Posted by: Eddie Duncan Shackleford on May 8th, 2013
Earlier this year, Discovery Channel debuted the first-ever video footage of a giant squid found in its natural habitat in the special titled Monster Squid: The Giant is Real. You can check out a preview clip Cryptomundo posted back in January.
Edith Widder, one of the researchers on the squid discovery team, had a TED talk not long ago in which she shed some light on the discovery of the once-mythical creature and the strategy and techniques used to lure, and ultimately film it.
There are a few lessons that stuck out in her discussion that all cryptozoologists and creature enthusiasts should consider if they really want to discover a legendary cryptid.
1) Stick to an area
One of the most frustrating things about shows like Finding Bigfoot is that they cover so much ground. They have ventured all over North America and even had international investigations in Indonesia and Australia. While it’s great getting to see all the different pieces of evidence from all over the world, they aren’t spending enough time in one place. Bigfoot, like the giant squid, isn’t going to expose himself willingly.
What investigators should do is hunker down and stick to one geographic area for a seriously significant amount of time. If Bigfoot’s like any other animal, with the exception of migratory ones, an individual of the species will live in a relatively confined area of a few hundred miles or so. That’s much less than what the giant squid discoverers had to work with. They got something because they found an area with evidence and stayed there.
2) If the technology isn’t there, develop it
Widder also pointed out that one of the issues with deep sea squid hunts of yesteryear was technology—not that it wasn’t good enough, but that the underwater equipment was too bright and too loud. This would alert deep sea creatures of the presence of the equipment and, as a result, scare them away. So instead of taking the expensive, flashy equipment down, Widder used a much simpler camera system that didn’t make sound at all. She had to adapt the technology that was most enticing for the animal in its environment.
What’s more, her team developed a faint light system that could duplicate the bioluminescence of the Atolla jellyfish, thought to attract giant squid. After countless other designs and experiments failed, the bioluminescence rig was a success, and that’s how they caught their footage.
The likelihood of creature-seekers getting conclusive evidence by being at the right place at the right time with a video recorder or camera is minimal. We need to develop the technology that is best suited for the creature in its environment, even if that means taking something complex and making it much simpler. And we need to use technology that will actually lure the creature to it, not scare it away. Cameras with heat signature detection and night vision may not cut it. We need to be innovative.
3) Never give up
Despite decades of naysayers putting down research attempts and claiming funds were being wasted, the giant squid teams simply kept at it. In the end, their persistence paid off. This lesson certainly comes easier to some than it does others. But anyone passionate enough already has this philosophy instinctively in stow. Keep that passion alive and you are sure to be lead down the right path to the truth.
The discovery of the giant squid lends hope to those who would see other great beasts conclusively proven to exist—Bigfoot, Nessie, you name it. If the great Kraken of stories long ago turned out to be real, just imagine what other discoveries are yearning to be found. Keep these 3 lessons in mind, and you might be the one to do just that.