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Creatures Lurking in the Deep Ocean Are Big But How Big? Now We Know

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It has long been known that big creatures lurk deep in the ocean, but how big are these animals? A group of researchers has come up with a chart that compares the sizes of the biggest creatures that can be found in the ocean, and the results show a significant discrepancy with most of the data online.

The chart illustrates the findings of a study published in PeerJ on Jan. 13, which involved biologists looking at a number of information so they could accurately estimate the sizes of the ocean beasts.

Craig McClain, assistant director of science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, said that the project was inspired by seeing that the length of the deep-ocean dwelling giant squid is listed to measure up to 60 feet, or over 18 meters. The result of his research shows that the actual length is closer to 12 meters (40 feet) maximum.

“Several years ago I noticed that people kept saying that giant squids reached 60 feet in length, which is amazingly long," McClain said. "When I started actually looking at the data, I found that that estimate was actually quite unrealistic."

The researcher explained that the squid’s muscle fibers loosen and stretch when the animal decomposes, and this could explain the measurements of specimens that were found in the 1800s.

McClain and a host of students then came up with a project that fact-checked the sizes of some of the most fascinating marine species by looking at historical data, specimens found in museum and those sold online, as well as scientific literature.

Based on the researchers' study, the largest chondrichthyan, the whale shark can grow up to 18.8 meters; the Basking shark, the biggest temperate selachimorpha, reaches 12.27 meters.

The Great White Shark, the largest macropredatory selachimorpha, is seven meters long while the largest arctic selachimorpha, the Greenland Shark, has a total length of 6.4 meters. The Bluntnose Sixgill Shark measures 5.5 meters long while the disc width of the Giant Ocean Manta Ray reaches seven meters.

The oarfish reaches 8 meters. The Ocean Sunfish, the heaviest osteichthyan, on the other hand weighs up to 2,300 kg. The leatherback turtle reaches 650 kg while the Southern Elephan seal reaches a total length of 6.85 meters and weight of 5,000 kg.

The walrus can weigh up to 1,883 kg and reaches 3.8 meter in length. The sperm whale can reach 24 meters and the blue whale ,33 meters.

The researchers explained that the inaccuracy can be attributed to sea monsters being rarely captured or even seen while others such as the giant squid may stretch when they die.

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