The Search for the Giant Squid: The Biology and Mythology of the World's Most Elusive Sea Creature

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9780140286762: The Search for the Giant Squid: The Biology and Mythology of the World's Most Elusive Sea Creature

The most mysterious and elusive of all sea creatures, the giant squid--at least sixty feet long and weighing nearly a ton--is also one of the largest. Yet for all its magnificent size and threatening undersea presence, Architeuthis has remained a mystery. Until now. In this marvelous and beautifully illustrated book, marine biologist, explorer, and artist Richard Ellis presents all that is known about the giant squid. Delving into myth, literature, popular culture, and science, he brings readers face to face with this remarkable creature. He also provides a thorough, compelling study of what is known and what is still to be discovered about this exotic animal that has never been studied alive. Interweaving his engrossing narrative with a wealth of fascinating illustrations and photographs, Ellis gives us the first comprehensive history of the only living creature that can truly be called a "sea monster."

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The sea contains many mysteries, and among the most enduring of them are giant squids of the genus Architeuthis. About this squid, known as the "kraken" in classical mythology, we know little, except, oceanographic writer Richard Ellis notes, that "it occasionally washes ashore--and when that happens, we don't know why." Some of these odd creatures, Ellis notes, are 60 feet long, cannibalistic, and patently fierce, with the largest eyes of any animal on the planet (useful for seeing in the inky darkness of the deep sea). They're not the kind of thing you'd want to encounter on a benthic shelf, as Ian Fleming made clear in Doctor No, in which superspy James Bond had one such unpleasant meeting. But, thanks to Ellis's well-researched account, they make the perfect subject for armchair sleuthing, and he tells you just about everything you'd want to know about the giant squid, from the biologists and explorers and cryptozoologists who have hunted for it over the centuries, and much more. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Richard Ellis is a celebrated authority on marine biology and America’s foremost marine life artist whose work has been exhibited worldwide. His nine books include The Search for the Giant Squid (a Publishers Weekly 1998 Best Book of the Year), Great White Shark, Encyclopedia of the Sea, Men and Whales, Monsters of the Sea, Deep Atlantic The Book of Whales, and Imagining Atlantis.

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