Mysterious sea creatures

The coring team has caught something! Not intentionally, but something got trapped in their sediment core, and carried from the sea floor to our ship. Even more exciting: the camera attached to their coring device captured the last living seconds of the thing! Here they are:

Images taken by the Oden coring team

Images taken by the Oden coring team

Now, as there is no marine biologist on board with us, we gave up identifying the creature and instead sent emails to people outside of the ship. Based on the highly scientific description they received (i.e. “huge with a squishy, feathery top”), they concluded it was a cnidarian, so some kind of sea worm. And apparently cnidarians are quite common in this part of the world. Thinking it might be of interest to someone when we come back on land, the coring team has put a bit of our cnidarian in alcohol, where it looks fairly sad now:

See the feathery head at the bottom of the jar

See the feathery head at the bottom of the jar

But here, the mystery thickens. Because when I went down to their lab to ask if I could take a picture of the creature, I was first shown that:

For a sense of scale, its length is about 3 cm

For a sense of scale, its length is about 3 cm

And the funny thing is that most people on board did not know that there was a second creature. That also means that no one here has any clue of what that thing is. We’ve given it various nicknames, ranging from “sea rat” to “the hairy grape”, but please tell us in the comments if you know what that is!

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