The Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea's protagonists are not the only ones to encounter bizarre sea monsters. Just like passengers of the Jules Verne’s famous submarine – the Nautilus – confronted giant squids, the Okeanos Explorer, an underwater research vessel that belongs to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration crew also spotted an incredible cephalopod in the depths of the Ocean.
As the biologists state on the National Geographic website, the encounter took place at around 850 meters of depth, in the Gulf of Mexico in the Atlantic Ocean and the scientists were on board the remote-controlled submarine. The one-on-one was surprising to say the least, admits Vecchione:
My first reaction was, 'What in the hell was that?
All we can say is that the animal really could raise eyebrows.
A unique posture
Thesquid had an astonishing posture. A couple of the arms were folded right flat on the back, which could mean a defensive attitude, but no other squiddoes it to that extent. “It didn't look like any squid I had seen, until we started getting close and the animal started rotating around.’ says Mike Vecchione.
If we are to believe the submarine explorers, the creature swam like a nautilus, a cephalopod with several tens of tentacles that moves thanks to the water that pushes it. But it looked more like a vampire squid that is typical to the abysses of the oceans around the world.
The identity of the animal remains unknown
This hypothesis is, nonetheless, yet to be confirmed. The scientists haven’t captured the animal yet. They only have short videos of the creature swimming in the depths of the ocean. What it eats, how it catches its prey, or the reason behind its unique posture remain a mystery.
The scientists suspect, however, that its bizarre attitude could be camouflage, but it could also be a sign of an illness or a way of optimising its hunting technique. There are several hypotheses that are hard to verify, as the animal’s posture is truly unique, Vecchione states:
This one was real extreme. A couple of the arms were folded right flat on the back, and a couple were folded underneath, and a couple were sticking out to the side.
The biologists hope to learn more about the marine creaturein the future, especially to discover whether that’s an unknown species. Whilst waiting for new discoveries, marine life enthusiasts can already admire magnificent specimens of it. It’s like a virtual journey twenty thousand leagues under the sea, but this time none of it is fiction.