Cthulhu Found In The Depths – UPDATED!

In the Proceedings of the Royal Academy B tomorrow (later today for those a few hours ahead of me) there will be an article announcing the description and naming of a new critter, Sollasina cthulhu. Related to the sea cucumber, Sollasina is definitely ancient at ~430my old, squarely in the middle of the Silurian. As a benthic scavenger and/or grazer, it was also definitely lurking in the deeps, though perhaps no more than a couple hundred meters at most. NewAtlas has a popular article up right now, including this artist’s reconstruction created by Elissa Martin at the Peabody Museum, Yale:

Elissa Martin’s artistic reconstruction of Sollasina cthulhu. Credit: Peabody Museum, Yale


Expect public access to the Proceedings B paper to go live within the next few hours. For now, you’ll just have to make do with that link to Proceedings B’s recent articles and hope it shows up. There is currently no word on the sanity of the paleontologists who originally uncovered the specimen or the preparators who spent countless hours staring into its tentacle-dominated face.



UPDATE: The paper is out!

The title is exactly what you’d expect from someone driven mad by the thing:

A new ophiocistioid with soft-tissue preservation from the Silurian Herefordshire Lagerstätte, and the evolution of the holothurian body plan

Dig in!



  1. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin claims she recognises that critter, it’s what she calls a Cheeselactite. One of the wild cheese eaters of the time.

    Apparently they had a novel strategy for capturing wild cheeses. They would passively wait in a posture much like the artist has shown, and when a tasty cheese passed nearby, jump onto it and cling tight. The novel bit is they’d then start vibrating at various frequencies until they “hit” the cheese’s resonant frequency, which they would then maintain until the cheese mechanically disintegrated. They’d then run around vacuuming-up all the bits and chunks of cheese, served with a nice vin.

    She claims they went extinct because they would often hit their own resonant frequency, especially if they had a bit too much vin with the previous cheese…

    They apparently had no real taste of their own, tending to taste strongly of the last cheese-and-vin meal they had.

    The resemblance to the creature inside a Dalek is coincidental. Cheeselactites were apparently quite harmless, except to cheeses et vins. Also, they didn’t shout “Cheesexterminate! Cheesexterminate!”, except during the Blued & Oranged Festival & Dance of Cheeses & Grogs, or in response to any attempts to build a Hyperspacial Bypass.

    The name comes from their need to hang on tight to the cheese as one or the other is vibrated to fragments. Apparently they were discovered by spelunkers who noted a resemblance to Stalactites.

  2. blf says

    Truly an unspeakable horror of unimaginable size.

    It now has a name, Powehi … ‘the adorned fathomless dark creation’.

    (The mildly deranged penguin whispers in my ear — well, shouts at FULL VOLUME, actually, which is about as close to whispering as she bothers to imagine — that Powehi is the recently-imaged black hole. Cheeselactite names apparently tended to be of the form “Whee!” and “Burp!!” and “Help help the vibratBOOM!“)

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