Marine biologists from the University of Copenhagen have discovered two new species that “defy all existing classifications of life”. They are rather cute and pretty — like some monsters from a Mario Bros. game.
Found in the sea southeast of Australia, the research paper published in PLOS ONE describes two asymmetrical mushroom shaped beings found at a depth of 400 to 1000 meters:
A new genus, Dendrogramma, with two new species of multicellular, non-bilaterian, mesogleal animals with some bilateral aspects, D. enigmatica and D. discoides, are described from the south-east Australian bathyal (400 and 1000 metres depth). A new family, Dendrogrammatidae, is established for Dendrogramma.
The enigmatic beings have scientists puzzled because they don’t fit in the current classification of life. The paper’s abstract says that their relation to other species is a “question still under debate,” so they have left their classification as incertae sedis. The scientists who made the discovery say that new specimens should be recover to make molecular analysis to find the relation with other existing species — if any.
The other question still under debate is this: Can I eat them, perhaps deep fried with a light batter?