Squid Vs. Whale Diorama Liked By Humans, Aliens
One of my favorite moments in Arthur C. Clarke's 1953 classic (and still a great read!) Childhood's End occurs when the mysterious alien Overlords request a special exhibit for them to take back to their home planet.
They wanted to see the Earth's largest creatures locked in mortal combat.
The tableau might have been the work of some mad artist in a drugged delirium. Yet it was a painstaking copy from life: Nature herself was the artist here. The scene was one that, until the perfection of underwater television, few men had ever glimpsed—and even then only for seconds on those rare occasions when the giant antagonists thrashed their way to the surface. These battles were fought in the endless night of the ocean depths, where the sperm whales hunted for their food. It was food that objected strongly to being eaten alive — The long, saw-toothed lower jaw of the whale was gaping wide, preparing to fasten upon its prey. The creature's head was almost concealed beneath the writhing network of white, pulpy arms with which the giant squid was fighting desperately for life. Livid sucker-marks, twenty centimetres or more in diameter, had mottled the whale's skin where those arms had fastened. One tentacle was already a truncated stump, and there could be no doubt as to the ultimate outcome of the battle. When the two greatest beasts on earth engaged in combat, the whale was always the winner. For all the vast strength of its forest of tentacles, the squid's only hope lay in escaping before that patiently grinding jaw had sawn it to pieces. Its great expressionless eyes, half a metre across, stared at its destroyer—though, in all probability, neither creature could see the other in the darkness of the abyss.
The entire exhibit was more than thirty metres long, and had now been surrounded by a cage of aluminium girders to which the lifting tackle had been connected. Everything was ready, awaiting the Overlords' pleasure...
Clarke isn't making a prediction here, but I still couldn't resist this story, because the Irma and Paul Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life has just opened a special exhibition with a renovated diorama that depicts this very encounter:
( Milstein Hall of Ocean Life )
The animation brings to life a scene that has fascinated visitors for decades—the sperm whale and giant squid diorama in the Irma and Paul Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life, which is now celebrating the 10th anniversary of a masterful renovation.
In what is one of the most dramatic dioramas in the Museum, a giant squid is caught in the sperm whale’s mouth, its tentacles grasping at the whale’s head, which is actually an oversized snout. Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephulus) interpret reflections of sounds generated by this uniquely shaped snout, employing a form of echolocation akin to that used by bats, to “see” their way through deep, dark water and to hunt prey...
Sperm whales are known to dive over 6,500 feet in pursuit of food, staying under water for more than an hour. Of course, no humans have ever seen an encounter between a sperm whale and a giant squid, but the evidence is found in the stomachs of sperm whales that contain the indigestible beaks and other body parts of giant squids...
Via American Museum of Natural History; special thanks to Eric N. for spotting this story.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/7/2013)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Mind Control Of Gene Expression In Mice
'We used your thought images almost entirely...'- Robert Heinlein, 1941.
No Cages In Future Zoos Is Zootopia?
'The park... twisted through specimens from every inhabited planet of the known universe.'
Electric Bacteria That Live On Pure Energy
'April 5, 1977; that was the night the waveries came.'- Frederic Brown, 1945.
Roboroach Now Shipping!
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'- Thomas Easton, 1990.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Smart Window Tints, Powers Itself
'The polawindow, which he tuned to clear transmission.'
A Basic Income TED Talk
'They de-emphasized what lack of work would do to Mr. Everyman'
What Can Magic Leap Expect From New 'Chief Futurist' Neal Stephenson?
'The goggles throw a light, smoky haze across his eyes...'
Should SETI Talk To Molecular Cloud Barnard 68?
'I myself am building basic chemicals at about 10,000,000,000 times the rate at which building is occurring on the whole ... surface of your planet.'
LikeAGlove Smart Garment Knows Your Size
'The tailor set moving a mechanism...'
EXACTO Bullets Change Course In Mid-Air
'This little weapon ejects a rather ingenious missile...'
Button-Pushing Robots Have Taken Our Jobs, Thankfully
'The ten forked ends of each arm commenced a rattling pressing of the buttons.'
Puls 'Smart Watch' Replaces Your Cell Phone
Even before Dick Tracy, there were Ideas about this.
Small Molecule Walker Takes First Steps
'The bits were in motion.'
US Navy Laser Ready For Use
Fifty years from cartoon to reality.
Fast Lightweight Autonomy Indoor Drones For DARPA
'the Scarab buzzed into the great workroom... and sought the security of a shadowed corner.'
Ninebot One Self-Balancing Wheel
'It had been a long time since the Chief Engineer had ridden one of these silly-looking little vehicles...'
FuturICT Knowledge Accelerator And Psychohistory
'The reactions of human conglomerates to fixed social and economic stimuli...'
Stellar Navigation Based On Network Analysis
'We are a traveling people. We need a travel station here.'
New 'Smart-Skin' Senses Pressure, Humidity, Heat
'You can even sense with your fingertips...'
Mimo Baby Monitor
'In every diaper there is a fine copper wire.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories