Scientists awed as squid ‘bigger than human’ swims past ship

Ocean researchers on an expedition to examine a shipwreck in the Red Sea have shared footage of the surprising moment an enormous squid also swam in to get a closer look.

The OceanXplorer research vessel was drifting about 850 metres below the ocean’s surface so crew could get a look at the wreck of the passenger ship Pella late last year.

At the time, the awed researchers were not sure what type of squid happened to swim past its remote-vehicle camera, although they suspected it might be a “giant” squid.

A screenshot of the enormous squid as it swims past the research vessel. (OceanX)

OceanX science program lead Mattie Rodrigue originally estimated was larger than a human being.

“I was frozen in absolute shock,” she said.

Now, zoologist and squid expert Mike Vecchione has provided the team with answers.

The creature was not a giant squid, but rather a jumbo version of a purpleback flying squid – or the stenouteuthis oualaniensis, for the scientists playing at home.

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Dr Vecchione said they represent “the giant form” of the purpleback flying squid.

The purpleback flying squid is typically much smaller than a giant squid, reaching on average 35 centimetres, according to the Australian Museum.

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