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BatiGol Weekly: Whale versus squid

Careful. No telling what's in that water.

Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Look at the ocean. It's sort of calming, right? Waves endlessly rolling towards land, stretching towards the sand, stumbling over their forebears and returning listless and defeated to the deeps. Maybe there are some gulls and pelicans riding those swells, out past the breakers. Maybe the occasional pod of dolphins arcing up out of the water. Maybe a boat or two on the distant horizon.

Below the surface, though, things are terrifying. Two of the most devastating predators on the planet, Physeter macrocephalus and Architeuthis dux, do battle in the silent depths, unseen by anyone. The whales (largest toothed predators in existence at 32,000 pounds) dive to hunt their ancient nemeses, while the squids suspend themselves in the impenetrable bathypelagic darkness and hope to avoid detection. They cosplay The Hunt for Red October, with sonar pings and undetectable locomotion. Then they meet, and it's more like something out of Revelations, with beasts rising out of the sea, albeit uncrowned, and bringing what feels like it should be the end of days to the world.

Realistically, though, the whale always wins. They just munch the bejeezus out of the giant squid as if they were diving down to Cthulhu's 24 hour diner. Think about it, though: two of the biggest animals on the planet are engaged in this crazy game of cat-and-mouse (All in favor of amending that expression to whale-and-squid?), and we have no evidence, other than the occasional shredded squid carcass washing up on a beach somewhere.

There are two conclusions to draw from this. The first, and most important, is that giant squids are rad. The second is that all this stuff is going on in places that we can't see, which makes it easy to ignore. But even so, it's happening. It's always happening, and the media miss so much of it that we're as good as blind on it a lot of the time. But hang in there, folks, because we should be getting to the good stuff pretty soon.


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Comment of the week

I feel like I should contact the authorities, but I'm too busy giggling. Well done, wolfpackallday.