True porportions of M. hamiltoni

Sordes

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#1
Hallo everyone!

At the time I am working on a skulpture of M. hamiltoni. When I make skulptures of animals, I always try to make them as naturally as possible. To do this in this case, I used this illustration: http://www.tonmo.com/science/public/giantsquidfacts.php
I printed it and made modell parts of the exactly same proportions. But now I have a problem: This illustration looks very acurate, but if you compare it with photos of dead specimens, you can see significant differences. For example the mantle. The mantle itself is much too small and not massive enough, whereas the "tail" and the fin is much too long. The head looks like an onion, it is much to massive, whereas the "neck" is too thin, as you can well see on the black and white photo of the specimen which was caught by the Russian Trawler. The eyes are also much to small on the illustration, in fact they are about as big as a bowling ball. The tentacles looks somewhat flattened, but on carcasses they have a round diameter.
So I ask me: 1. Why is this wide-spread picture so inacurate and 2. where can I find any better picture or illustration which I can use for my sculpture?
 

monty

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#2
Sordes said:
Hallo everyone!

At the time I am working on a skulpture of M. hamiltoni. When I make skulptures of animals, I always try to make them as naturally as possible. To do this in this case, I used this illustration: http://www.tonmo.com/science/public/giantsquidfacts.php
I printed it and made modell parts of the exactly same proportions. But now I have a problem: This illustration looks very acurate, but if you compare it with photos of dead specimens, you can see significant differences. For example the mantle. The mantle itself is much too small and not massive enough, whereas the "tail" and the fin is much too long. The head looks like an onion, it is much to massive, whereas the "neck" is too thin, as you can well see on the black and white photo of the specimen which was caught by the Russian Trawler. The eyes are also much to small on the illustration, in fact they are about as big as a bowling ball. The tentacles looks somewhat flattened, but on carcasses they have a round diameter.
So I ask me: 1. Why is this wide-spread picture so inacurate and 2. where can I find any better picture or illustration which I can use for my sculpture?
I was under the impression that none of the caught animals had intact eyes, so we don't know what the size or anatomy of their eyes is at all. If you know of pictures of the eyes from the Russian Trawler specimen, I would love to see them... is there a URL for the pictures you've seen?

As for proportions, a model was built for a TV show last year or so, which was originally done with the consultation of Steve and Kat, based on the specimen (probably an immature near-adult) that they examined. It eventually made it to display at Jean's aquarium... I don't have time to find the thread right now, but I thing searching for "what should we name the model" or something like that should find it (they had a contest to name it). Or just search for "model."
 

Phil

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#3

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Clem

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#5
Hello Sordes,

Have you seen the one on this page? It was done after the Discovery model was made, and has a changed fin contour and a different take on the eyes.

I'd like to hear more about your sculpture, too.

Cheers,
Clem
 

Sordes

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#7
The fin of the computer modell is probably identical with those of the modell, I suppose this is an effect of the strange perspective. But the eyes are in fact different. Furthermore, this animated M. hamiltoni shows the conected dorsal part of the mantle and the head, which was not made on the modell. It looks also more realistic, the modell looks not very natural, and I have my doubts that it was indeed 100% realtistic.
 

monty

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#8
Sordes said:
The fin of the computer modell is probably identical with those of the modell, I suppose this is an effect of the strange perspective. But the eyes are in fact different. Furthermore, this animated M. hamiltoni shows the conected dorsal part of the mantle and the head, which was not made on the modell. It looks also more realistic, the modell looks not very natural, and I have my doubts that it was indeed 100% realtistic.
Of course none of these models, computer and otherwise, are 100% realistic. No one has ever seen an intact adult animal, so no one knows what they really look like. The model Steve and Kat consulted on is at least very close to the proportions they measured from the specimen they had to work with. I can't think of any better source that the computer modelers could have used, so any difference is probably less accurate and likely chosen for aesthetics. A major exception to this is the eyes: unless I am mistaken, no adult sepecimen has ever been recovered or photographed with intact eyes, so no one has any idea what the eyes look like. (Steve implies in a post on another site, see below, that the Russian picture does show the eyes as "bulges")

In Nixon & Young The Brains and Lives of Cephalopods (2003), on p. 229 there is a picture of a 1170mm ML specimen which I have not seen online anywhere. It's credited to M.R.Clarke, so is probably a specimen referred to in Clarke 1986, although the TONMO giant and colossal squid fact sheet lists that as 1.05m (and Nixon & Young refer to another specimen from Clarke at 1050mm ML, presumably the same), so it may be a different animal. Nixon & Young also point out that "Many changes in shape and form take place during the early stages of the life cycle (McSweeny 1970, Rodhouse and Clarke 1985)" So it's possible that the sub-adult, but still large, specimens have different proportions than the full size adults. Nixon & Young describe the eyes in most other species in the book, so I infer from their omission that they had not examined intact eyes in this species either.

Steve's comments here
suggest there were some eye fragments indicating very large size, but it doesn't go into detail of the eye anatomy. Perhaps (hint, hint) Steve or Kat can supply specific details?

It is a property of the subfamily Taoniinae (including Mesonychoteuthis) that the paralarvae have eyes on stalks; I haven't found a reference as to how this changes in maturity, or whether this might account for why the eyes are so frequently lost or damaged.
 

Phil

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#9
I've just found another picture of the model illustrated above. For your reference copied here, though I suspect you may have seen it already.
 

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Jean

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#10
Also squid in general have very plastic growth and it's not unusual to have different proportions on different specimens of the same species, arm and tentacle length is particularly bad (they stretch!). Also the handling of the specimen affects the proportions, one frozen will be different to one just on ice to one in alcohol to one in formalin.......tis extremely frustrating!!!!!

And of course the model was made to look as though the animal was filled with water (as if it were alive!) the actual specimen is flat because it has no fluid support!
Cheers

J
 

Sordes

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#11
Thank you for your help! Your information and some of the pictures you posted were really informative.
Yesterday I began to sculpt suckers and claws on the long tentacles. But holy ****, that was really hard. To make the suckers was simple, but to attach the claws, which are only about 2-3mm in length, into the tops of the arms, was horrible. Cause of the small size of the modell, I couldn´t use as much claws as real colossal squids have, but it looks still very cool.
 

Sordes

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#12
I finally managed to finish my scultpure this evening. It was really much work, but I think it looks really not bad. Okay, it´s undoubtly not 100% accurate, but perhaps 85%. The whole sculpture is about 25cm long (including tentacles). Cause of this size I had to make some concessions, for example the number and size of the claws, but also the proportions of the arms (their are not as conical as in reality), because I had to use a wire-skeleton for them. I hope I can upload the pictures somewhere to set a link.
 

sorseress

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#13
We'll be waiting to see it with bated (on a ceph site maybe it should be "baited") breath.
 

monty

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#14
Yeah, I can't wait to see pics!
 

Sordes

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#15
I´ll upload some pictures in the gallery tomorow or so. Today I also made a small Dosidicus modell of about 9cm length, but it is relatively simply made, because the tentacles are hold together.
 

Sordes

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#16
I made an upload of a picture showing the Mesonychoteuthis model and the Dosidicus model in a fictive hunting scene, I hope it will be soon in the gallery.
 

tonmo

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#17
It's up! Thanks for the contribution!
 

OB

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#18
Great model Sordes, just saw it in the picture gallery! I guess we'll only know for sure about the eyes, by the time we get live pics :biggrin2:
 

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