They look like something straight out of a science fiction film.
With eyes the size of basketballs, giant squids are perhaps one of the strangest and most elusive creatures on the planet.
Scientists have previously measured more than 130 specimens, and say the biggest they’ve found is 42 feet (13 metres) in length.
Now, a new statistical study of these sea monsters suggests they could reach 65 feet (20 metres) in length – or the size of a school bus.
The study was undertaken by Charles Paxton, a fisheries ecologist and statistician at the University of St Andrews.
He extrapolated the maximum sizes this species might reach by looking at the variety and amount of data on these creatures, according to a report in LiveScience.
Specifically, he focused on the beak, which is often found in the gut of a sperm whale that has eaten one.
By modelling the relationships between beak size and measures of squid length, and then looking at the sizes of the beaks that have been found, Paxton said giant squid are likely much larger.
He claims that ‘purported squid of 10 m standard length and even 20 m total length are eminently plausible.’
Bodies of giant squid, also known as Architeuthis dux, have washed up onshore since at 1639.
But it wasn’t until 2004 when Japanese scientists caught a glimpse of one of these elusive creatures in its natural habitat.
The female giant squid was 24-foot (7-meter) long.
‘I’ve been interested in the last few years about investigating the hard science behind sea monsters,’ Paxton told LiveScience.
‘I am extrapolating here, and extrapolation can sometimes be a bit sketchy,’ Paxton told Live Science.
‘But I think these are fairly safe extrapolations. I genuinely think that giant-squid size has been underestimated.’
One theory about how giant squids can grow so large is that they stretch overtime, leading scientists to overestimate their size.
Paxton is hoping the further research will study dead squids to see just how much their bodies can stretch.