SANTA MONICA, CA — For the second time in recent months, a giant sea creature has washed ashore in California. First it was a rare oarfish that had grown to a freakish 100-foot length. This time it was a giant squid measuring a whopping 160 feet from head to tentacle tip.
These giants look different but experts believe they share one important commonality: they both come from the waters near the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant in the Futaba District of Japan.
Scientists believe that following the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant an unknown number of sea creatures suffered genetic mutations that triggered uncontrolled growth – or “radioactive gigantism.”
Imagine a tuna fish that could feed a city the size of Austin, Texas.”
Unfortunately, this cadre of mutant giants seems to be drifting towards the continental U.S. Local officials in Santa Monica, CA – where the creature drifted ashore – tried to calm residents. “This creature appears to be deceased and even if alive only thrives in water,” said Santa Monica Parks Manager Cynthia Beard. “We intend to move the creature in pieces to Scripps Research Institute so that they can study it,” she noted.
Although not yet well understood, radioactive gigantism is said to result when radiation causes changes to the growth regulating portions of the DNA of affected organisms. When growth regulators fail to control cellular growth, an organism may reach many times its regular body size.
Local radioactive gigantism expert Santa Marino College biology professor Martin L. Grimm, PhD said that the nuclear disaster may have had some unintended benefits. “These creatures give us the chance to study radioactive gigantism,” he said. Grimm believes that harnessing radioactive gigantism may be like harnessing the atom to create atomic energy. “Imagine a tuna fish that could feed a city the size of Austin, Texas,” he said. “This is the possibility of radioactive gigantism.”
Take Jaws but make him the size of a Manhattan skyscraper.”
Others find the giant sea creatures to be a potential safety concern. Even before the giant squid washed ashore, the U.S. Coast Guard had issued a “blue alert” for residents in central and southern Californian coasts “to remain watchful.” Yesterday Admiral Sandy Duncan-Roberts said that she would need to raise the awareness level to a “yellow alert” which asks resident to “exercise caution” along the shoreline.
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Are giant sea creatures really a threat for those on land? “Take Jaws but make him the size of a Manhattan skyscraper,” said Bruce Kenner, a marine biologist at UC San Diego. Kenner thinks that gigantism might distort sea creatures’ navigational systems. “If that guy took a wrong turn onto the coastline he could level 40 city blocks thrashing before he comes to rest,” he said.
Residents are anxious now that a second creature has surfaced. “Before we only worried about parking when we went to the beach,” said Marquise Griffon. “Now we have to worry about Godzilla [stuff] coming after us.”
If any residents spot an unusually sized sea creature, they should call the Santa Marino Police Department on its hotline at 1-800-BIG-FISH (or 1-800-244-3474).
UPDATE 12:53 PM PST — Local authorities have requested that tourists and others interested in seeing the beached squid to refrain from visiting Santa Monica due to traffic and safety concerns. An area around the beach has been cordoned off to prevent sight-seers. In a statement released to the media Gov. Jerry Brown assured local residents that the area is safe and it is “business as usual” in Santa Monica. Gov. Brown indicated that plans to dismember the squid for transport to Scripps Research Institute “will not be delayed.”
UPDATE 7:36 PM PST — Santa Monica residents residing near the beach have reported significant activity, but no one can get close enough to the beach to view the scene. Two chinook helicopters have been hovering for over an hour approximately 500 meters from where the squid was positioned early this morning.