Did Prehistoric Giant Squids Make Art From Bones?

octoIt sounds completly crazy. But it’s what a group of paleontologists are claiming — the first sentient beings on Earth to create art may not have been humans, but monstrously large, tentacled sea creatures called “kraken” who lived 200 million years ago and possibly arranged bones in geometric, decorative patterns. io9 explains further:

For decades, paleontologists have puzzled over a fossil collection of nine Triassic icthyosaurs (Shonisaurus popularis) discovered in Nevada’s Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park. Researchers initially thought that this strange grouping of 45-foot-long marine reptiles had either died en masse from a poisonous plankton bloom or had become stranded in shallow water.

But recent geological analysis of the fossil site indicates that the park was deep underwater when these shonisaurs swam the prehistoric seas. So why were their bones laid in such a bizarre pattern? A new theory suggests that a 100-foot-long cephalopod arranged these bones as a self-portrait after drowning the reptiles. And no, we’re not talking about Cthulhu.

After considering the more brutal aspects of modern octopus predation, paleontologist Mark McMenamin of Mount Holyoke College came to the conclusion that the shonisaur remains had been deposited in a “kraken” lair by its massive, tentacled squatter:

We hypothesize that the shonisaurs were killed and carried to the site by an enormous Triassic cephalopod, a “kraken,” with estimated length of approximately 30 m, twice that of the modern Colossal Squid Mesonychoteuthis. In this scenario, shonisaurs were ambushed by a Triassic kraken, drowned, and dumped on a midden like that of a modern octopus. Where vertebrae in the assemblage are disarticulated, disks are arranged in curious linear patterns with almost geometric regularity.

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76 Responses to Did Prehistoric Giant Squids Make Art From Bones?

  1. Calypso_1 October 28, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!

    • Adam October 28, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

      Ia! Ia Cthulhu!!!!

  2. Calypso October 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!

  3. Calypso October 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!

  4. Anonymous October 28, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    Of course they did. What are you, stupid?

  5. JoiquimCouteau October 28, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Of course they did. What are you, stupid?

  6. Anonymous October 28, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    Of course they did. What are you, stupid?

  7. Anonymous October 28, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    200 million years? Obvious fantasy as all serious scientists know the Earth was created 6,000 years ago.

  8. Redacted October 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    200 million years? Obvious fantasy as all serious scientists know the Earth was created 6,000 years ago.

    • John October 28, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

      that is the dumbest post i have seen possibly all year u must be joking

      • Redacted October 28, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

        You should learn how to spell before you go calling people dumb John.

        • Andrew October 28, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

          Okay Dumb John.

          • Redacted October 28, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

            Heathens!

          • Anarchy Pony October 29, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

            Hey! That’s our word! You have no right using it.

          • Seygantte October 29, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

            At first I thought you were just trolling. Now I’m not so sure…

      • ~DaD October 30, 2011 at 12:14 am #

        I thought the post was hilarious… 

    • Anarchy Pony October 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

      When you say “scientists” do you mean evangelicals?

      • Redacted October 28, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

        I don’t know what that word means.

    • Calypso_1 October 30, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

      Those still quenched by their denial know not what the Great Old One’s Knew that He alone is the Gate in which Past, Present and Future are ALL ONE!   Yi nash Yog Sothoth he lgeb throdag YAHHHAHAHAHAAAA!!!! 

  9. Adam October 28, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    Ia! Ia Cthulhu!!!!

  10. John October 28, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    that is the dumbest post i have seen possibly all year u must be joking

  11. John October 28, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    that is the dumbest post i have seen possibly all year u must be joking

  12. Anonymous October 28, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    You should learn how to spell before you go calling people dumb John.

  13. Anti-Citizen1 October 28, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    When you say “scientists” do you mean evangelicals?

  14. Andrew October 29, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    Okay Dumb John.

  15. Zenc October 29, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    This story is a  couple of weeks old, so I’ll just re-post my previous comment made elsewhere…

    Imagine the eldritch splendor of a colossal cephalopod sorting
    through the bones of its prey and using them to produce works of art
    that will go entirely unappreciated by any other creature until a chance
    discovery by an “alien” intelligence millions of years later. 

    The world is indeed an interesting place.

  16. Zenc October 28, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    This story is a  couple of weeks old, so I’ll just re-post my previous comment made elsewhere…

    Imagine the eldritch splendor of a colossal cephalopod sorting
    through the bones of its prey and using them to produce works of art
    that will go entirely unappreciated by any other creature until a chance
    discovery by an “alien” intelligence millions of years later. 

    The world is indeed an interesting place.

    • Nirvanasteve October 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

      I’m just wondering what happened to these sentient kraken (kraki?). It is indeed fascinating (and as you say, ‘eldritch’) to think that we weren’t the first on this planet to develop self awareness.

    • Anarchy Pony October 30, 2011 at 2:42 am #

      How many of humanity’s works will last that long?

    • James Vance November 1, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

      indeed, i remember seeing on a science channel that some scientists believe that cephalopods might make it to land in the vast future, they will act like many armed monkeys

  17. Anonymous October 29, 2011 at 12:32 am #

    Heathens!

  18. Anonymous October 29, 2011 at 12:33 am #

    I don’t know what that word means.

  19. Little_green_chicken October 28, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    hehe cool
    read a book called ‘gilpin’s space’ by reginald bretnor, has stuff like this

  20. Little_green_chicken October 29, 2011 at 1:54 am #

    hehe cool
    read a book called ‘gilpin’s space’ by reginald bretnor, has stuff like this

  21. Callofcthulhu October 29, 2011 at 1:18 am #

    What I want is a giant prehistoric squid to eat all the corrupt politicians and wall streeters.  Nothing like massive skull crushing tentacles squeezing the life out of a body to convince them they are screwing everything up. 

