The mystery of the Eltanin antenna has finally been solved: it’s a sea sponge called Cladorhiza.

The “antenna” got its name from the USNS Eltanin, an ice breaking cargo ship launched by the U.S. Navy in 1957. On August, 29, 1964, while photographing the deep sea bottom West of Cape Horn, it took the famous Eltanin antenna photo, which has puzzled people for over 40 years.

The Cladorhiza is a dramatically-shaped sponge which resembles a microwave antenna. They’ve been described as “sponges with a long stem ending in ramifying roots, sunk deeply into the mud. The stem has nodes with four to six club-like appendages.”

They grow like bushes on the ocean floor. The Eltanin photograph shows only a single specimen, making it look like a man-made object.

There are mysteries hidden underground that could tell us a lot about the way the world really is.

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