The deep sea hosts a myriad of strange life forms. Shielded from both human interaction and ecological developments by kilometres of water, its organisms have developed into forms that can only be described as alien. Creatures like the angler fish and the vampire squid are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the deep sea has to offer. Popularized by films like Finding Nemo, everyone is familiar with these real-life monsters.
But the fact of the matter is, the ocean houses much stranger inhabitants than these two animals. Take, for instance, the bigfin squid, whose enormous tentacles dangle down from its tiny body at an unnatural 45 degree angle.
It’s often said that we know more about space than we know about the deep sea, and it’s true. Contrary to space, the deep sea is full of life, new forms of which are constantly being discovered. In fact, quite recently, scientists scavenging a particularly ancient and remote area of the Pacific Ocean discovered a new species of sea sponges which the internet has since dubbed the “E.T. Sponge.”
As the nickname suggests, these creatures look suspiciously like the extraterrestrial centerpiece of Steven Spielberg’s famous film, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The sponge, also called Advhena magnifica by scientists, resides on a prehistoric seafloor nearly 8,000 feet below the surface.
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As you can see above, the resemblance is twofold. The sponge’s long, lanky stalk resembles the infamous alien’s thin neck, while its enlarged cranium, complete with two openings, looks a lot like E.T.’s big-eyed head. And as SpongeBob Squarepants has helped to convince us, sponges are not plants but animals. Like corral reefs, their organic composition is fundamentally different from what we classify as fauna.
According to one researcher, these E.T. Sponges play an important role in the ecosystems they reside in, as they “provide structure in and around which other organisms live.” But tell us, do you think they resemble the famous alien? Let us know in the usual place down below.