A fascinating sea creature captured by underwater cameras during deep-sea drilling near the UK has evoked wild debate on the web. The most popular assumption so far is that the animal is a unique deep-sea jellyfish.
At first glance, the so-called “Cascade Creature” looks like a piece of a dirty mold-covered plastic bag drifting by the camera. It moves so swiftly that the operator cannot properly follow it into the depths of the water. But then it returns and poses right in front of the camera for several minutes, exposing its strikingly unusual body from every side.
Brown in color, the creature is as flexible as an octopus though it does not possess protruding tentacles. Still it can boast white pendulous tubes.
Dr. Daniel Bucher commented to Ninemsn that the creature must have sex organs.
"In the last 30 seconds or so you start to see more of the structure, these pendulous tubes with four or five whitish structures and some branching between them, which look to me like the gonads of a jellyfish," Dr Bucher said.
It moves by sending waves through the whole of its body like a Manta ray, but its movements are not rhythmic or specular from the side. The creature simply sends the cloak of its body in the direction it wants to move – and does it rather quickly. Some believe the mystery beast does not move independently and was brought into motion by water flooding from the propellers of the submersible providing the pictures.
An inner part of its body appears to be either glowing or brightly painted. The surface has a mesh pattern.
According to the information on the screen, the video was recorded at a depth of 5,045 feet (1,538 meters) – reportedly, by a remote-controlled underwater cameras during deep-sea drilling near the UK.
Some scientists believe it to be Deepstaria enigmatica, a jellyfish first described after a deep-sea submersible dive in 1967.
“This bag-like jelly is not that rare, but is large, so rarely seen intact,” Steven Haddock, a scientist from California, said on his “JellyWatch” Facebook page."This type of jellyfish is usually found in the south Atlantic Ocean, some 5,000 feet below."
Some see in it little more than any old jellyfish. Others recall James Cameron’s aliens from The Abyss, living at the bottom of the ocean.
Or maybe the video was made by James Cameron himself – on his way down the Mariana Trench!