This was a fascinating story and shows how much we still have to learn about the variations within a species. Marine biologists are having to constantly revise groupings of sea creatures, which makes it very difficult when learning genus and species names and then expecting them to still be relevant 10 years later.
I’m pretty fond of all things squiddly, so I was concerned that Nature has a post this week about the low biodiversity of the giant squid – it seems that the giant squid (Architeuthis) are all one species, all around the world.
This points to a near-extinction event in their fairly recent past, say the researchers, although the cause of this event is still unknown. As the article says, “the diversity of Architeuthis is lower than that for any other marine animal, except one — the basking shark Cetorhinus maximus, whose current population is thought to have rebounded from a small number of individuals.”
Finding the reasons why the giant squid and the basking shark almost died out, and what allowed them to recover, would give a clue to the nature of ocean life in the past, as well as providing invaluable information for biologists…
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