- Mar 8, 2004
Sordes;90484 said:I have a very stupid question: If the carcasses of large squids are examined, is this made only on dissection-tables, or are they also sometimes placed into a container of water, where they would probably look more lifelike, because they are lesser affected by gravity there. I ask this because the appearance of squids on the air has often not much resemblance to those they have in water. Especially in very big specimens like the subadult Mesonychoteuthis some time ago, they look more like a shapeless bag of flesh, when lying on the ground, and we still don´t know how they look exactly when they are floating in the water (or is there already a still not publicized underwater shot of a living Mesonychoteuthis which we will not see untill next year or so?
I'd wager that those who have done a lot of squid dissections find that having the animal in its natural pose in water is less important than the anatomical relationships that one can investigate by direct interaction in the air: if I pull on this, what happens, and that sort of thing... just as human coroners don't feel a need to pose the corpses realistically to investigate them, but exhibits for laypeople do communicate a lot more by posing then in "natural" positions which the trained physiologists can infer without much effort.
However, I'd expect that floating the animal in water would be useful for one application: sticking it into an MRI machine! Unfortunately, finding an MRI machine sized for our colossal friend is likely to be out of the question... I've been told that formalin is OK for MRI-related properties, though. Unfortunately, the CAT scanner used on a whale some time back is probably not so interesting on a squid, because of the "no bones" issue... MRI, however, is great for tissue differentiation, and can be used to measure the local diffusion properties (which can trace nerves and characterize the directions of muscle fibers, at least to a limited extent). MRI is also slow, though, so I expect that in the limited time window after defrosting, it couldn't be done before the dissection, unless the order of events can be preserve, MRI, dissect without problems. Anyway, I have no idea if MRI machines that big even exist, let alone are anywhere near NZ....
I worked a bit with some MRI researchers a few years back... I was mostly just reminded of this by Sordes' question, but if there's real interest in getting this squid MRIed I might be able to ask some of the MRI microscopy folks if they have any ideas, or if they know anyone with a gianormous MRI machine anywhere in NZ... finding an appropriate machine is probably a long shot, but if you happened to find an MRI machine that's properly proportioned, I can likely dig up some nifty parameter settings and data processing methods to make the most out of it.