Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Creature Feature

You can't see the words "headless chicken monster" in your daily news feed and just scroll past it. Not if you've got a taste for the strange and unusual. Or chicken.

So let me start by giving credit to whatever (probably underpaid) scribe came up with that catchy descriptor for this deep-sea creature that was recently captured on video east of Antarctica. If the goal was to get people to click--and learn a little bit about marine biology in the bargain--it undoubtedly got the job done. At least it worked on me.

Unfortunately, as is so often the case in these matters, reality doesn't quite live up to the hype. The headless chicken monster--can't you just see those words splashed across a 1950s-era monster movie poster? Someone with Photoshop skillz needs to get on that--is a variant of the sea cucumber. Enypniastes eximia, to be exact.

Sea cucumbers in general aren't exactly Nature's cuddliest critters. Aside from resembling fat worms or short snakes, occasionally adorned with spiky protuberances that can cause them to look like Satan's own sex toys, they also possess what Wikipedia tastefully refers to as "often spectacular defense systems." For the most graphic demonstration of this, just Google "sea cucumber" and "Jackass." I'll wait right here.

So yeah, they definitely put the "cum" in "cucumber." And if that weren't bad enough, that stuff is ejected from their anus. Taken together, these two facts make a strong case for the natural world having a sense of humor more or less comparable to that of a 14-year-old boy. Or your average Jackass star.

Oh, and did I mention sea cucumbers are used as food and medicine in certain parts of the world? China and Japan, I'm looking at you. With what the cool kids call "stank face."

They--experts on these things, in this case--say we know more about outer space than the depths of the ocean, and the headless chicken monster seems to be proof of that. 

There's no telling if anyone will be jacking it off any time soon, or there's any future for it as either an edible or medicinal product. But watching it swim and wobble around in the video above, it certainly does seem to have a promising career as a star in my nightmares. 

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