From National Geographic:

A mile and a half (two and a half kilometers) underwater, a remote control submersible’s camera has captured an eerie surprise: an alien-like, long-armed, and—strangest of all—”elbowed” Magnapinna squid.

In a brief video from the dive recently obtained by National Geographic News, one of the rarely seen squid loiters above the seafloor in the Gulf of Mexico on November 11, 2007.

The clip—from a Shell oil company ROV (remotely operated vehicle)—arrived after a long, circuitous trip through oil-industry in-boxes and other email accounts.

“Perdido ROV Visitor, What Is It?” the email’s subject line read—Perdido being the name of a Shell-owned drilling site. Located about 200 miles (320 kilometers) off Houston, Texas, Perdido is one of the world’s deepest oil and gas developments.

The video clip shows the screen of the ROV’s guidance monitor framed with pulsing inputs of time and positioning data.

In a few seconds of jerky camerawork, the squid appears with its huge fins waving like elephant ears and its remarkable arms and tentacles trailing from elbow-like appendages.

Despite the squid’s apparent unflappability on camera, Magnapinna, or “big fin,” squid remain largely a mystery to science.

Thanks, Ben.