“Below the thunders of the upper deep, Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea, his ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth”
That’s right. It’s time to release the kraken!
This is the legendary sea monster. It’s massive, terrifying and hungry.
Thankfully, it’s just a myth… right? What if this behemoth of the sea actually existed?
How would this leviathan live in the real world? And how would this monster affect our lives?
It’s time to dive in. We’re getting up close and personal with the mythical cephalopod feared by ocean dwellers and land lovers alike, The Kraken! How exactly would the kraken live in our world?
First, we would categorize the kraken as a cephalopod. Like the octopus, squid and cuttlefish, the kraken would be a highly advanced and intelligent marine animal.
Cephalopods are soft-bodied, so they have no bones to become fossils. This would explain why we haven’t found any remains of a kraken, but it also proposes a terrifying possibility.
If the kraken lived by the laws of science, it would not be immortal. Which means there’s more than one, and they’re breeding. Baby krakens!
As to where this is happening, we assume it would remain in the North Atlantic Ocean. That being said, the species of giant squids alive today inhabit all of the world’s oceans. So we shouldn’t consider ourselves to be safe yet.
Your first hint that you may be in the presence of a kraken is that you catch lots of fish. And I mean, A LOT of fish.
If it seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. The kraken is scaring the fish towards the surface. And that’s a harbinger of death for unwary sailors.
Giant squids hunt by keeping still in deep waters. When a fish gets close enough to the dangling tentacles, it’s pulled into the squid’s grasp, and is unable to escape the suction cups that line the tentacles.
We can assume the kraken hunts in a similar style, but fish isn’t on its menu. It wants you, your crew and your ship.
The Kraken is described in folklore being about the size of a few small islands, and its back was 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) in circumference. It’s also said that the kraken was able to pull massive ships completely underwater with its tentacles. How strong would it have to be to pull this off?
Well, Archimedes’ principle states that the buoyant force on an object, submerged in a fluid, equals the weight of the fluid that the object displaces. If you take the gross tonnage of your ship, and multiply it by the density of seawater and gravity, then subtract the weight of the ship, it will give you the force that the kraken needs to use to pull your ship under the water.
For the kraken to pull a regular-sized ship completely underwater, it would need to exert a force of just over 400,000 kg (900,000 lbs). In non-mathematical terms, the kraken is very, very strong. And you? Well, I’m sorry to break this to you. But you’re kraken food.
It’s safe to say that if at least one of these monsters dwelled beneath the ocean, anything involving sea travel would have happened very, very differently. How would it affect us?
Well, if this monster of the deep is lurking in the Atlantic, it would have changed history as we know it. The Vikings wouldn’t have been able to sail overseas if this sea monster was eating them.
Come to think of it, Christopher Columbus and his crew may have ended up in a watery grave, and never made it to the New World. In fact, North America might not have been discovered until the invention of air travel.
Now, we could assume they evaded the kraken on their voyage. But with the kraken being such a massive creature, it would need a lot of food to sustain itself.
Meaning, it doesn’t look good for anyone who likes to go into the water. Thankfully, the kraken isn’t currently devastating the ocean today. If it ever existed in the first place, it would have been gone long before humans made their debut.
The myths and legends attributed to the kraken are more than likely encounters with their very real, and arguably very terrifying, giant squid cousins. But after all that, we can’t write the old kraken off for sure. Human beings have only searched 5% of the oceans. Everything else down there is a mystery.
- “The Kraken: when myth encounters science”. Salvador, Rodrigo B., and Barbara M. Tomotani. 2014. História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos 21 (3): 971-994. FapUNIFESP (SciELO). doi:10.1590/s0104-59702014000300010.
- “Cephalopod | Definition, Etymology, Species, & Facts”. 2020. Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed January 27 2020.
- “Fantastically Wrong: The Legend of the Kraken, a Monster That Hunts With Its Own Poop“. Simon, Matt, Matt Simon, Jordana Cepelewicz, Eric Niiler, Megan Molteni, Francesca DeRosa, Megan Molteni, and Alex Baker-Whitcomb. 2020. WIRED. Accessed January 27 2020.
- “Giant Squid”. 2018. Smithsonian Ocean. Accessed January 27 2020.
- “How Strong Is The Mythical Kraken? (Because Science W/ Kyle Hill)”. 2020. Youtube. Accessed January 27 2020.
- “Kraken”. 2020. en.wikipedia.org. Accessed January 27 2020.