American scientists have found a mysterious dome-shaped specimen on the seabed in Alaska, but no one knows exactly what it is.
Ocean researchers using a remote-controlled survey vehicle were stunned last week when they spotted the strange item on a rock about 3,300 meters under the sea in the Gulf of Alaska.
It is more than 10 cm in diameter and has a small tear near the base.
“When the cameras focused on it, scientists were dumbfounded. The initial ideas ranged from a dead sponge attachment, to coral or an eggshell,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in a statement.
“It reminds one of something from a fairy tale. The specimen has since been dubbed a ‘golden sphere’ or even a ‘golden egg’,” the agency added.
“Isn’t the deep sea absolutely wonderfully strange?” asked Sam Candio, coordinator at NOAA.
Numerous theories are shared on social media, including that it could possibly be the egg of an alien.
However, scientists have since removed the August 30 discovery from the ocean floor to examine it in a laboratory.
“We were able to collect the golden sphere and bring it to the ship, but have not yet been able to confirm anything other than that it is definitely biological,” NOAA added.
It is not yet clear whether the golden sphere can be connected to a known species, a new species or the unknown life phase of an existing species.
“It is humbling to be intoxicated by this find. It reminds us how little we know about our own planet and how much there is still to learn about our ocean,” said Candio.
The find was made during an expedition in the Gulf of Alaska to explore deep-water habitat.