The longest creature to grace our planet was recently discovered in the deep sea waters of Australia, an awe-inspiring 630 meters beneath the ocean’s depths (via Global News). While this mystifying maritime marvel hails from the murky waters beneath a canyon, it sounds like something one might find in the sea of stars and constellations of outer space. It’s not one single entity, but rather a colony of millions of genetically identical clones working together to function as a single being.
The creature’s scientific name is siphonophore apolemia. If you thought that translated to tentacle-clad alien lifeform taunting the sea in search of prey, you’re pretty much right. This otherworldly being is what happens when zooids, single cells that are capable of moving independently, choose instead to pledge their allegiance to one “parent” organism for life (via Biology Online). The end result is a long, slender spectacle armed with tentacles that resemble fringe, who is, in the words of biologist Rebecca Helm, “hunting in a galaxy-like spiral.”
Apolemia is likely the longest creature on the planet
In terms of our limited knowledge, the Apolemia, if considered a singular lifeform, is likely the longest creature on the face of the planet (via Global News). It’s important to point out that approximately 91% of ocean life remains unclassified and about 80% of the ocean itself is completely unexplored (via National Ocean Service). With this fact in mind, it’s clear that there could certainly be longer, larger creatures yet to come.
Hailing from the magnificent Ningaloo Canyons, Newsweek reports that siphonophore Apolemia is approximately as tall as an 11-story skyscraper. Due to the fact that ocean creatures grow at a slow pace, the size alone suggests this organism could be hundreds of years old already. Discovery of the deep-sea dwelling Apolemia is attributed to the Schmidt Ocean Institute, whose international research team captured captivating footage of the alienesque creature wrapped around itself in a circular posture resembling a flying saucer. The internet has been abuzz with Apolemia ever since.
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