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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY

Why Is That Undulating Blob Of Flesh Inspecting My Oil Rig?

from NPR

Every so often, the Internet astonishes. Things I wouldn't, couldn't, shouldn't expect, sometimes happen. On April 25, somewhere in the ocean off Great Britain, a remotely operated video camera near a deep sea oil rig caught a glimpse--at first it was just a glimpse--of an astonishing looking sea creature. It was a green-gray blob of gelatinous muscle, covered with a finely mesh-like textured skin, no eyes, no tentacles, no front, no back. It moved constantly, floating up to the camera, then it backed off and disappeared. The camera operator tried to find it, and then, suddenly, out of the darkness, back it came.

What was this thing? It had no mouth. It seemed to be undulating, or at least moving with intention. It looked like it was coming back to the drill to ... to do what? Or maybe it was dead. Just a floating bit of tissue, a whale placenta, perhaps?

You'd figure a video like this, once it went on the Internet (which it did last month) would produce the usual wild explanations from people who know little but post madly, rumors masquerading as knowledge, a great riot of misinformation and silliness. But not this time.

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