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A marine creature that resembles the alien E.T. has been found growing in a prehistoric area of eastern Pacific seafloor rock.
The "E.T. sponge" has been classified as a new species and genus, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday as it announced the discovery.
Scientists call this class of sponges "glass sponges" (class Hexactinellida) because their skeletons are made of silica (glass). Their bodies contain tissues that consist of many nuclei within a single membrane, and these tissues help conduct electrical signals across the sponge making them able to respond quickly to external stimuli.
"Rising high on a stalk, this sponge had a body with two large holes oddly reminiscent of the large eyes of the alien from the beloved movie, 'E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,'" NOAA officials said in a release.
"The shape of this sponge is reminiscent of an alien, like in the movies, with what looks like a long thin neck, an elongated head and huge eyes. Advhena is from the Latin advena, which means alien. ... While we haven't 'officially' given it a common name in our paper, 'E.T. sponge' seems to fit."
The creature was found in "an extraordinary seascape" 7,875 feet down, where strange looking creatures appeared to be growing from the rocky seafloor, NOAA says.