Friday Squid Blogging: Readying the 1000-lb Squid for Science
“It’s got to be thawed out slowly. You can’t put hot water on it, you’ve just got to thaw it out naturally,” says Te Papa’s mollsuca collections manager Bruce Marshall.
To minimise handling of the precious specimen, the colossal squid will probably have its temperature raised, over days, in the tank in which it will finally be “fixed”.
“We don’t want to move it too much,” says Marshall.
“When a thing like that is in the water, it’s neutrally buoyant.
“But, of course, when you get it out of the water, you’ve got a big lump of weight and you could try lifting it and your hands would go right through.
“Already it’s got puncture marks from the net.”
Once un-frozen, the creature will be fixed, or embalmed, and then a long-term preservative will be used.
“What I mean by a fixing tank is a tank that you lay it out in, in a natural position, and you then make all the adjustments—align all the arms, pack out the body and all of that. Then you have it in a, say, 5% formalin solution.
“It will require the biggest tank of anything we’ve got.”
In further news, it might be microwaved. It’s actually a hard problem; how do you ensure that the defrosted parts don’t rot while waiting for the rest of it to defrost.
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