Paleontologist Discovers "Giant Kraken Lair"

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Wow.
Is it odd that I'm more impressed by the fact that the billion year old massive octopus was self-aware and possibly vain, than the fact that there's a billion year old massive octopus?

cynicalandbored:
This. It's a massive leap to say, "Oh, well we found all these remains in one place, so it MUST be a midden, so it MUST be a giant octopus of some sort." There's no evidence that these ichthyosaurs were killed by a cephalopod in the first place. Furthermore, it would seem, from reading other reports, that the ichthyosaur remains indicate different causes of death over a number of fossils. On top of that, there's good evidence from modern fish "graveyards" that ocean currents can cause a large number of dead fish and other sea creatures to amass in one area, without the help of super-intelligent Krakens, believe it or not. This thing should be a total non-story. It, and other stories like it, are the reason that mainstream science journalism is so entirely ridiculous.

He isn't suggesting a super-intelligent cephalopod, just one acting in a similar manner to octopi today. It isn't a great leap to suggest that an octopus from 200 million years ago would be very large, we know that there were other large cephalopods at that time. It also isn't a great leap to suggest that these older octopi had similar intelligence levels and behavior to modern octopi.

Does he have hard proof? Absolutely not, there are other scenarios that can fit the little evidence he has. Dr. McMenamin probably shouldn't have made this sound so open-and-shut, and describing large ichthyosaurs as "the Triassic's counterpart to today's predatory giant squid-eating sperm whales" is inappropriate if there isn't evidence to back this up (which there may be, I don't know). The self-portrait bit, while intriguing, is also laid on a bit heavy.

However I think it's an interesting theory, and actually quite reasonable.

JasonKaotic:
Or it could just be a really, really big octopus?

That's what this guy is suggesting: "an ancient, very large sort of octopus, like the kraken of mythology." He isn't suggesting that these critters are still around, or that they were the basis of the mythology, just that he feels that a big octopus was responsible.

PZ Myers has reacted very, let's say, skeptically on his famous science blog about this. Here's the link for those of you who are interested:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/10/traces_of_a_triassic_kraken.php

This is awesome, but sadly it doesn't have enough evidence to be backed up.

It's too bad we won't likely find any any evidence that it existed. Well, no bodies I mean. How can we clone one without a body?! I guess we could science up a Kaiju based off of the DNA found on modern day octopi, squid, etc.

Versuvius:

GonzoGamer:

bleachigo10:
Someone needs to go all Jurassic Park on that thing right now. I want there to be a Kraken in the world damn it.

What's the use, the Japanese will just eat them all.
That's probably what happened to the originals: they were too delicious.

Giant deep sea cephalapods have huge amounts of ammonia in their flesh. They taste like a bottle of stale piss.

The Japanese restaurant by my office only sells the finest stale piss and ammonia infused flesh.

Brandon Flaming:
"We have a very good case."

Actually you have absolutely NO case. This is a complete guess. He has no evidence at all to back up his theory.

He has no evidence to back up his hypothesis. Having no evidence to back up a theory doesn't make sense since something only becomes a theory with evidence and peer review.

Aku_San:
This article had me KRAKEN up.

Your avatar makes this even more priceless, lol.

Woodsey:

Irridium:

Woodsey:
Yetis from the Russians, and now Krakens from the Americans.

I guess that means we have to find Aslan.

All we need now are dragons from Europe. And perhaps Godzilla, but that'd just be a bonus at this point.

And if we could grab an Ocelot while we're at it, that'd be great. Not that they're mythical creatures, I've just never seen one.

Brb, going to China to research into IRL Tarasque, and search every riverbed for the remains of drago-...wait, river dragons are Japanese, my bad =|

It appears that I am an idiot and missed the 45ft long part.

Calling it a Kraken is just kind of silly since it is most likely a giant squid/octopus. If he hadnt gone around shouting kraken I think this would be a bit more believable and have a few less skeptics.

