Briony Westinghouse reporting from the field with Part One of my investigative series, "Earth Things Which Could Be Aliens."
I am in the middle of a global search to uncover the weird and the wild.
Early on the trail, I met a fascinating young man. Identified only by the discrete moniker "Bugeyes," he was thrilled to contribute to my investigation. Matter of fact, he was conducting research for his own inquiry into similar subjects.
"Aliens are everywhere, not just in space," exclaimed Bugeyes, an extraterrestrial expert. He's determined to prove that there is a secret organization he calls the Men in Black Suits. Bugeyes believes these "Suits" protect and police aliens living on Earth. Best yet, he says the aliens are hiding in plain sight!
To illustrate his point, Bugeyes introduced me to the Blobfish, who I've chosen as my first of "9 Animals Who Could Be Aliens."
Beyond Blobfish, the sea just gets more extraordinary.
There's no doubt where Hollywood gets its inspiration. Many deep-sea creatures look exactly like the aliens from the sci-fi flicks.
Is Bugeyes on to something? Is the Earth hiding extraterrestrials in plain sight?
Here are a few of my favorite creatures from the deep that have piqued my curiosity: animal or alien?
Which do you think look most like an extraterrestrial?
This gelatinous mass lives off the Australian coast in the Indian Ocean. What's so extraterrestrial about this deep-sea dweller? It's all face! As if it was trying to camouflage itself as a human, but stopped at the head part. Blobfish is also almost all fat and terribly ugly.
This thing is truly a monster. Its body is covered with long strands that function like human tongues tasting the water around it for prey. When a male Fanfan finds a female, he bites her and latches on as a parasite. Their skin then fuses to share bloodstreams.
The coffinfish, like many animals on this list, lives on the sea floor. Unlike every other fish, it doesn't swim. Instead, coffinfish walk.
The sea pig is best described as a giant slug with human fingers coming out of its mouth. Found off the coast of Antarctica, the sea pig lives below the ocean floor in what is called the abyssal plain and its diet consists mainly of mud. For many reasons, there's not much info on this animal.
Two things: it can turn itself inside-out and illuminate its whole body on command like a light switch.
The Frilled Shark is what scientists call a "living fossil" or extant, because all other species that resemble it are extinct. They can even trace the Frilled Shark species back to the Jurassic period.
Most bizarre about this fish is this long antenna-like "barbel" that extends from its chin and lights up. Scientists think it helps the fish attract prey.
Pingpong Tree Sponge
The Pingpong Tree Sponge lives a few miles below sea level and can be found off the coast of California. It most closely resembles a modern light fixture and is a carnivore, subsisting off a steady diet of shrimp.
Not only do the axolotl look out-of-this-world with an extensive external gill system, but they act the part, too. If attacked or injured, axolotl regenerate lost body parts in just a few months. Evidence found even proves the axolotl can regenerate vital organs, including parts of its brain.
Follow BugEyes on his investigation at www.facebook.com/themeninblacksuitsarereal