A mysterious golden orb has been found at the bottom of the ocean on the Alaskan Coast, baffling researchers. The object was “tightly adhered” to a rock dotted with white sponges and measured around 4 inches. It had a hole in its side.
The smooth object with an intriguing hole at the centre was found at a depth of about two miles by a remote-controlled submarine explorer.
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) in the US, which made the discovery, suggest it could be a hatched egg or a marine sponge, according to The Guardian
Researchers are conducting tests and a DNA analysis to work out what the shiny object – which feels like “skin tissue” according to Noaa – is.
A remotely operated arm was deployed to “tickle” the egg, which was found to have a delicate “skin-like” texture. It was then gently “suctioned” up a tube for testing in a lab. The dive is part of the Seascape Alaska 5 expedition, which will continue until 15 September and can be followed on a livestream.
Scientists aren’t sure what they have found.
“It’s not entirely clear what the mysterious orb might be. Initial suggestions from the researchers conducting the livestream of the dive included an egg casing from a mystery species, a dead sponge, or a coral,” reported Science Alert.
“Using a robotic arm, the researchers gently nudged the object, determining that it was quite soft, before collecting it via suction for further study. DNA analysis will be conducted to pin down the organism responsible for its creation.
The fact the ‘egg’ was on its own is almost as intriguing as its size. Typically, oviparous animals lay eggs in clutches.
So if the object is an egg, there’s something unusual about it. Which is quite marvelous, really: whatever it is, the orb has something new to tell us about the deep ocean, and the diverse life that thrives therein.
There’s a lot that happens in the inhospitable ocean depths that we don’t yet understand. Crushing pressures and freezing temperatures are just two factors that have kept humanity from exploring widely. However, with remotely operated vehicles acting as a proxy, the ocean is gradually revealing its secrets. Including how mysterious deep ocean species procreate.”
Sam Candio, coordinator for the ongoing Seascape Alaska 5: Gulf of Alaska Remotely Operated Vehicle Exploration and Mapping expedition during which the orb was found, said, “While we were able to collect the ‘golden orb’ and bring it onto the ship, we still are not able to identify it beyond the fact that it is biological in origin.”
‘We likely won’t learn more until we are able to get it into a laboratory setting where we can continue to pull from the collective expertise of the scientific community with more sophisticated tools than we are able to maintain on the ship,” he told Fox News. “While somewhat humbling to be stumped by this finding, it serves as a reminder of how little we know about our own planet and how much is left to learn and appreciate about our ocean.’
The NOAA said it was ‘still unclear if the golden dome is associated with a known species, a new species, or perhaps represents an unknown life stage of an existing one.'”
There’s still more work to do.
The expedition is continuing through Sept. 16, with live-streamed dives happening daily between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET.