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KRAKENS

by Chris Wayan, 2006

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a kraken, an intelligent giant squid native to deep seas of Lyr, a large wet world.

SPECIES

Krakens are something like a hybrid of squid, sperm whale and plesiosaur--but even bigger than that suggests. These deep-diving, toothy, long-necked giants hunt up to three km down, using both sonar and huge staring eyes. They're gilled, but will occasionally gulp air at the surface like gigantic goldfish, either to use for trim (or, in a minority theory, when deep-fishing in anoxic waters). This gave rise to a long-held belief they were air-breathing like Terran whales. But typical kraken hunting grounds are far deeper than sperm whales'. Even a whale-sized breath would be wasted in hours of travel up and down. A map of Lyr, a large water world with small scattered continents. The known range of krakens, a deep-water species, is marked in yellow; possible range in green. The range surrounds landmasses and island chains.

HABITAT

Krakens are a deep-water species, but the richest waters on Lyr are usually near reefs, island chains, and continents, since these can force deep nutrient-rich currents to upwell. Known range is marked in yellow; it's very rough, being based on scant sightings and reports, mostly from star-nosed dolphins, whose spatial concepts are difficult to understand at best.

The likely range, shown in green, is based entirely on geographic and hydrological similarities to the known range, not on verified sightings.
a kraken, an intelligent giant squid native to deep seas of Lyr, a large wet world.

BEHAVIOR

We have scant clues about kraken biology, let alone culture. Playing detective and spinning theories that don't contradict the facts is the most we can do.

Krakens are nomadic hunters, usually following an annual circuit around their ocean.

Kraken have the means to be tool-using after a fashion, for they do have tentacles around their lips. But motive and opportunity may be lacking. The deeps don't abound in useful objects.

Their culture is thus probably oral. They are known to have a spoken language, though no other species yet understands it. Like whales (and unlike giant squid?), they seem to travel in small groups, signaling to each other over great distances.


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