Time to phone home: ‘E.T. Sponge’ listed among top 10 new marine species

Published April 7, 2021, 12:00 PM

by Patricia Bianca Taculao

To date, approximately five percent of the world’s oceans have been explored, leaving 95 percent more to be discovered. But despite this small portion, scientists have already made remarkable discoveries, particularly in the species that inhabit the seas.

One notable discovery is the “E.T. sponge.” It was first encountered in 2016 and 2017 when scientists embarked on expeditions in the Pacific led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. A close analysis of a sample of the sponge revealed that it’s of a new genus and species.

Last year, to honor its resemblance to the beloved space alien from the 1982 Steven Spielberg movie “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” scientists named the sponge Advhena magnifica which is Latin for “magnificent alien.”

The sponge will soon join other new marine species such as the branch-armed nostril copepod, feisty Elvis worm, and the tree-of-life tardigrade in the top 10 remarkable new marine species of 2020 according to the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS).

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