For hundreds of years, the giant squid has avoided capture and detection.
For hundreds of hours, an oceanic research crew dedicated to finding the "sea monster" had come up empty.
But all of that changed late last year when they finally spotted and filmed the fierce, near-mythic creature in the icy depths of the Pacific Ocean, producing the first video of the giant squid in its natural habitat.
The squid was estimated to be 10-feet long by Tsunemi Kubodera, a Japanese giant squid expert who was part of the three-person expedition. He believes it was once 26-feet, but its longest tentacles had been severed.
Kubodera described the squid as "shining and so beautiful." It was found more than 2,000-feet deep and 9 miles east of Chichi Island, which is far off Japan's southeast coast. Once spotted, the submersible crew followed the razor-tentacled mollusk another 1,000 feet before it disappeared.
"I was so thrilled when I saw it first hand," Kubodera said. "But I was confident we would because we rigorously researched the areas we might find it, based on past data."
"Researchers around the world have tried to film giant squid in their natural habitats, but all attempts were in vain before," he asserted.
The likely origin of the Nordic Kraken myth and other centuries-old sea legends, giant squids typically measure around 40 feet in length and have soccer ball-sized eyes, believed to be the largest eyes of any animal on earth.
The hooks, which line their tentacles, can rotate 360-degrees and the nasty predator also has a sharp beak and tongue lined with teeth. Food passes into its esophagus, which actually runs straight through its donut-shaped brain.
The expedition was part of a joint effort by Japan's national museum, Japanese broadcaster NHK and the Discovery Channel, which will air the giant squid video for the first time January 27.
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