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This Newly Discovered Sea Sponge is Named after Spielberg’s “E.T.”

In a world where we name things according to pop culture icons we’re usually waiting to hear what will be next. Will it be a snake named after Salazar Slytherin? How about a new monkey named after a character in Planet of the Apes? Well we have our answer for now because this newly discovered sea sponge will now be known as Advhena magnifica or “magnificent alien.”

Photo: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas
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“In the case of Advhena magnifica, the shape of this sponge is reminiscent of an alien, like in the movies, with what looks like a long thin neck, an elongated head, and huge eyes,” said Dr. Cristiana Castello Branco, who discovered the sponge. “While we haven’t ‘officially’ given it a common name in our paper, ‘E.T. sponge’ seems to fit.”

Though the sponge was spotted in 2017 during the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer in the Pacific, it’s just recent that a paper came out about it. “A collection of hexactinellids (Porifera) from the deep South Atlantic and North Pacific: new genus, new species and new records” which was published by Ocean Exploration and Research.

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The new species was found about 850 miles off the southwest of Hawaii and found in a place that underwater explores dubbed “Forest of the Weird.” The thought instantly that the new creature was alien like and likened it to Spielberg’s 1982 classic “E.T.”

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