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The massive invertebrate is the stuff of legend, with sightings of a huge ocean-dwelling beast reported by sailors for centuries.
The creature is thought to be the genesis of the Nordic legend of Kraken, a sea monster believed to have attacked ships in waters off Scandinavia over the last millennium.
Modern-day scientists on their own Moby Dick-style search used a submersible to descend to the dark and cold depths of the northern Pacific Ocean, where at around 630 metres (2,066 feet) they managed to film a three-metre specimen.
After around 100 missions, during which they spent 400 hours in the cramped submarine, the three-man crew tracked the creature from a spot some 15 kilometres (nine miles) east of Chichi island in the north Pacific.
Museum researcher Tsunemi Kubodera said they followed the enormous mollusc to a depth of 900 metres as it swam into the ocean abyss.
Moby Dick comes to life: The astonishing rare images of a sperm whale feasting on a giant squid
The captivating pictures show adult sperm whales feasting on a rare giant squid. Though the squid looks small beside the enormous whales, it is thought to be an incredible eight to ten metres long.