Animal Face Off

It’s a questions that has plagued the life sciences for years. In the ultimate cage match to the death who would be the winner, a humungous squid or a sperm whale? Animal Face Off on the Discovery Science will tackle that question this Friday at 7:30 pm. Moreover, for your viewing pleasure the episode will be double the normal length. Even better the episode features squid expert extraordinaire Steve O’Shea vs. American whale scientist Scott Baker. My vote is obviously for the humungous squid and it appears that the chosen squid is the Colossal Squid. 500kgs and 12 meters in length with camouflage rendering it invisible, arms full of vicious, flesh-ripping hooks, and a passion for fighting dirty. It also doesn’t hurt that Team Fighting Squid is fronted by Steve.

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

4 Replies to “Animal Face Off”

  1. Animal Face-Off first aired…gosh, 3 years ago? 4? Something like that. I was SOOOO looking forward to it. It would put to rest the most fun debates ever! Who wins in a deathmatch?

    Sadly, the show miserably disappointed. It was awful. They stretched 10 minutes of actual show out into a whole hour. They spent a long time building mostly useless animal models, then had the face-off play out, scripted, in a 3D animation, usually with an absolutely ridiculous outcome.

    For example, the playout of Lion vs. Tiger:
    “The lion tackles the tiger with a surprise charge. The tiger tried to bite the lion’s throat, but the lion’s mane protected it. The big cats scratched each other, but neither could lay a killer blow. The tiger tried a neck bite, but the lion’s mane deflected its aim. Finally, the lion bit the tiger’s throat.”

    Deflected with it’s MANE? A Tiger? You gotta be kidding me…

    Anyway. Whale vs. Squid – I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it’s lame.

  2. Um, Clark (1980)* found lots of evidence of colossal squid beaks in sperm whale stomachs, no? No offense to the squid (and cephalopod lovers everywhere), but seems like this one is over before it begins, barring the occasional bad day for the whale. Maybe next time we can have “Bear vs. Salmon”?


    *Clarke, M.R. 1980. Cephalopoda in the diet of sperm whales of the southern hemisphere and their bearing on sperm whale biology. Discovery Reports 37: 1-324.


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