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Mega-Ceph in Sea of Cortez?

Nov 20, 2002
I was going to post this on the Humboldt thread initiated by the Sea Wolves, but wasn't sure if the TV feature they were filming was the one I recently saw.

That being said:

Earlier this evening I watched an episode of MONSTERQUEST which featured an expedition to the Sea of Cortez to check out rumors of a "Giant Humboldt Squid" in its depths. Yes, I know that your garden-variety Dosidicus gigas is sometimes referred to as a "Giant Humboldt Squid", but that's not what they were looking for. Nor were they seeking an Archi or a Messie. The object of their search was an apocryphal member of the species Dosidicus gigas that had grown to gargantuan proportions.

Members of the expedition (whose names I don't recall, sorry) managed to capture a moderate-sized Humboldt and attach a "squidcam" to one of its fins, hoping that on a deep dive it would manage to catch a video of the mythic "Dosidicus humongous".

Well, for once, a MONSTERQUEST monster quest actually bore fruit.... and more than expected. When the beastie with the squidcam had reached the very end of the camera's tether, it (the squid) began to flash red-white-red-white, apparently signaling danger or distress. Then something unbelievable happened: A truly enormous squid approached the little guy, not attacking it but instead apparently reaching out and examining the camera attached to its fin.

Roger Hanlon was given the opportunity to view the resulting video, and while he couldn't identify the curious giant's species precisely, he said it was definitely "something very big".

The video was then shown to an expert in video forensics (again, sorry, I don't recall his name), and he did some calculations to extrapolate the mega-ceph's size from the apparent distance between its beak and its eye.

What he came up with was truly startling: He stated that if the critter was indeed a super-sized Dosidicus gigas, then the proportional measurements in the video would indicate a length of approximately 60 ft. But then it got even weirder: He went on to say that since the relative placement of eyes vs. beak in an Archi were different from that of a Humboldt, then if what they were looking at was an Archi its length would be about 108 ft. -- as long as a Blue Whale!!!

This really blew my mind. Anyone here familiar with that particular episode? If so, how accurate do those deductions sound? The video was amazing, and I would SO love to hear that there really is a 108 ft. Archi in the Sea of Cortez, but I know that such TV shows tend to sensationalize data, especially when it comes to "the largest", "the smallest", "the strangest", etc.

More information, please!

Your very impressed (or perhaps impressionable) benthic buddy,


TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Mar 8, 2004
That's definitely the one we were talking about on the other thread where Dale & Scott chimed in. (There's also a thread to talk about the very silly octopus giganteus episode). I noticed in Scott's google tech talk that he suggested it might be an Architeuthis down among the Dosidicus, but I basically think "who knows?" I was unconvinced by the size estimates, anyway, although it does look like a pretty big animal... It's probably best discussed over at the other thread http://www.tonmo.com/community/index.php?threads/8424/


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Oct 19, 2003
Agreed, but before you close this one down, you should note that the very large squid shows no Dosidicus trademarks whatsoever. The only reliable size estimate would IMHO be based on "dimness" (as an indicator of distance assuming the inside of the corona being white) versus field of view, taking the amount of lumens coming from the LED's and relative visibility ("murkiness") into account.


Aug 17, 2005
I know I am the eternal skeptic, but I really don't buy it being anything other than a largish Dosidicus gigas until I see more evidence. As for trademarks for species, the image was too poor to say anything more than it was a squid.


Jun 5, 2008
Damn. I had to go to work and I missed the end of it. Even if it wasn't what they thought it was, the fact that they actually got SOMETHING big is pretty cool.
Oct 7, 2004
I think I have a vague memory of that on TV and on TONMO.com forums, but the details are lacking although I remember the general conclusion was that the estimate was flawed.

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