King-Size Kraken

It's hard to believe that something as monumentally huge as the giant squid—huge in both sheer physical size and its presence in the imagination of folklorists throughout history—has been so difficult for scientists to study for so long.

But lately scientists seem to be making some headway in the observation of their longtime foe, Architeuthis dux. Last September, Japanese researchers became the first ever to document a giant squid in the wild when their baited camera rig attracted the attention of a gigantic specimen at a depth of 900 meters.

This week the London Natural History Museum will begin displaying one of the largest and most well-preserved A. dux specimens collected to date. Although a few of its brethren have been found in the stomachs of sperm whales or washed ashore, this particular giant squid, nicknamed Archie by the museum's staff, was snagged in the nets of a fisherman's trawler off the Falkland Islands. Archie, who measures 28 feet in length, will be held in a custom-built 30-foot tank [pictured]. —John Mahoney