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!

Heroes
Facebook / Mikhail Galin

Putting your pet in cargo during a flight isn't always safe. In 2016, the Department of Transportation reported a total of 26 pet deaths and 22 injuries on flights. Because conditions in cargo can be uncomfortable for animals, the Humane Society recommends taking your pet aboard when you fly, or just leaving it at home.

It's not surprising that one Russian man didn't want to put his overweight cat in cargo during an eight-hour flight from Moscow to Vladivostok. What is surprising is the great lengths he took to fly with his four-legged friend.

Russian airline Aeroflot allows pets to fly inside the plane's cabin, as long as the cat weighs under 17.6 pounds and stays in its carrier during the flight. When Mikhail Galin went to check in, he was told he couldn't fly with his four-year old cat, Viktor. Viktor weighed in at 22 pounds and would have to be relegated to cargo.

But Viktor was sick from their earlier flight from Riga, Latvia to Moscow. And besides, Viktor had been allowed to fly inside the cabin during that flight. The airline staff didn't even bother to make Viktor sit on the scales. Galin was unable to persuade staff to bring his fur baby on board.

"To all attempts to explain that the cat won't survive there on an 8-hour flight with the baggage and would haunt her in her nightmares for the rest of her life, she (the Aeroflot staff member) replied that there are rules," Galin wrote in a Facebook post translated from Russian.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelvin Octa from Pexels

Newborn babies don't seem to do much beyond eating and pooping and, of course, hiccupping. A lot. Parenting advice on how to cure a baby's hiccups runs the whole gamut. It's recommended parents try everything from nursing to stop feeding the baby so much, from giving the baby gripe water to letting the hiccups play their course. But when your baby hiccups too much, you shouldn't freak out. There's a good reason why.

A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that hiccups play an important role in a baby's development. Researchers from the University College London found 217 babies for their study, but only looked at 13 newborns with persistent hiccups. Ten of those babies hiccupped when they were awake, and three hiccupped during their "wriggly" sleep. We have no idea how the scientists got any work done with all that cuteness lying around.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / YouTube

Actress Kristen Bell and "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon showed off their vocal and comedic chops on Tuesday night when the performed a medley of 17 Disney songs, spanning nine decades, in just five minutes.

The duo started with 1940's "When You Wish Upon a Star" and ended with 2013's "Let it Go" from "Frozen."

Bell will reprise her role as Anna in Disney's upcoming "Frozen 2."

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Ask almost any woman about a time a man said or did something sexually inappropriate to them, and she'll have a story or four to tell. According to a survey NPR published last year, 81% of women report having experienced sexual harassment, with verbal harassment being the most common. (By contrast, 43% of men report being sexually harassed. Naturally harassment toward anyone of any sex or gender is not okay, but women have been putting up with this ish unchecked for centuries.)

One form of verbal sexual harassment is the all too common sexist or sexual "joke." Ha ha ha, I'm going to say something explicit or demeaning about you and then we can all laugh about how hilarious it is. And I'll probably get away with it because you'll be too embarrassed to say anything, and if you do you'll be accused of being overly sensitive. Ha! Won't that be a hoot?

Keep Reading Show less
popular