Thousands of mysterious life forms washed up on a beach in California earlier this week. Cue fears among local residents of an alien invasion.
Well, sort of.
As the number of beached, squishy burrowers shot up, Huntington locals turned to Facebook in a not entirely serious attempt at identification.
One described them as “definitely baby tremor monsters”. Another said they were “aliens sent here to sick [sic] our brains out”.
But our favourite response was from a marine safety expert who’s worked in the local lifeguard department for 38 years.
In a perfectly deadpan comment to the OC register, Lt. Claude Panis said: “They are alien eggs. They are going to hatch and take over the world.”
Matt Bracken, an associate professor at the University of California, told the paper that some residents had already made a correct identification.
He said they are most likely “pelagic tunicates”, normally known as salps: “These marine invertebrates look sort of like jellyfish, but they are actually more closely related to vertebrates (e.g., humans) than to other invertebrates.
“They occasionally bloom off the California coast.”
It’s believed that the dwindling El Nino could be to blame for their journey to shore.