The Squid and the Bus

8 October 2007

Okay, I’ve been sitting on this one for awhile, waiting for:

a) BBC to run another squid story, and

b) The chance to stage a photo holding an uncooked calamari squid against one of Davis’ infamous (and hazardous!) double-decker buses

Lo! Much as Darwin was forced to rush his theory of natural selection to publication after a few short decades of musing, I’ve been goaded into action by an irresistible outside force that demands my immediate attention.

So in honor of the First Annual Cephalopod Awareness Day (!) please enjoy this ‘brief abstract’ of which I will someday provide a deep and thorough elaboration upon more befitting the quality writing you’ve come to expect here at microecos. Just think of it as my personal Origin .

Without any further ado, then, let us explore the evolution of the BBC’s celebrated Mesonychoteuthis v. London Double-Decker Bus diagram or as I like to call it, “The Incredible Shrinking ‘Colossal’ Squid”:

BBC NEWS, 2 April 2003 — “Super squid surfaces in Antarctica

That Sperm Whale looks freaked out.


BBC NEWS, 8 January 2004 — “New giant squid predator found

Oooh-look a border! Hey, where’d the whale go? Oh, eaten by a sleeper shark no doubt.

BBC NEWS, 28 September 2005 — “Live giant squid caught on camera

Wait, maybe the whale ate the shark. Giant and ‘Colossal’ both get downsized, and makeovers. Who’s the little guy?

BBC NEWS, 28 February 2006 — “Giant squid grabs London audience

New color scheme! Whale shrinks, Colossal grows back to ? size. Ominous caption: “Scientists admit they know little about the largest of the squid”

BBC NEWS, 14 February 2007 — “Large squid lights up for attack

Little guy’s back…actually mentioned in the text this time. What he lacks in brawn he makes up for in special effects, apparently swimming the wrong way though.

BBC NEWS, 15 March 2007 — “Colossal squid’s headache for science


BBC NEWS, 22 March 2007 — “Microwave plan for colossal squid

“Arghhh! They microwaved me down to shark bait!” Shouldn’t the mass figures be expressed in elephant equivalents?

And just to prove that everything is scarier in Russian:

Hmm, so if ?=20 and ???=25 then ??=uh, carry the one … invert the denominator … cross multiply. Damn, I never was any good at algebra.

Fortunately there’s a handy online calculator that allows me to convert any length into london-bus equivalents: the Size of Wales calculator!

An inky Cephalopod Day to all, go check out the tentacley goodness over at Cephalopodcast.

5 Responses to “The Squid and the Bus”

  1. tepapamuseum Says:

    Hopefully some of the mysteries of the colossal squid are going to be unraveled as Te Papa will host and webcast the dissection of 4 giant and 2 colossal squid starting Sunday 27 April. More info can be found on our website: and of course, on our blog 🙂

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