Ocean enthusiasts just discovered a two-headed sea creature, and it's mesmerizing.

In today's installment of fascinating marine biology news, something unusual has been discovered in the ocean. And it has two heads.


All images by Borneo from Below, used with permission.

It's called a nudibranch. More specifically, it's a two-headed nudibranch.

Borneo from Below is a cool weekly series about the beautiful marine life of Borneo, and they shared this unusual discovery with us.

What even is a nudibranch?! Basically, it's a sea slug.

We'll get back to the two-headed nudibranch in a minute. First, let's talk about the more common version of this creature — the one with a single head.National Geographic describes nudibranchs as follows:

"[T]hese shell-less mollusks, part of the sea slug family, bear some of the most fascinating shapes, sumptuous hues, and intricate patterns of any animal on Earth.

There are more than 3,000 known species of nudibranch, and new ones are being identified almost daily. They are found throughout the world's oceans, but are most abundant in shallow, tropical waters."

They're quite colorful.

They're like living pieces of artwork, really.

So mesmerizing.


They're pretty, right? But let's get back to the one with two heads.

Scientists have known about the many single-headed nudibranchs for a long time, but this two-headed nudibranch is a new discovery, found in August 2015.


Clay Bryce, a marine biologist of Western Australian Museum in Perth, is a nudibranch expert. He's spent over 10,000 hours underwater "chasing nudibranchs," and he says he'd never seen one before this.

"Usually this sort of deformity sets the animal up for an early death, but it does appear to be adult or at least subadult," Bryce told Borneo from Below. "So perhaps this is a case of two heads being better than one!"

Soooo, how'd the two heads happen? Bryce said it's basically a birth defect. It could be "just a slight mix-up in the genes or perhaps damage caused by pollution," although he would expect to see more of them if it was a result of pollution.

For now, we'll have to take it for what it is: an anomaly in nature, kind of like the occasional two-headed snake ... but less freaky and much prettier.

We should care about all ocean life given how important the ocean is to our survival. (Our oceans produce over half of the oxygen in our atmosphere!) But the ocean is also a fascinating mystery we're still learning more about every day. Learning what lurks beneath the waves is one way we can feel more connected to our oceans and our planet and our two-headed Nembrotha kubaryana friends.

You can watch the full video and see the discovery for yourself!

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less