The deep sea is full of some of the most terrifying creatures science has ever seen or tried to see. There's the horrifying fanged anglerfish, which lures in prey with its glowing dangly light. There's also the giant squid, lurking deep, deep underwater and inspiring ghastly stories with its enormous eye and secretive life.
But there is another squid that, dare we say it, topples the giant squid from its dark and otherworldly throne in terms of the sheer terror it conjures at every turn. It's a towering monstrosity with spindly legs like a robot from "Star Wars" that extend out in a giant ray and then bend abruptly down to cascade like bloody tears toward the seafloor.
In case that was a little too abstruse to imagine, let us make this abundantly clear: This enormous deep-sea squid has elbows.
ELBOWS, by jove, ELBOWS.
Now, as you may have learned on your time on this good Earth (that is, before the long-armed squid sucks you into the benthic void and devours you limb from limb — or perhaps, in a scarier scenario, simply watches you as you sink, slower and slower, into a black abyss the likes of which you may never recover), an elbow is the part of your arm where two bones connect in a joint.
Now, that may seem like a scientific platitude, but think about the fact that an elbow is literally defined by two bones connecting in a kind of corner.
So, we gently pose the question: What kind of unholy union is created when an animal has an elbow but no discernible bones?
How on Earth can a creature have an elbow IN A TENTACLE? Where is the bending point? How does the squid know precisely where to bend each of its demonic so-called "elbows" at the same point, in — may we add — a perfect right angle, in every tentacle so that it looks like some truant candelabra floating, zombie-like, in the sunless depths of the ocean?
How, we ask? How?!!?
Inquiring minds certainly want to know, but scientists have never managed to procure an intact specimen of the long-armed squid. The bodies they have recovered do, however, show another unusual and, dare we say it, downright cryptic abnormality in the body of the squid.
While most squids have eight arms and two longer tentacles, the long-armed squid has simply 10 tentacles of exactly the same size that ALL HAVE ELBOWS.
We cannot stress this elbow thing enough — it is truly the freakiest thing about this creature.
So if you happen to find yourself wandering alone at night in a benthic trench thousands of feet below the sea, and you pass a menacingly drifting squid with extremely long tentacles, give it a wave. And if it bends one of its uncannily long arms to wave back, swim far, far away and never, ever return. You'll thank us later.