‘Norwegian Blobs’ sounds more like something one might find floating in a traditional Nordic seafood stew, but they’re actually scarier than that. Experienced divers swimming off the western coast of Norway have reported encountering mysterious one meter (3.3 feet) wide jelly-ish blobs that neither they nor the scientists they’ve shown the pictures to can identify. Eggs? Aliens? Something new to toss into the fiskesuppe when one tires of smalahove (boiled sheep’s head)?
“If we could only get a little tissue sample from one of the objects we have free help lined up to make a genetic analysis.”
It’s nearly always a bad sign when divers are afraid to bring up samples of the latest strange creature they’ve discovered, but scientists like Professor Gro I. van der Meeren from the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen are frustrated in their efforts to identify the blobs … and concerned because the giant balls of jelly are now being reported off the coasts of Sweden, Alaska and Turkey.
“Divers have seen more of them this summer than ever.”
The blobs – translucent except for a dark streak through their center — have been seen before but are extremely rare. Why are there so many this year? That’s just one of the questions a glob of blob on a microscope slide would answer, but ScienceNordic reports that Professor van der Meeren and her fellow researchers have no funds for dives. They’re asking any divers – amateur or professional – who sees one of these mysterious blobs to cut off a piece, put it in a plastic bag, freeze it and contact them for a pickup. ([email protected])
Yeah, right. Stick a knife in a large mysterious underwater creature that no one can identify? You first.
Without a sample, van der Meeren can simply speculate. One guess is that the blobs are egg sacs from the equally mysterious giant squid (Architeuthis) but she doubts that these deep sea creatures that live thousands of meters beneath the surface would come so close to the shore just to lay eggs. Plus, their egg sacs are much smaller than these blobs.
Could the blobs be egg sacks from an unknown cephalopod? That’s a possibility. An embryo from inside one of the blobs would be great, says Michael Vecchione, an invertebrate zoologist at the Smithsonian Institution.
“It could be an egg mass, or something completely different, but we just don’t know at this point until we get some more detailed observations.”
Something completely different? Like an alien? No one is saying it is, but no one is saying it isn’t. Just something to think about as you hold your plastic bag in one hand, your Norwegian army knife in the other and face a mysterious giant blob that may be an egg guarded by its really big mama.