A nightmarish creature is lurking deep between the ocean waves, and scientists have observed it live for the very first time.
Scientists have just made an astonishing discovery deep beneath the ocean waves near the island nation of the Philippines, and it’s the stuff of nightmares. Scientists have collected the first live specimens of the rare “giant shipworm,” a five foot long black marine worm that lives in the mud of the seabed inside a hard shell.
Until now, scientists only knew Kuphus polythalamia existed because of the huge shells of calcium carbonate that they leave behind. But they got a break in the search for this elusive species after seeing a Filipino documentary that featured a group of machine that likes to cook and eat the shipworms. A video of the fearsome creature is embedded at the bottom of this post.
In the documentary, they could see people collecting the shipworms and eating them, but fishermen refused to share their secrets with researchers. So the team followed clues in the video to make their incredible discovery.
“I was awestruck when I first saw the sheer immensity of this bizarre animal,” says Marvin Altamia, researcher at the marine sciences institute, University of the Philippines, in a statement. “Being present for the first encounter of an animal like this is the closest I will ever get to being a 19th century naturalist,” says the study’s senior author Margo Haygood, a research professor in medicinal chemistry at the University of Utah College of Pharmacy.