  22. Callofcthulhu October 29, 2011 at 5:18 am #

    What I want is a giant prehistoric squid to eat all the corrupt politicians and wall streeters.  Nothing like massive skull crushing tentacles squeezing the life out of a body to convince them they are screwing everything up. 

  23. Nirvanasteve October 29, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    I’m just wondering what happened to these sentient kraken (kraki?). It is indeed fascinating (and as you say, ‘eldritch’) to think that we weren’t the first on this planet to develop self awareness.

  24. olloloo October 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    I believe they are intelligent creatures, but I will not stop eating them.  *not a troll

    • Anarchy Pony October 29, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

      The exact species in question has been extinct for millions of years…

  25. olloloo October 29, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    I believe they are intelligent creatures, but I will not stop eating them.  *not a troll

  26. Anti-Citizen1 October 29, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    The exact species in question has been extinct for millions of years…

  27. Anti-Citizen1 October 29, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    Hey! That’s our word! You have no right using it.

  28. Seygantte October 29, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    At first I thought you were just trolling. Now I’m not so sure…

  29. ~DaD October 30, 2011 at 4:14 am #

    I thought the post was hilarious… 

  30. Anti-Citizen1 October 30, 2011 at 6:42 am #

    How many of humanity’s works will last that long?

  31. Doug Brunell October 30, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    This does have Lovecraft written all over it.  Fascinating.

  32. Doug Brunell October 30, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    This does have Lovecraft written all over it.  Fascinating.

  33. Calypso October 30, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    Those still quenched by their denial know not what the Great Old One’s Knew that He alone is the Gate in which Past, Present and Future are ALL ONE!   Yi nash Yog Sothoth he lgeb throdag YAHHHAHAHAHAAAA!!!! 

  34. Whatever October 31, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    Never mind the fact that there is no proof that such a creature ever existed. No fossils, nothing. But of course it has to be twice as long as the Colossal Squid, right? Why? Who decided this on no factual basis, whatsoever? Is there a group of scientists out there that are entitled special grants due to their extra chromosome. That’s my hypothesis.

    • Whatever. Again October 31, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

      Oops. Forgot a ? after chromosome. Sorry to all you comment Nazis.

    • Butter Knife November 2, 2011 at 10:43 am #

      But… wild conjecture!

    • Pinky November 2, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

      No fossils because no bones

  35. Whatever November 1, 2011 at 1:57 am #

    Never mind the fact that there is no proof that such a creature ever existed. No fossils, nothing. But of course it has to be twice as long as the Colossal Squid, right? Why? Who decided this on no factual basis, whatsoever? Is there a group of scientists out there that are entitled special grants due to their extra chromosome. That’s my hypothesis.

  36. Whatever. Again November 1, 2011 at 1:59 am #

    Oops. Forgot a ? after chromosome. Sorry to all you comment Nazis.

  37. James Vance November 1, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    indeed, i remember seeing on a science channel that some scientists believe that cephalopods might make it to land in the vast future, they will act like many armed monkeys

  38. Anonymous November 2, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    It is very Nice art Making Drawing by the art student.
    http://ritzcameracoupon.wordpress.com/2011/10/22/options-for-right-tablet-pc/

  39. Butter Knife November 2, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    But… wild conjecture!

  40. Pinky November 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    No fossils because no bones

  41. Zenc November 2, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

    LIke this?

    http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/

  42. Anonymous November 5, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    This is very Nice sound for Picture.
    http://lumberjocks.com/AdeleTurley

  43. hoebywan November 8, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Complete bollocks that formation is completely consistent with how the vertebrae would settle after the surrounding tissue had rotted away. No fossil evidence such as the beak was found of any squid. Get a life.

  44. hoebywan November 8, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Complete bollocks that formation is completely consistent with how the vertebrae would settle after the surrounding tissue had rotted away. No fossil evidence such as the beak was found of any squid. Get a life.

  45. hoebywan November 8, 2011 at 4:37 am #

    Complete bollocks that formation is completely consistent with how the vertebrae would settle after the surrounding tissue had rotted away. No fossil evidence such as the beak was found of any squid. Get a life.

  46. Dalkng November 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Sounds like evidence for Cthulhu to me

  47. Dalkng November 12, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Sounds like evidence for Cthulhu to me

  48. Dalkng November 12, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Sounds like evidence for Cthulhu to me

  49. Eric Brooks November 21, 2011 at 5:43 am #

    Let’s remember bower birds. Even if the ‘kraken’ did produce this ‘artwork’, its act of doing so could have a very basic survival/procreation explanation.

  50. brookse32 November 21, 2011 at 1:43 am #

    Let’s remember bower birds. Even if the ‘kraken’ did produce this ‘artwork’, its act of doing so could have a very basic survival/procreation explanation.

  51. Henri Roquas November 22, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    If these ‘kraken’ really had shown this kind of behaviour, it would not have been unique. Recent male New Guinea’s bowerbirds has a remarkable mating behaviour, trying to attract a mating partner the males make a dance platform at which he will arrange objects of the same colour in complex patterns. 

  52. Henri Roquas November 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    If these ‘kraken’ really had shown this kind of behaviour, it would not have been unique. Recent male New Guinea’s bowerbirds has a remarkable mating behaviour, trying to attract a mating partner the males make a dance platform at which he will arrange objects of the same colour in complex patterns. 

  53. James Vance December 19, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    no, but nice find

  54. Sreybsrg December 28, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

    the ancient old ones are returning

  55. Sreybsrg December 28, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

    the ancient old ones are returning

  56. Sreybsrg December 28, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    the ancient old ones are returning

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