Saturday, May 03, 2008

Colossal squid

The dissection of the colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) specimen from Antarctica has been getting a lot of coverage. Pangs of homesickness, especially seeing Steve O'Shea enthusing about the beast. Steve was a contemporary at Auckland Uni when I was a student. I remember him being deeply disappointed in me because I moved away from doing alpha taxonomy of crustaceans (describing taxa such as Pinnotheres atrinicola, right) to fussing with cladistics and computers. Looking at Steve on YouTube, I think it's clear who's having more fun. Maybe I should have stuck to taxonomy after all...

2 comments:

Frank Anderson said...

I had no idea you knew Steve!

He gave a talk at the cephalopod meeting in Tasmania a couple of years ago. I missed it (I was out in the hall talking to one of the few other people who do cephalopod genetic work), but I heard later that he seemed bummed that he'd kind of been scooped by a Japanese group on Architeuthis (the giant, as opposed to colossal, squid). I know some of the work he tried to do with Architeuthis larvae (which was made into a TV special) was a bit disappointing. Working on such critters is sexy, but it obviously isn't all gumdrops and rainbows -- they're very hard to find and even harder to study alive! I'm glad he does it, but I'd rather work on things that are a bit easier to collect. I have a hard enough time getting papers done without waiting for rare encounters with my taxon of choice!

I don't know him well, but he seems like a great guy -- he's definitely helped me out a lot. And he's certainly become one of the "go-to" guys for giant/colossal squid stuff. Good for him!

(BTW...alas, the video you linked to is no longer viewable)

Rod Page said...

The video seems fine to me...