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 who are looking at ways to prevent extinction and preserve biodiversity.
(h/t to Emilie Corrick for bringing this to my attention)
[Featured image: Architeuthis (giant squid). Image courtesy of NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel]