What The Heck Is This Weird Purple Blob Found Off The Coast Of California?


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

The purple blob. What the hell is this thing? EVNautilus via YouTube

Researchers have just discovered a strange, glowing purple sphere at the bottom of the ocean, no bigger than the body of a crab. At present, it’s completely unknown as to what it may be. Although it certainly looks biological, it’s difficult to tell whether it’s an entirely new type of lifeform, or whether it’s some sort of secretion.

The discovery was made by the crew on the scientific research vessel E/V Nautilus, which is operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET). Using the ship's remotely operated underwater vehicle, the team found the enigmatic blob while exploring the seafloor off the coast of Southern California. They’ve since sucked it up and are now beginning a painstaking analysis on it that could take several years, according to the video.


Some may note that this is how the movie Alien begins, when a lone egg sac is being probed by a team of intrepid explorers. Hopefully, this purple object won’t also explode open, unleash an alien creature, and leap onto the face of one of the crew members of the E/V Nautilus.

A note on the YouTube video released by Nautilus suggests that it could be a nudibranch, a group of soft-bodied marine mollusks that remove their shells after advancing past their larval stage. There are 2,300 species of nudibranch already known to science, but few of them look like this blob. Perhaps this new find is one that is incredibly young and barely formed. It could even be an egg sac.

The purple blob in all its glory. EVNautilus via YouTube

The OET previously found a super-salty “deadpool” at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, which kills almost all life that dares to enter it. After investigating the so-called “Jacuzzi of Despair”, researchers found microbial life lining the rim of it. Organisms that not only survive, but thrive in extreme environments are known as “extremophiles,” and this was the first time they had been found within a brine pool.


As for this purple blob, it’s currently anyone’s guess as to how extreme – or not – it may be, if it even is a lifeform.

[H/T: Gizmodo]


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