While looking for a whale fossil exposed by a very low tide on a secluded Santa Cruz, California, beach in early December, photographer Chris Elmenhurst discovered a gruesome scene—and a scientific mystery. Hundreds of dead Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas), also known as jumbo squid, had washed ashore on Capitola beach (pictured). Later reports showed similar scenes had played out from Santa Cruz south to Aptos and Pacific Grove in central California, culminating in squid casualties estimated in the thousands.
Photos: Humboldt Squid Have a Bad Day at the Beach
The bodies of hundreds of beached Humboldt squid puzzle researchers.