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New Zealand Scientists May Microwave Colossal Squid

The world's first intact adult male colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) being manoeuvred by the crew of the New Zealand fishing long-line boat 'San Aspiring' in the Ross Sea near Antarctica, 22 February 2007. The gigantic sea creature is about 10 metres long and is now known to weigh 495 kilograms. The fishing vessel San Aspiring was long lining in the Ross Sea near Antarctica, and the squid was dining on a hooked toothfish when it was hauled from the deep.
by Staff Writers
Wellington (AFP) March 22, 2007
A colossal squid weighing nearly half a tonne (ton) and believed to be the biggest ever caught is being kept on ice as scientists ponder whether to put it into a massive microwave oven.

The squid, caught by New Zealand fishermen in Antarctica last month has been measured at the Museum of New Zealand in Wellington at 495 kilograms (1,090 pounds) and 10 metres (33 feet) in length. Its weight had earlier been estimated at 450 kilograms.

But scientists say the frozen squid is so large, by the time the centre of the aquatic giant is defrosted the outer flesh could have rotted.

So they are considering using a massive one tonne (ton) microwave oven to speed up defrosting, said Steve O'Shea, a squid expert at Auckland University of Technology.

"A microwave of this sort of size does exist," he told Radio New Zealand on Thursday.

No final decision has been made on how to defrost the colossal squid, which has eyes as big as a dinner plate. If anyone made squid rings from the beast, they would be as big as tractor tires.

But there are no plans to eat the beast, partly because the flesh contains so much ammonia it would taste like floor cleaner.

More importantly, the squid will be preserved because it is believed to be by far the biggest ever caught. The previous largest colossal squid -- mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni -- was believed to have been 300 kilograms.

The museum plans to embalm the squid and put it on display, also offering access to scientists.

The squid was caught when it started eating a Patagonian toothfish caught at a depth of 1,800 metres on a longline of a New Zealand fishing trawler in Antarctic waters.

Colossal squid are related to giant squid but are much heavier.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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