Scientists discover fossil of horrifying ‘Cthulhu’ sea creature with 45 TENTACLES that crawled the ocean floor 430 million years ago
- An extinct creature shared traits with mythic beast, Cthulhu, but size isn’t one
- A newly found extinct sea cumber had 45 tentacles which it used to suck up food
- The fossil was well-preserved, allowing experts to map a 3-D model
- Its discovery brings insight into the development of modern day species
According to scientists, a creature similar to H.P. Lovecraft’s fictional and monstrous sea beast, Cthulhu, did exist at one point — the only difference is it was about 3 cm wide.
In a computer-generated model created from a 430 million-year-old fossil, scientists say they’ve identified a never-before-seen species of sea cucumber which they aptly dubbed, Sollasina cthulhu, after the iconic monster monster feature in H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘Call of Cthulhu’.
The ancient specimen may be small in stature, but according to scientists it may have projected a much scarier image to other sea creatures.
According to scientists, a creature similar to H.P. Lovecraft’s fictional and monstrous sea beast, Cthulhu, did exist at one point — the only difference is it was about 3 cm wide. An artist’s impression of the creature is pictured
WHAT IS SOLLASINA CTHULHU?
In a 430-million-year-old fossil researchers found a never-before-seen species of ancient cucumber.
With 45 tentacles that also served as tube-like mouths, experts named it after the mythical sea beast ‘Cthulhu.’
The specimen unlocks clues about how the current iteration of sea cucumbers came to be.
Preserved in a shroud of ash and calcite, the creature was capable of being digitally reconstructed on the inside and the outside.
In all, it boasts 45 tube-like tentacles which researchers say were capable of sucking up food and helping attach to the ocean floor.
To recreate what the creature looked like the fossil was ground layer-by-layer with a photograph taken at each step and creating hundreds of ‘slice images.’
The sum total of the snaps were then parsed by a computer to recreate a digital image.
In addition to being both visually and mythologically fascinating, the discovery also adds to biologists understanding of how today’s species of cucumbers came to be, say scientists.
‘We carried out a number of analyses to work out whether to our was more closely related to sea cucumbers or sea urchins,’ said co-author of the study Dr Jeffrey Thompson.
‘To our surprise, the results suggest it was an ancient sea cucumber.
This helps us understand the changes that occurred during the early evolution of the group, which ultimately gave rise to the slug-like forms we see today.’
In a computer-generated model (left) created from a fossil, scientists say they’ve identified a never-before-seen species of sea cucumber which they aptly dubbed, Sollasina cthulhu, after the iconic monster monster feature in H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘Call of Cthulhu’ (illustrated right)
A fossil of the creature, which belonged to a now extinct group called ophiocistioids, was uncovered from a fossil-rich site in the United Kingdom off the coast of Herefordshire.
The site is known not just for its amount of ancient sea fossils but also for the surprising level of preservation observed in specimens uncovered there.
Because of the unique combination of volcanic ash and calcite that surrounds fossils there, scientist are able to observe not only the hard structures and bones of the entombed creatures, but soft tissue as well.
As a result, researchers were able to go as far as to reconstruct a map of the ancient cucumber’s water vascular system in an accurate 3-D rendering.