The ocean is vast and mysterious, filled with unimaginable wonders that never cease to amaze. From massive giant squids to tiny bioluminescent organisms that light up the water, the sea is like an infinite treasure trove of bizarre creatures. But while scientists are used to discovering strange, otherworldly marine animals, this might be the first time they've come across something that resembles a classic Italian dish. Researchers found a "flying spaghetti monster" off the coast of Angola that they've determined to be part of the same family as jellyfish and coral. Here's hoping that a new discovery of pizza fish is not far behind.
The flying spaghetti monster was first spotted by a drilling team from BP doing routine work near an oil rig off the Angolan coast. While using a remotely-operated vehicle 1325 meters (about 4347 feet) underwater, the team caught sight of the creature, and was able to film it. They then sent the footage to Daniel Jones at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK. Jones, a deep-sea animal researcher working with ROV teams on documenting marine life, identified the carb-loaded monster as a siphonophore.
Siphonophores are in a class of animals that belong to the phylum Cnidaria, which includes radially symmetrical invertebrates like jellyfish, coral, and sea anemones. Jones' colleague Philip Pugh then narrowed it down even more when he noticed that the creature's tentacles did not have side branches, identifying it as the Bathyphysa conifera.
If you're still having trouble picturing just what a flying spaghetti monster looks like, don't worry. These stills from the BP team's footage should give you a clear sense — not to mention a craving for spaghetti bolognese.
Mmm, that thing looks like it would go really well with garlic and olive oil.
Or maybe tossed in a spicy tomato sauce.
Perhaps with some of his marine buddies? Shrimp, mussels, and calamari go great with pasta. Sorry, too morbid?
Look how majestic it is when it lets its spaghetti tentacles flow freely.
The glowing orb on top of the animal reminds me of a beautiful, glistening egg yolk cracked on top of spaghetti carbonara.
And is it just me, or do those shorter, fatter tentacles kind of look like macaroni?
While it's a good thing its natural predators don't like pasta (presumably), if this thing lived on dry land, we'd all be chasing the flying spaghetti monster with a block of Parmesan in hand.
Watch all the footage below.
Images: New Scientist/YouTube