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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Biology ")

'Cortical Modem' Latest On DARPA's Wishlist
'...inside his skull... is a little cylinder, that neuronic receptor-transmitter.'- Raymond Z. Gallun, 1938.

Sea Slug Feeds On Sunlight With Genes From Its Food
'You've surely noticed the green skin tone of your new body.'- John Scalzi, 2005.

Forget Longevity, How About Super-Intelligence?
'It was clearly domelike and oddly fragile-looking...'- Philip K. Dick, 1964.

The Bioengineered Uterus
For women unable to conceive and carry a fetus to term, is this an answer?

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Hackers Can Take Control Of Cars From Anywhere In The World
'The car faltered as the external command came to brake...'

Armed Drone Opens Fire
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...'

Robotic Exoskeleton Releases Man From Wheelchair
'This man was standing on two corrugated-soled titanium footplates...'

Oh, Just Let Robots Run Airports
I'd like a friendly robot to help me at airports.

How Smart Should AI's Be Allowed To Get?
'Every AI ever built has an electromagnetic shotgun wired to its forehead'

NASA Misses $5Trillion Funding Boost
'This must be a golden planet—this little asteroid.'

Kuwait Creates Mandatory DNA Database For Citizens
And who has the largest DNA database on its citizens?

Please, Please Let There Be Regenerated Teeth
'Toothbud transplants...'

Google AI 'Deep Dreams' Kubrick's 2001
'I was only trying to do what I thought best....'

The BLITAB: First Tactile Tablet for Blind People
Absolutely amazing development - now blind people can read the web!

Why, Oh Why, Must We Develop Robots That Run Faster Than I Do?
'The legs are long, curled way up to deliver power, like a cheetah's.'

Golf Robot Putts Out
'The robot solemnly hit a ball against the wall, picked it up and teed it, hit it again, over and again...'

Computer Finds Cancer Doctors Miss
The computer will see you now.

Would Robot Taxis Ease Carbon Emissions?
'He emerged and flagged down a robot taxi...'

Brainwaves As Biometric Identification
'The doors of Mr. Lars, Incorporated, shut, tuned as they were to his own cephalic pattern.'

What-If Machine Concocts Creative Premises
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.