Things we don’t know

This is over a year old, but I just ran into it: alien-seeming life forms right here at home. By which I mean 5000 feet below the surface of the ocean, which is an alien environment anyway.

But see for yourself. This video was taken alongside the leg of a drilling platform.

This image of the seamonster came from a NPR blog about how the creature was identified. The picture is neat enough, but watching the thing move is fascinating.

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But what is it? After some puzzlement, experts believe it’s a giant jellyfish with the lovely name of Deepstaria reticulum. How could they tell? One sharp deepsea expert spotted and recognized its gonads. (it’s all about sex, as usual.)

I can envision something just like that floating through the dense atmosphere of a gas giant planet, or undersea on an ocean planet far from here. Physics and chemistry are the same everywhere: some aspects of biology must also be familiar, or no more unfamiliar that something that lives so close to us, but nearly unreachably far.

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