JasonKaotic:
Or it could just be a really, really big octopus?
Related: 'Bloop', seriously creepy-ass noise heard in the ocean a few years ago, they couldn't identify it, could be the same thing, could not. Either way, this kind of reminded me of it, and I felt the need to share it.

Oh God, why did I listen to this?! The thought of the deep sea kinda creeps me out, not being able to see what's around you and such. This noise is probably gonna cause me nightmares or something.

Well I remember that there were sharks a few million years ago that were about 20 meters.
image

Awww yeah

Scorched_Cascade:
I know I'm not the only one who thought this when reading the news title:

to be honest, no, that wasn't my first thoughts. my first thoughts were of this old arcade game where you're treasure hunting in the ocean i think, and you go through all the 7 seas, and in each sea, they had a legendary monster you had to kill. the first level you had to kill a giant octopus. that game was fucking amazing and scary as hell. did anyone else here play that game? it was kind of like a rail shooter.

OT: i really hope that the person has more evidence than what we have been given in the article. if they don't, they really don't have much of a case. i don't think it's that far fetched to have giant octopuses in the past, considering in the past most creatures were pretty damn huge anyway, and i really am doubting that creatures like the octopus are so recent a creature that they would only really have existed in their current state through their entire existence.

binnsyboy:

Unleash the Kraken!

Ninja'd. Should have seen it coming. D8

What's with people trying to prove the existence of mythological creatures? About an hour ago, I read that story about some guy trying to prove the Yeti exists. What's next? Godzilla?

And hey, don't get me wrong! If this could be possible, I'd be the first one getting exited about it. But...it's not. So there ya go.

Wasn't the mythical Kraken just a giant squid?

Satsuki666:
It appears that I am an idiot and missed the 45ft long part.

Calling it a Kraken is just kind of silly since it is most likely a giant squid/octopus. If he hadnt gone around shouting kraken I think this would be a bit more believable and have a few less skeptics.

Thats what hes suggesting, a giant squid, a kraken is very much just a giant squid or octopi.

Crazy_Dude:
Well I remember that there were sharks a few million years ago that were about 20 meters.
image

Awww yeah

Is that a real movie? WHERE CAN I FIND IT!

image

Now that I have that out of my system, I like this. Granted, I don't think they have quite enough evidence yet, but it would be cool if his theory is true.

GonzoGamer:

Versuvius:

GonzoGamer:

What's the use, the Japanese will just eat them all.
That's probably what happened to the originals: they were too delicious.

Giant deep sea cephalapods have huge amounts of ammonia in their flesh. They taste like a bottle of stale piss.

The Japanese restaurant by my office only sells the finest stale piss and ammonia infused flesh.

You have a japanese restraunt that sells colossal squid? I find that hard to believe.

Some of you guys have a seriously under-developed sense of fun.

IT'S A GODDAMN KRAKEN!

Crazy_Dude:
Well I remember that there were sharks a few million years ago that were about 20 meters.
image

Awww yeah

The best part is that apparently 200 million years ago, that movie premise was just a typical Tuesday.

There was a good line in the Sherlock Holmes movie about "Shaping facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts"

Aprilgold:

Is that a real movie? WHERE CAN I FIND IT!

To find this movie and equally ridiculous movies of this nature, watch Syfy on Saturdays.

Iron Lightning:
Wasn't the mythical Kraken just a giant squid?

Yes, but it's mythical, therefore, people refuse to believe it's exsistance for the sake of not wanting to believe it's exsistance. Perhaps at one point, giant squids were more aggressive, but natural selection made them more docile. Let's face it: even at sea, humans are hard prey, and the crew of the attacked ship would likely have caused all sorts of wounds before they died, right? It's risk vs. reward, and humans just aren't worth it.

trophykiller:

Iron Lightning:
Wasn't the mythical Kraken just a giant squid?

Yes, but it's mythical, therefore, people refuse to believe it's exsistance for the sake of not wanting to believe it's exsistance. Perhaps at one point, giant squids were more aggressive, but natural selection made them more docile. Let's face it: even at sea, humans are hard prey, and the crew of the attacked ship would likely have caused all sorts of wounds before they died, right? It's risk vs. reward, and humans just aren't worth it.

