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 -
Engineered Bacteria Produces Gasoline
'They call 'em culture tanks... [they] produce oil as a waste product.'- Hal Clement, 1950.
Did Humans Result from Pig-Chimp Hybridization?
Is it possible that human origins can be best explained by hybridization between swine and chimpanzees?
Roboroach Control? There's An App For That
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'- Thomas Easton, 1990.
Squid Vs. Whale Diorama Liked By Humans, Aliens
'Everything was ready, awaiting the Overlords' pleasure...'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1953.
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.
Haute Cuisine On International Space Station
'The gas gave sufficient heat for the culinary apparatus...'
Tongue Mouse Created By Valve Engineer
'He pressed hard with his tongue against his right upper first molar.'
K5 Autonomous Data Machine The Future Of Mall Security
''Halt!' A robot guard appeared...'
RF Safe-Stop Shuts Cars Off
'...a police control-override.'
Army's New Bird-Like Surveillance UAV
'The prototype blue-bellied, gray-backed tracer-bird with the wide-angle eye...'
Honda's Tumblebug - The UNI-CUB beta
'A tumblebug does not give a man dignity...'
NASA's LADEE Enters Lunar Orbit
'... dust normally on the surface picks up and keeps a charge.'
3D Printing An Entire Car
"... Almost as good as the original it was printed from."
Aldebaran Robot Talks Like C3PO - Almost
'See Vee Threepio - Vee for versatility - at your service...'
Google's Skin Tattoo Lie Detector
'Three and a half centimetres in diameter, permanently fixed in the centre of his forehead.'
inFORM Dynamic Shape Output Device
Like that pushpin device you remember, but supercharged.
Owlet Vitals, The Future Of Baby Monitoring
'In every diaper there is a fine copper wire...'
Robert Heinlein, Your Personal Electric Helicopter Will Be Ready In 2016
"They were half way home when a single flyer, hopping free in a copter harness, approached the little parade."
WildCat Runs Faster Than You, Untethered
'...moving with such drifting ease that it was like a single solid cloud of black-grey smoke blown at him in silence.' Almost.
HiBot's ACM-R5H Robot Video Shows Graceful Terminator-Style Swimming
'No! No! Aaaaaaarrrrrrgh!'
tDCS Jumpstarts Your Future
'We invented a scanner that can change the labyrinthine neural connections of the brain by tiny electronic impulses...'.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories