The giant squid has long eluded scientists and up until recently -- when it was captured in a stunning video -- has never been spotted alive in the ocean. A team from Japan's National Science Museum filmed the enormous cephalopod in its natural habitat: nearly a third of a mile below the surface of the ocean.
The expedition, commissioned by the Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) and the Discovery Channel, took place off the coast of Japan.
"The giant squid was so beautiful that it seemed to sparkle," Tsunemi Kubodera, one of the lead scientists on the expedition, told reporters at the time. "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."
In a recent episode of TED Talks, American oceanographer and marine biologist Edith Widder describes how the team found and captured footage of the giant squid.
Widder says that a 1-meter long bait diamondback squid had a light attached to it, which the oceanographer suspects may have attracted the giant squid. What was striking to Widder is that a creature this large could have eluded humans for so long.
"Had this animal had his feeding tentacles intact and fully extended, it would've been as tall as a two-story house," Widder said. Giant squids can grow up to 60 feet in length.
Widder estimates that we've only explored 5 percent of the ocean and calls for a NASA-like organization to explore the unknown parts of the Earth.
Watch Widder at TED Talks below: