Giant string-like creature composed of "millions of interconnected clones" found off the coast of Australia

I'm currently re-discovering Jeff Van Der Meer's Area X / Southern Reach Trilogy via Audible, because I thought a familiar Weird Sci-Fi story about an invisible lifeform that kind of ambiently inhabits the world around us, changing things in imperceptible ways until it's too late, would be a relaxing respite from the chaotic news of COVID-19.

That may have been a bad decision. I'm even more terrified now. Then I learned about this in Newsweek:

A team aboard the RV Falkor—the flagship research vessel of the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI)—spotted the organism, a type of siphonophore known as Apolemia, using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) in a deep-sea environment known as the Ningaloo Canyons.

[…]

Resembling a long piece of string, siphonophores—a group of creatures related to jellyfish and corals—may look like one organism, but they are actually made up of many thousands of individual, specialized clones that come together to form a single entity.

With the help of lasers mounted onto their ROV—known as SuBastian—the Falkor scientists estimated that this siphonophore's outer ring measured 49 feet in diameter, suggesting that this section alone is 154 foot in length, or about as tall as an 11-story building.

As I've now learned, these things are in fact "colonial organisms," rather than individual beings. Read the rest

Behind the scenes with Hollywood's creature making wizards

Immortal Masks make a lot of masks, prosthetics and horrific creatures we see in films that later end up haunting our dreams. This video shows exactly how they do it. Read the rest

Making of the creatures in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Enjoy this "creature featurette" with director Gareth Edwards and Creature Effects Supervisor Neal Scanlan introducing us to the strange characters in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

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Mysterious dead creature found near the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant

A woman in Sosnovy Bor, Russia found this mysterious, tiny, deteriorated creature on a river bank. She named it Kesha. Read the rest

Fantasy taxidermy

Submitterateur Whysteriastar spotted the latest works by Sarina Brewer of Custom Creature Taxidermy, a studio that Pesco first blogged about back in 2004.

Since then, Brewer's work has appeared in the New York Times, S.F. Chronicle, Maxim, Juxtapos and elsewhere. She told sfgate.com: "Sometimes I think of the carcass art as 3-D scream therapy, but I'm never freaked out by what I make. I'm not doing it for shock value or to intentionally gross people out. I know some will disagree, but I think what I make is beautiful, and that's why I make it." [Custom Creature Taxidermy via Environmental Graffiti] Read the rest