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Giant Blobs and Walking Coffins

Some strange creatures have come up from the deep lately. Scientists in New Zealand have discovered the walking coffin fish, the wonky-eyed squid and the Pacific spookfish. Researchers in Chile found a giant beached blob.

The huge, gelatinous sea creature was found stranded on the beach in Chile. Biologist Elsa Cabrera, who found the critter, thinks it's the giant Octopus Giganteus. The last time one of these was seen was in 1896, when one washed ashore in Florida. Samples of the animal's skin were lost, but photos of it are stored at the Smithsonian.

"We didn't see many tentacles, but from looking at pictures and descriptions of the 1896 animal and this one, the skin color and shape seem to match?a bit gray with bits of pink," Cabrera says. The blob is a 40 feet long mass of rotting gray flesh that weighs about 13 tons. She says, "I had only heard about things like this in Jules Verne."

Colin Peacock reports from the BBC about an interview with New Zealand marine scientist Clive Roberts, who searches for new species in the Pacific and says, "We know more about the dark side of the Moon than where we're going. We simply don't know what we'll find."

After a few weeks at sea, he came back with a boat hold full of extraordinary creatures. "It's not quite the Everest of deep-sea discovery, but it's close," he says.

Australian museum curator Mark Norman, who went along for the ride, says, "There are animals we brought up known only from fossils and presumed extinct."

Some of the critters they caught are not only rare, they're incredibly ugly. These include the walking coffin fish, the wonky-eyed squid and the Pacific spookfish. "It's hard to make a living down there," Norman says. "Some animals are just a mouth and a soggy stomach." They found sea spiders almost 2 feet long, and he says, "They can't fit all their organs in the body. They have hollow legs full of guts and ovaries?"

"If you came from another planet and asked to see the most common habitat, you'd be shown the deep sea," says Norman. "Two thirds of the world is ocean. We are the weird ones in many ways."

We don't even know what's living here on our Earth?how can we know what's out in space?

To see photos of their finds, click here.

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