Myths Arise . . .
Centuries ago, people invented explanations for what their
astonished eyes saw - - or thought they saw.
1500s: When several large,
unfamiliar sea creatures were
stranded in Norway, people decided
they were mermen.
1854: Professor Japetus
Steenstrup of Denmark, the leading
cephalopod specialist of his time,
concluded that the mythical mermen
were very large squid.
1861: An alleged encounter
between a giant squid and French
naval ship fueled the imagination
of author Jules Verne, who used it
as the basis for Captain Nemo's
encounter with a "squid of
colossal dimensions" in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
1900s: Hollywood embellished the
monster myth in its film version
of Verne's novel.
Curiosity Kills the Myth
1874: Rev. Moses Harvey of
Newfoundland bought a dead giant
squid caught by fishermen and
displayed it as a local curiosity.
The first whole specimen available
for study, it was an important
Photo of first whole squid specimen in Harvey's bathtub
1880: Using Rev. Harvey's
specimen, Professor A.E. Verrill
of Yale University carried out the
first scientific study and
description of the giant squid.
Ocean Planet Exhibition
Smithsonian Giant Squid Overview Page
gene carl feldman / firstname.lastname@example.org