have been washed up onto the shore. The largest of these have measured 18 metres across!

They've been hard to capture on film because they live so far under the sea. It's perhaps this mystery that has helped make these creatures part of seafaring folklore. They've been portrayed as monsters of the deep that fight with sperm whales and overturn vessels.

These first ever images should therefore shed some light on what the giant squid is really like. Initial findings suggest that although these tales may have been exaggerated, the giant squid is fierce and fast moving. The pictures show that they use their long tentacles to envelop sea creatures in much the same way that pythons coil around their prey.

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photographic evidence of living giant squids
visual proof that very large sea creatures with many legs exist in the sea

remains of dead specimens
parts of squid that are no longer alive

washed up onto the shore
left on land beside the sea

hard to capture on film
difficult to photograph

seafaring folklore
traditional stories about the sea

portrayed as monsters of the deep
represented as large creatures living in the sea

shed some light on
give more details about

although these tales may have been exaggerated
even though the stories about squids have been made more interesting than they actually are

thin parts of an octopus or squid that are used to feel and hold things

pythons coil around their prey
large snakes that kill animals by squeezing them with their bodies

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