Tomorrow, January 27th, at 8 PM ET & PT, the Discovery Channel is airing Monster Squid: The Giant is Real featuring the first video ever recorded of a live giant squid in its natural habitat. (See our recent post Giant Squid Filmed for First Time in the Deep Sea.)
In addition to their great size, approaching fifty feet, the giant squid and its slightly larger relative, the colossal squid, each have the largest eyes of any animals for their size. Scientists have been puzzled by this. Why would a creature that lives in almost total darkness need eyes the size of basketballs? Even stranger, the eyes, collected from dead giant squids, do not appear to be very good at seeing any sort of detail. What is the evolutionary point?
Researchers built a mathematical model to get an idea what a giant squid could see through these huge and strange eyes. They determined that the squid is extremely far-sighted. Nothing up close would be very clear. About the only thing that the eyes would be good for is seeing large shapes at a distance. Which is, of course, exactly what the giant squid needs. Its primary predator is the sperm whale, the toothed leviathan large enough to battle the razor sharp suckers of the giant squid. It appears that giant squid have “super-sperm-whale-vision.”