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At First, They Thought It Was an Old Tire. When These Scientists Got Closer, They Couldn’t Believe Their Eyes.

When deep sea explorers see something they can’t believe, you know it’s a big deal.

Researchers with the Nautilus Live expedition — a live-streamed deep sea exploratory mission — nearly passed right over a rare specimen floating along the sea floor.

The creature was later identified as a siphonophore: a superorganism that’s made up of a colony of smaller animals called zooids. You may remember the Portuguese Man-o-War, which is perhaps the most well-known type of siphonophore. Like jellyfish, these aquatic predators use their tentacles to capture prey. Of the 175 known species, some reach lengths of up to 40 meters.

Watch the rare footage here:

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