New Delhi: It's a great feeling when amidst news of animal species becoming endangered or extinct, one gets to hear about a new discovery.
It isn't everyday when one comes across a rare find at that. However, this latest one has the social media platforms in a tizzy due to its appearance.
The creature is a peanut worm, that was discovered by a team of scientists from Museums Victoria in Australia during their recent month-long expedition into the oceanic abyss off the Australian coast.
Although the team found a variety of underwater organisms – including a faceless fish, a sea pig, a zombie worm, and a flesh-eating crustacean – the peanut worm caught everyone's eye.
Why? The organism has an uncanny resemblance to the male reproductive organ. IBTimes UK, which first reported on the curious sea creature, shared a photo of the peanut worm from the expedition, quickly capturing the public’s attention. Check out the image below:
— IBTimes UK (@IBTimesUK) June 17, 2017
As per the report, the name “peanut worm” came from the fact that when threatened, these marine animals contract their long heads inwards into a shape like that of a peanut kernel.
Peanut worms or sipunculid worms are actually a group of bilaterally symmetrical, unsegmented worms that consists of between 144 to 320 different species. They can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Peanut worms live in shallow waters and can usually be found in discarded shells and burrows.
The team of researchers who went on the expedition first came into the lime light after they released a photo of a faceless fish, one of the most peculiar creatures they found in the abyss. It was also a particularly rare discovery.
— Newsweek INT. (@Newsweek_INT) June 17, 2017
“Australia’s deep sea environment is larger in size than the mainland, and until now, almost nothing was known about life on the abyssal plain,” Dr. Tim O’Hara, the expedition’s Chief Scientist and Museums Victoria’s Senior Curator of Marine Invertebrates, said.
“We’re really excited about the discoveries that we’ve made and are thrilled that we can now share them with the Australian and international public,” the Inquisitr reported.
Since most of the creatures found during the expedition are extremely rare, they will be sent to different laboratories across Australia in order to be examined, while some will be displayed in an exhibit at the Melbourne Museum soon.