I often fantasize about what aliens would look like. Would they be tentacled? Would they glow in the dark? Would they have green blood?
Lately, I've been watching a lot of documentaries about ocean creatures and I've had to remind myself a number of times that I am not, in fact, watching strange alien movies. The variety of life that exists in our oceans is astounding! And the fact that there are many more creatures out there living under the sea than we have documented really makes one appreciate just how many creative forms of life there are. It's fascinating. Our alien fantasies have actually been living all along, right here!
We've got the humpback whales that migrate over 5000 kilometres during each seasonal migration and sing to each other, the monstrous-looking (but in fact pretty tiny) angler fish of the deep sea, and the domino damsel, one of the many, many types of fish that live on the Great Barrier Reef. There's the blue whale which is nightmarishly huge, with a mouth big enough to swallow an elephant, and the predatory deep sea tunicate that looks and acts like the ocean floor's version of the venus fly trap.
But my favourite has to be the cuttlefish. It has green blood, three hearts and can change colour in an instant! The colour changes are usually to impress mates, drive off competitors, and to camouflage itself while hunting prey. Its eyes are one of the most developed in the animal kingdom. and though it's colour-blind, it can detect the polarization of light, making its depth perception phenomenal. The 'w' shape actually kinda reminds me of cylon raiders:
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One of the documentaries claimed that we've done more to explore space than we have our own oceans. While I'm a huge obsessive space exploration fan, it seems a bit of a pity that we don't know more about the other creatures that live here. I mean, for all we know, a creature like the cuttlefish could be planning world domination over phytoplankton tea and coral cigars!
A few interesting links:
Top 15 Most Bizarre Sea Creatures: http://www.monstrous.com/Monstrous_Lists/The_Top_15_Most_Bizarre_Sea_Animals.html
More bizarre sea creatures: http://www.squidoo.com/unusualseacreatures
Reef Relief: http://reefrelief.org/
Aquatic community: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com
Sea plants: http://underwaterseaplants.awardspace.com/
And of course, one of the most awesome songs ever: