Published May 11, 2012
The ocean has once again revealed its oddities -- a mysterious floating blob that had the Internet world scratching its head.
New video captured by an underwater camera near a deep-sea drilling rig off the coast of the United Kingdom depicts a giant, scaly blob dancing and pulsing under the waters.
The strange video shows what appears to be organic parts on the otherwise dancing plastic bag -- long appendages that trail out and brainlike structures at its base. But a repeating hexagonal pattern had some speculating that it was man-made.
"Tthe hexagon thing is what is throwing me off the most," wrote on mystified observer on the online forum Reddit. I mean, the object/creature was weird as is, but that hexagonal pattern is what I found most interesting.
The creature looks like nothing seen before, with speculators on the online forum suggesting everything from a jellyfish to the remains of a whale placenta.
“It's probably one that has been regenerating since the dawn of time and has finally reached level 9999,” one user joked.
But that deepwater enigma is no mystery: It’s actually a Deepstaria enigmatica, said oceanographer Steven Haddock.
“This bag-like jelly is not that rare, but is large, so rarely seen intact,” Haddock, a scientist for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, Calif., wrote on his Facebook page "Jellywatch."
“In the video, the swirling from the sub makes the medusa appear to undulate and it even turns inside-out … The web-like pattern is not a nerve net, as some comments have said. It is branches from their digestive system.”
This type of jellyfish is usually found in the south Atlantic Ocean; it has “oral arms […] terminating in curious hook-shaped organs.”
According to the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of Natural History, the strange species was first identified in 1966 -- collected in a research submarine with a suction feet about half a mile deep in the Antarctic Ocean.
'Because of its size, not all of the specimen could fit into the pump container, and we returned to the surface with part of it still extending from the funnel,” wrote Dr. Russell, who named the enigmatica at the time.