Mysterious Creatures Found in Antarctica
By Al Tesshin Billings
Am I the only one that read this story and has my mind immediately turn to H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness”? After all, his horrors were found in Antartica and lived originally within the waters there, millions of years ago…
From the news article:
Scientists investigating the icy waters of Antarctica said Tuesday they have collected mysterious creatures including giant sea spiders and huge worms in the murky depths. [...] Some of the animals far under the sea grow to unusually large sizes, a phenomenon called gigantism that scientists still do not fully understand. "Gigantism is very common in Antarctic waters," Martin Riddle, the Australian Antarctic Division scientist who led the expedition, said in a statement. "We have collected huge worms, giant crustaceans and sea spiders the size of dinner plates." "Not all of the creatures that we found could be identified and it is very likely that some new species will be recorded as a result of these voyages," said Graham Hosie, head of the census project. [...] Among the bizarre-looking creatures the scientists spotted were tunicates, plankton-eating animals that resemble slender glass structures up to a yard tall "standing in fields like poppies," Riddle said. Other animals were equally baffling. "They had fins in various places, they had funny dangly bits around their mouths," Riddle told reporters. "They were all bottom dwellers so they were all evolved in different ways to live down on the sea bed in the dark. So many of them had very large eyes — very strange looking fish."
And to quote Lovecraft’s work:
<img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2024/2279301910_d9f700a42c_o.gif" width="200" height="306" align="right" hspace="5" vspace="5" alt="elder-thing by Joel Carroll" / border="0">"10:15 P.M. Important discovery. Orrendorf and Watkins, working underground at 9:45 with light, found monstrous barrel-shaped fossil of wholly unknown nature; probably vegetable unless overgrown specimen of unknown marine radiata. Tissue evidently preserved by mineral salts. Tough as leather, but astonishing flexibility retained in places. Marks of broken-off parts at ends and around sides. Six feet end to end, three and five-tenths feet central diameter, tapering to one foot at each end. Like a barrel with five bulging ridges in place of staves. Lateral breakages, as of thinnish stalks, are at equator in middle of these ridges. In furrows between ridges are curious growths - combs or wings that fold up and spread out like fans. All greatly damaged but one, which gives almost seven-foot wing spread. Arrangement reminds one of certain monsters of primal myth, especially fabled Elder Things in Necronomicon. "Their wings seem to be membranous, stretched on frame work of glandular tubing. Apparent minute orifices in frame tubing at wing tips. Ends of body shriveled, giving no clue to interior or to what has been broken off there. Must dissect when we get back to camp. Can’t decide whether vegetable or animal. Many features obviously of almost incredible primitiveness. [...] "Objects are eight feet long all over. Six-foot, five-ridged barrel torso three and five-tenths feet central diameter, one foot end diameters. Dark gray, flexible, and infinitely tough. Seven-foot membranous wings of same color, found folded, spread out of furrows between ridges. Wing framework tubular or glandular, of lighter gray, with orifices at wing tips. Spread wings have serrated edge. Around equator, one at central apex of each of the five vertical, stave-like ridges are five systems of light gray flexible arms or tentacles found tightly folded to torso but expansible to maximum length of over three feet. Like arms of primitive crinoid. Single stalks three inches diameter branch after six inches into five substalks, each of which branches after eight inches into small, tapering tentacles or tendrils, giving each stalk a total of twenty-five tentacles. "At top of torso blunt, bulbous neck of lighter gray, with gill-like suggestions, holds yellowish five-pointed starfish-shaped apparent head covered with three-inch wiry cilia of various prismatic colors. "Head thick and puffy, about two feet point to point, with three-inch flexible yellowish tubes projecting from each point. Slit in exact center of top probably breathing aperture. At end of each tube is spherical expansion where yellowish membrane rolls back on handling to reveal glassy, red-irised globe, evidently an eye. "Five slightly longer reddish tubes start from inner angles of starfish-shaped head and end in saclike swellings of same color which, upon pressure, open to bell-shaped orifices two inches maximum diameter and lined with sharp, white tooth like projections - probably mouths. All these tubes, cilia, and points of starfish head, found folded tightly down; tubes and points clinging to bulbous neck and torso. Flexibility surprising despite vast toughness. "At bottom of torso, rough but dissimilarly functioning counterparts of head arrangements exist. Bulbous light-gray pseudo-neck, without gill suggestions, holds greenish five-pointed starfish arrangement. "Tough, muscular arms four feet long and tapering from seven inches diameter at base to about two and five-tenths at point. To each point is attached small end of a greenish five-veined membranous triangle eight inches long and six wide at farther end. This is the paddle, fin, or pseudofoot which has made prints in rocks from a thousand million to fifty or sixty million years old. "From inner angles of starfish arrangement project two-foot reddish tubes tapering from three inches diameter at base to one at tip. Orifices at tips. All these parts infinitely tough and leathery, but extremely flexible. Four-foot arms with paddles undoubtedly used for locomotion of some sort, marine or otherwise. When moved, display suggestions of exaggerated muscularity. As found, all these projections tightly folded over pseudoneck and end of torso, corresponding to projections at other end.