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A giant squid with 'dinner plate sized eyes' shocked experts after it washed ashore.
The massive sea monster, which measures a whopping 4.3m (14 ft) long, is the second creature of its kind to wash up on Scarborough Beach in Cape Town, South Africa.
The discovery on Tuesday (August 16) bemused scientists, who have long had an interest in the enormous species.
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"Although other large squids exist, I am fairly certain this is a true giant squid," Mike Vecchione, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration invertebrate zoologist, said.
It's unclear how the creature met its end, and researchers will have to examine the creature in detail to determine the cause of death.
"Note that most of the skin has abraded and some of the arms are broken off, but this (especially the skin abrasion) can result from washing up on the rocky shore," he added
Some have speculated the ill-fated creature ventured into shallow waters to feed and got struck by a ship propeller.
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Dylan Clarke, a marine scientist and curator at Iziko South African Museum, said: "The literature… suggests that they come up into shallower waters because they display a behaviour called diel vertical migration.
"In other words, they venture into shallower waters during the evening to feed and migrate back to deeper waters during the day."
However, Clarke said that without witnesses, this theory would be "difficult to prove."
The last squid of this kind to have washed ashore at Scarborough Beach measured a slightly smaller 3.5m (11.5 ft).
However this latest find pales in comparison to the largest squid ever seen, which was a colossal 13m (43 ft) long – while studies have suggested that larger ones could even reach up to 20m (66ft) – although nobody has seen a squid of this size yet.
Giant squid tend to live in cold deep water, around 1,640 to 3,280 feet (500 to 1,000 m) beneath the ocean surface.
Their dinner plate-like eyes allow them to see even in the darkest depths of the ocean, where they spend most of their days when they are not in the shallows looking for food.
Researchers believe these animals live in oceans across the world, based on where their bodies have washed ashore – however they seem to be especially common in New Zealand and the Pacific islands, the east and west sides of the North Atlantic, and in the South Atlantic on the African coast.
Tissue samples were taken from from the squid, which will be examined by researchers at the Iziko South African Museum to help marine biologists further their understanding of this incredible animal.
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