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Wed Jan 9, 2013 4:20pm AEDT.

Scientists have captured footage of an elusive giant squid, estimated to have grown as large as eight metres long, that roams the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Japan's National Science Museum succeeded in filming the deep-sea creature in its natural habitat for the first time, working with Japanese public broadcaster NHK and America's Discovery Channel. The massive invertebrate is the stuff of legend, with sightings of a huge ocean-dwelling beast reported by sailors for centuries. The creature is thought to be the genesis of the Nordic legend of Kraken, a sea monster believed to have attacked ships in waters off Scandinavia over the past millennium. Modern-day scientists on their own Moby Dick-style search used a submersible to get them into the dark and cold depths of the northern Pacific Ocean, where at around 630 metres they managed to film a three-metre specimen. After around 100 missions, during which they spent 400 hours in the cramped submarine, the three-man crew tracked the creature from a spot around 15 kilometres east of Chichi Island. Giant squid filmed in depths of Japanese ocean.

Museum researcher Tsunemi Kubodera says they followed the enormous mollusc to a depth of 900 metres as it swam into the ocean abyss. NHK showed footage of the silver-coloured creature, which had huge black eyes, as it swam against the current, holding a bait squid in its arms. For Mr Kubodera it was the culmination of a lengthy quest for the beast. "It was shining and so beautiful," he said. "I was so thrilled when I saw it first-hand, but I was confident we would because we rigorously researched the areas we might find it, based on past data." Mr Kubodera says the creature had its two longest arms missing. He estimates it would have been eight metres long if it had been whole. He says it is the first video footage of a live giant squid in its natural habitat – the depths of the sea where there is little oxygen and the weight of the water above exerts enormous pressure.

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