Blog Science

Mysterious sea creatures washed up in 2018, from shaggy-haired ‘globster’ to ‘contracting’ blob

Beachgoers across the world discovered stunning sea creatures this year — as strong currents and storms pushed them to the surface.

In Texas, a fish that typically swims in waters as deep as 1,200 feet was found lifeless on the sand in Corpus Christi. New Zealand residents spotted a bright pink creature that turned out to be the largest species of jellyfish in the world during a family outing. And that’s just the beginning.

Photos and videos of various unique ocean finds were shared online, and (no surprise) quickly went viral. Some were considered local treasures, while others were studied and examined by marine experts to help them better understand rare species.

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Here’s a look at some of the most puzzling sea creatures that washed up in 2018.

“Globster” with shaggy hair
A giant hairy sea creature washed up in the Phillipines in May, causing locals to flock to the San Antonio beach to snap pictures of the mysterious “blob” many dubbed a “globster.”

The carcass of the animal measured about 20 feet long, according to The Sun. A video of the massive greyish white creature posted to YouTube showed two men with ropes working together to pull the monster out of the water.

Fishery Law Enforcement Officer Vox Krusada told the British newspaper that — based on the size and shape of the creature, and what marine experts observed — officials could confirm it was the body of a whale.

Thick-tailed batfish
An odd-looking fish that lives on the ocean floor shocked Texas park rangers when it washed up on Padre Island National Seashore in Corpus Christi in June.

Photographer Edie Bresler was scanning the beach for hidden treasures when he spotted the big-eyed fish. With its bumpy skin and wide mouth, Bresler wasn’t exactly sure what he was looking at. So, he quickly took out his camera and started snapping.

“I have been beach combing all my life so to come across something strange like this was totally exciting,” Bresler explained in a Facebook post. “It got even better when I took the photographs to the park rangers and they were equally baffled.”Bresler sent his photos to officials at Padre Island National Seashore. After carefully studying the creature and comparing images of the fish to various science books, they determined it was a thick-tailed batfish.

“These fish come from 600-1200 feet (180-365 meters) deep, where ocean life gets WEIRD,” the park explained. “Batfish use their pectoral, or side-fins, as ‘legs’ to ‘crawl’ on the seafloor to feed on worms, and small crustaceans and fish. They live their lives in complete darkness, where large eyes probably come in handy to avoid lanternfish or other possible predators.”

Blog Science

‘Treasure trove’ of dinosaur footprints uncovered by strong storms

A “treasure trove” of dinosaur footprints — from at least seven different species, including a species of stegosaur — that date back about 100 million years have been uncovered by storm surge in the United Kingdom, researchers from the University of Cambridge revealed on Monday.

More than 85 “well-preserved” dinosaur prints from the Cretaceous period were recovered in East Sussex, along cliffs near Hastings, from 2014 through 2018, the researchers said. Their impressive findings were recently published in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

“Many of the footprints — which range in size from less than 2 cm to over 60 cm across — are so well-preserved that fine detail of skin, scales and claws is easily visible,” the researchers wrote.

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Dr. Neil Davies, who co-authored the study, said the detailed prints were found during the past four winters as strong storms hit the area. Davies was impressed by the diversity of the prints, which have “incredible detail” due to the damp environment.

“You can clearly see the texture of the skin and scales, as well as four-toed claw marks, which are extremely rare,” he explained in an online statement.

Anthony Shillito, a student in Cambridge’s department of earth sciences and fellow co-author, said the whole body of fossils that were retrieved will help shed light on which dinosaurs co-existed and how they impacted the land they once roamed.

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“You can get some idea about which dinosaurs made them from the shape of the footprints – comparing them with what we know about dinosaur feet from other fossils lets you identify the important similarities. When you also look at footprints from other locations you can start to piece together which species were the key players,” Davies agreed.

Specifically, Shillito plans to focus on how the large ancient creatures impacted river flows.

“We do see some smaller-scale evidence of their impact; in some of the deeper footprints you can see thickets of plants that were growing. We also found evidence of footprints along the banks of river channels, so it’s possible that dinosaurs played a role in creating those channels,” he explained.

The area the dinosaur prints were found is apparently one of the top digging sites in England, and researchers hope to find even more evidence in the coming years.