2 Miles Deep in the Ocean, a 'Delightfully Strange Find'

'It's like the beginning of a horror movie,' one scientist said of odd 'golden egg' found off Alaska
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2023 10:00 AM CDT
2 Miles Deep in the Ocean, a 'Delightfully Strange Find'
Any guesses?   (NOAA)

An underwater mission in the Gulf of Alaska to explore deep-sea habitats led researchers to make an unexpected discovery: a strange gold-colored orb submerged 2 miles deep on the ocean floor. Per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the find was made Aug. 30 when the Okeanos Explorer found, "amid a smattering of white sponges, this smooth, gold, dome-shaped specimen, a little over ... 4 inches in diameter," clinging to a rock and with a small tear at its base. One of the people on the ship referred to it initially as a "yellow hat," though headlines since have dubbed it a "golden egg."

Scientists on the vessel were left scratching their heads over what the object could be, with speculations running the gamut from being some sort of sponge or piece of coral, to jokes about it being an alien egg, per the Washington Post. "It's definitely got a big old hole in it," a researcher can be heard saying during the livestream of the find. "So something either tried to get in or tried to get out." Another comment overheard, per the Miami Herald: "I just hope when we poke it, something doesn't decide to come out. It's like the beginning of a horror movie."

"Isn't the deep sea so delightfully strange?" NOAA's Sam Candio, who led the expedition, says in the release. He notes that his crew was able to retrieve the orb using a remotely controlled suction machine and bring it onto the ship, but that "we still are not able to identify it beyond the fact that it is biological in origin." He adds, "We likely won't learn more until we are able to get it into a laboratory setting." The NOAA release notes, "It's still unclear if the golden dome is associated with a known species, a new species, or perhaps represents an unknown life stage of an existing one." (More strange stuff stories.)

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