My understanding of the little research of the two, the colossal squid is believed to be a much more aggressive and active hunter than the lighter, but longer giant squid.

As for the story I'm not sure you'd ever see either a Giant or Colossal Squid fighting a ship if their on the surface their dieing not hunting.

Jabberwock xeno:

Brandon Flaming:
"We have a very good case."

Actually you have absolutely NO case. This is a complete guess. He has no evidence at all to back up his theory.

This,

While it's quite likely there were (we know there ARE, after all) huge cephalopods, there is no direct, no indirect evidence that makes this any more likely than it being anything else.

Even cryptozoological beasts normally have a fair amount of evidence.

Related: http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2011/10/the-giant-prehistoric-squid-that-ate-common-sense.ars

Pics or it didn't happen. As much as I want this to be real, there's far too much conjecture in that press statement. If there was ANY shred of physical evidence-beak marks, sucker hooks, anything-I would be telling everyone I met this. The article above points all this out better than me. Bloop is much more interesting. Octupi die after mating. So this thing would spend how many years growing to 100 feet across, before it was sexually mature? Not a sound genetic investment plan. If you're going to extrapolate extinct animals from living ones, you have to take the good with the bad. A squid could theoretically get big enough to take down Shonisaurs, but squid don't fit into this guy's strange arranging theory.

Andy Chalk:
Some of you guys have a seriously under-developed sense of fun.

IT'S A GODDAMN KRAKEN!

Is that related to the Goddamn Batman?

Hungry Donner:
It isn't a great leap to suggest that an octopus from 200 million years ago would be very large, we know that there were other large cephalopods at that time. It also isn't a great leap to suggest that these older octopi had similar intelligence levels and behavior to modern octopi.

It kinda is. Cameroceras was downgraded quite a bit, from 30 feet to 12. The fact is we really can't know much about extinct cephalopods.

Andy Chalk:
Some of you guys have a seriously under-developed sense of fun.

IT'S A GODDAMN KRAKEN!

To which I would say you have an underdeveloped sense of bullshit.

This can only mean...MEGA SHARK! VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS! It was totally a documentary! Filmed by parallel universe time travelers!

What the article doesn't say is how they're co-naming the project "Holy Fuck Rainbows Real Krakens!"

Quaxar:

believer258:
I was kind of interested in the article until I saw the video about an octopus eating a shark. After that, all interest in the topic flew out the window...

...and shifted to octopus-shark-fights.

FOR ALL ETERNITY!

Versuvius:
I for one welcome Cthulhu as our new cephalopod overlord.

Cthulhu fhtagn!

Blasphemous Fools! While you worship your petty Old Ones, the Outer Gods, Azathoth, Nyarlethotep, and Yog Sothoth will be making quick work of these so called Great Old ones!

May the war of the Outer and Elder Gods COMMENCE!!

Woodsey:
Yetis from the Russians, and now Krakens from the Americans.

I guess that means we have to find Aslan.

I'm so glad I got that XD
Well done for the LOLz

Secondly THIS is an Ocelot

JasonKaotic:
Or it could just be a really, really big octopus?

...that's exactly what one variation of the kraken is. What exactly do you think a kraken is supposed to be?

Anyways, the article seems to make a pretty big leap of faith. As much as I'd like to think that a giant cephalopod was responsible, it could be any number of other things. There's very little evidence to go on. This is just another theory that lacks sufficient evidence for me to consider it credible. It's an interesting theory though, I'll give it that. Pretty much anything involving a giant killer cephalopod is going to interest me. But without any solid evidence I can't consider it to be any more than that. I mean I get that cephalopods don't really have much in terms of remains that last over time, but you need something.

Also every time you made a bad irrelevant Cthulhu joke an adorable little cuttlefish gets killed.

EDIT: Seriously, this has freaking nothing to do with Lovecraft. Just becuase Cthulhu resembled a giant octopus thing doesn't mean these jokes are funny. Not that they would be funny in any other context either. I'm willing to be half the people that make these jokes have never read full a Lovecraft story.

