The shiny gold object is over ten centimeters in diameter and has a small crack at the base. Marine researchers using a remotely operated survey vehicle discovered it last week at a depth of 3,300 meters on a rock in the Gulf of Alaska.
“As the cameras zoomed in, scientists wondered whether it might be a dead sponge, a coral, or the shell of an egg,” said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The find has since been referred to as the “golden ball” or “golden egg,” the authority said.
While online services speculated whether it could be an egg from aliens, scientists recovered the object from the ocean floor to examine it in the laboratory.
“While we were able to recover the ‘golden ball’ and bring it onto the ship, we are still unable to identify it,” NOAA said. It is unclear whether it belongs to a known species, represents a new species or is an unknown life stage of an existing species, NOAA coordinator Sam Candio said. The only thing that is certain is that the find is of “biological origin”.
The discovery shows “how little we know about our own planet and how much we still have to learn about our ocean (…),” he added.
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