Lair of the kraken.

PhysOrg uncovers tantalizing traces of terrifying prehistoric predator – a giant squid that hunted ichthyosaurs:

But the fossils at the [Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in Nevada] have a long history of perplexing researchers, including the world’s expert on the site: the late Charles Lewis Camp of U.C. Berkeley.

“Charles Camp puzzled over these fossils in the 1950s,” said [Mount Holyoke College paleontologist Mark McMenamin]. “In his papers he keeps referring to how peculiar this site is. We agree, it is peculiar.”

First of all, the different degrees of etching on the bones suggested that the shonisaurs were not all killed and buried at the same time. It also looked like the bones had been purposefully rearranged. That it got him thinking about a particular modern predator that is known for just this sort of intelligent manipulation of bones.

“Modern octopus will do this,” McMenamin said. What if there was an ancient, very large sort of octopus, like the kraken of mythology. “I think that these things were captured by the kraken and taken to the midden and the cephalopod would take them apart.”

No one would have believed such a tale until the staff of the Seattle Aquarium set up a video camera at night a few years ago to find out what was killing the sharks in one of their large tanks. What they were shocked to discover was that a large octopus they had in the same tank was the culprit.

The only thing that would be left today is the sucker-etchings on the bones and, just maybe, a very large, very sharp beak.