Iron Lightning:
Wasn't the mythical Kraken just a giant squid?

Possibly. The original idea of the kraken could have come from rare sightings of colossal squid on the surface. I can't imagine a colossal squid every attacking a boat though, but like most things the sailor devouring cephalopod most likely came about as a result of exaggeration of the original story. There have plenty of giant cephalopods throughout history, but none as big as the one this article claims.

shadyh8er:

I'm just gonna pretend this guy got misquoted. I mean, "drowning a shark"? Come on now.

OT: This is some exciting stuff. Nessie better watch out.

He was talking about drowning the Ichthyosaurs, which needed the airs for living.

Torrasque:
Brb, going to China to research into IRL Tarasque, and search every riverbed for the remains of drago-...wait, river dragons are Japanese, my bad =|

Good lucking finding the Tarrasque in China... They were a french dragon in origin...

Draconalis:

shadyh8er:

I'm just gonna pretend this guy got misquoted. I mean, "drowning a shark"? Come on now.

OT: This is some exciting stuff. Nessie better watch out.

He was talking about drowning the Ichthyosaurs, which needed the airs for living.

Torrasque:
Brb, going to China to research into IRL Tarasque, and search every riverbed for the remains of drago-...wait, river dragons are Japanese, my bad =|

Good lucking finding the Tarrasque in China... They were a french dragon in origin...

Bah humbug, everything mythical comes from China. Besides, look at that thing, that just screams China.

Edit: Besides, the Tarasque never give up. That is hardly French-ish *badum PSHH*

Many creatures during that period were much larger in size than the ones that live now, so it is logical that there is a chance of a larger creature that was the long grandfather of octopus. it may not have been genealogically same thing, but it could very well be a similar one (after all crocodiles have survived millions of years without genealogical changes)

Andy Chalk:
Some of you guys have a seriously under-developed sense of fun.

That and we have a healthy lack of respect for hacks trying to pass off nonsense as scientific fact without a shred of evidence to support it.

Hungry Donner:

He isn't suggesting a super-intelligent cephalopod, just one acting in a similar manner to octopi today. It isn't a great leap to suggest that an octopus from 200 million years ago would be very large, we know that there were other large cephalopods at that time. It also isn't a great leap to suggest that these older octopi had similar intelligence levels and behavior to modern octopi.

Does he have hard proof? Absolutely not, there are other scenarios that can fit the little evidence he has. Dr. McMenamin probably shouldn't have made this sound so open-and-shut, and describing large ichthyosaurs as "the Triassic's counterpart to today's predatory giant squid-eating sperm whales" is inappropriate if there isn't evidence to back this up (which there may be, I don't know). The self-portrait bit, while intriguing, is also laid on a bit heavy.

It's exactly the self-portrait bit that I mean when I say super-intelligent. The entire thing assumes a level of consciousness that encompasses self-awareness. Very few animals can even recognise themselves in the mirror, one of the classic self-awareness tests. Get them to do a painting, or a sculpture in this case, of themselves and then tell me if you think it's likely a prehistoric octopus could have done it. Aside from that, the only animal that consciously and indisputably creates artwork in the modern world is the human, because our minds are theoretically (and seemingly in practice) the only ones complex enough for abstract thought. Modern octopi categorically do not create artworks. So by super-intelligent, I mean much more intelligent than most modern (including modern cephalopods) and all prehistoric animals, which is what would be indicated by abstract self-portrait sculpting. Sounds like pareidolia to me.

It would seem that yes, ichthyosaurs as part of the general ecosystem were vaguely analogous to squid-eating sperm whales. There is good evidence for a number of large cephalopod species in this time period, though not on the scale that's being suggested by Dr. McMenamin. And aside from that, like I mentioned in my original post, analysis of the fossils suggests multiple causes of death across the board, which wouldn't be the case if they were all killed by the Kraken. Jumping to conclusions without any evidence to back it up is very bad science, and this theory would never stand up to peer review were the good doctor to try and get it published.

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