‘Cthulhu’ fossil from 430 million years ago is found in the deep

Rob Waugh
Horror from the deep (Getty)

Not content with taking a photo of an actual black hole, scientists have also unearthed the fictional monster Cthulhu in the depths.

Or at least they’ve found a 430 million-year-old sea cucumber with a startling resemblance to the tentacled horror from the stories of author HP Lovecraft.

But rest easy, as Sollasina Cthulhu isn’t about to rise from the depths and destroy human civilisation – as it’s just three centimetres wide.

The fossil was found in Herefordshire: Sollasina cthulhu was studied using a method that involved grinding it away, layer-by-layer, with a photograph taken at each stage.

This produced hundreds of slice images, which were digitally reconstructed as a ‘virtual fossil’.

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Dr Imran Rahman, Deputy Head of Research at Oxford University Museum of Natural History said: “Sollasina belongs to an extinct group called the ophiocistioids, and this new material provides the first information on the group’s internal structures.

‘This includes an inner ring-like form that has never been described in the group before. We interpret this as the first evidence of the soft parts of the water vascular system in ophiocistioids.”

The new fossil was incorporated into a computerized analysis of the evolutionary relationships of fossil sea cucumbers and sea urchins.

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