Beachgoers in California were treated to a rare surprise on the morning of November 29th when they came across a vast horde of bizarre sea creatures washed up onto the sand. Many residents quickly posted pictures to the Huntington Beach Community Facebook group, and speculation began swirling. “Baby Tremors monsters?” one user guessed, while another claimed “They are alien eggs. They are going to hatch and take over the world.” While that would certainly be a fitting end to this year of bad news, the explanation is likely more terrestrial in origin.
The odd creatures were spotted in one specific area near Huntington City and Huntington State Beach, slithering along the shoreline and even burrowing into the sand. Huntington Marine Safety Lieutenant Claude Panis told the Orange County Register that the slimy creatures are unlike anything he’s seen in his 38 years on the lifeguard service:
I’ve never seen anything like that before, it looks odd. There’s all kinds of weird things happening. It’s just strange.
So far, the leading explanation is that the creatures are pelagic tunicates, or salps. Matt Bracken, a UC Irvine biologist, believes the strange jelly creatures could be a rare bloom of the gelatinous plankton-eating animals:
These marine invertebrates look sort of like jellyfish, but they are actually more closely related to vertebrates (e.g., humans) than to other invertebrates. They occasionally bloom off the California coast.”
Other odd happenings at Huntington Beach include an influx of marine creatures not typically seen close to the shore, such as stingrays. So far, the most likely explanation is that an unusually lengthy El Niño has created odd water temperature fluctuations that have been throwing off sea animals’ migratory patterns. However, given the odd mix of UFO sightings and other slime discoveries worldwide, it could be that Earth is indeed under invasion. But no, let’s go with El Niño. It’s always El Niño.