Also, excellent EYE! I completely missed those cuttles! I spent a long time in that particular exhibit, too. I wonder if this implies you could keep cuttles and perhaps octos along with rays in a home tank. Then again, I suppose the size and design of the tank is important...I suppose that much sandbed area is atypical.
The Shedd architecture you saw is legendary...many many subtle (and not-so-subtle) aquatic details worked into the place. Octos are especially abundant. I'm afraid those lamps were probably custom-made WAY back when the Shedd was built, so you'd probably have to get a custom one yourself.
Glad you got to see the fireworks...sorry it had to be such a hot & humid day for it, though.
What you have there is an example of the late Devonian armoured fish (arthrodile) Dunkleosteus terrelli. This fearsome beastie roamed the seas about 375 mya and probably grew to about 6m, the first 1.5m of which was armoured. Some of those plates were 5cm thick! This fish certainly would have been top predator at the time, the sharks, as far as I am aware, had not reached an equivalent size. The mouth had very powerful muscles connecting the upper and lower jaw giving it a very powerful sheering bite.
Interestingly, some Dunkleosteus fossils have displayed puncture wounds and gouges that seem to correspond with the spacing of the fangs of the same animal. In other words, Dunkleosteus may have been highly territorial or possibly had a vigorous mating ritual that involved biting the partner. Devonian lovebites anyone?
That model of Architeuthis that you have provided photos of has quite an interesting history. It appears that it is a very old model and was actually built in 1893 by a gentleman called Henry Augustus Ward (1834-1906) and was valued at the time at $500. It is made of papier-mache.
It was first billed as Architeuthis princeps , measures 40ft long and was allegedly based on a specimen washed up in Newfoundland in 1876. The model was first displayed at the Field Columbian Museum in 1894 before being moved to the Shedd in 1930 when that museum was opened. It has been moved back and forth between the two museums ever since. In 1975 the model was restored and repainted with an iridescent paint and many of the knocks and gouges it had received over the years repaired.
Great model! The above information comes from Richard Ellis' book 'The Search for the Giant Squid', by the way.