Fisherman catches “head of medusa” basket star, not an alien

While Crabzilla remains the top hit on tabloids (and here), the media never miss an opportunity to find a weird creature and assume it’s alien.

VIDEO: Fisherman claims to have caught an alien | Weird | News | Daily Express.

WRIGGLING around, this mutant creature could be proof there is extraterrestrial life in the sea.

One astonished fisherman plucked this bizarre-looking creature out of the waters and is now convinced he has caught an alien.

The abnormal animal – which almost looks like a mutated octopus – is seen wriggling its mass amount of arms in this incredible video taken shortly after it was caught.

Fisherman Ong Han Boon, 54, had gone to his favourite fishing spot on the island of Sentosa, in southern Singapore, when he captured the eerie sight.

Basket star (Gorgonocephalus caputmedusae) was caught off the coast of Singapore and is causing another internet gawk-fest.

Basket star (Gorgonocephalus caputmedusae) was caught off the coast of Singapore and is causing another internet gawk-fest.

*facepalm* How insanely ignorant was this reporter! It’s a Basket Star. It’s not an alien. Apparently Googling is too hard for people.

Basket stars are of the echinoderm family. It’s related to starfish which radiate five arms from a central disk. In this case, each arm has tentacles armed with hooks that move about in the water (and out of the water). Yes, it’s freaky and weird. But it’s an EARTH-creature. We can delight in the wonder of our own planet and not have to resort to calling something otherworldly because we are clueless about the diversity of life on earth.

These animals eat zooplankton and have been known since 1758. By the way, the binomial name is excellent: Gorgonocephalus means “dreaded head” and ‘caputmedusae’ is the “head of Medusa”.

Thanks to the folks at the Group of Fort Facebook page for posting the story and digging into it.

It is a strange, sad day when the Daily Mail debunks a “strange animal” video.

~Blake Smith

“I’ve asked all my friends and none of them know and all my internet searches have not turned up anything that looks like this.”

You need a new internet.

~Huck Sterfoot

  13 comments for “Fisherman catches “head of medusa” basket star, not an alien

  1. busterggi
    October 15, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    Someday some ‘expert’ will present the media with a dead ‘bigfoot’ that looks like a roadkill squirrel – and the media will just pass it along unchallenged.

  2. Bill T.
    October 15, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    Well, the alternative is that activity termed “journalism”. That’s not likely.

  3. Bill T.
    October 15, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    Hm, I intended this as conversation with busterggi, dern. I’m actually aware of the “Reply” buttons.

  4. Kurt
    October 15, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    Years ago I worked at a marine specialty pet store and we sold a basket star. If those end up at an aquarium store for $40, more people should know what it is.

  5. Mike C.
    October 15, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    I’ve never seen or heard of that creature. Sure is creepy looking. It looks like something for a monster movie.

  6. October 15, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    Can I quote you? I want to use this in an essay. Brilliant and probably true.

  7. busterggi
    October 15, 2014 at 6:13 PM

    Absolutely! And its based on an incident back in the early 2000’s when I was collecting dead crows to be tested for West Nile – I went to get one and counldn’t find it so I asked a person at the address where it had been called in, I was directed to a dead squirrel & when I told them squirrels are not birds their response was, “What’s the difference?”

  8. busterggi
    October 15, 2014 at 6:14 PM

    see below please

  9. Asha
    October 15, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    It’s so cool! It’s that wonderful sort of creepy, the sort that makes one fight the urge to poke at it with a stick.

  10. October 15, 2014 at 9:29 PM
  11. Bill T.
    October 16, 2014 at 10:38 AM


  12. Asha
    October 16, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    Loved the piece at randidotorg. Thanks so much for what you do. I’ve been a silent fan of Doubtful News for a year or so, but recently I finally decided to start commenting. I’m really, really grateful for this wonderful resource that you, Torkel and all of the other guest writers make available to the public, and for free! I’m very happy to see your audience expand via articles on the JREF swiftblog.
    P.S. I can’t help but wax nostalgic every time you mention the Wildlife Treasury cards. I loved mine, in that fabulous bright green box with its oh-so-useful handle. I only wish I still had mine, but after being thoroughly loved and oft-read by me and then my two younger siblings, they were retired. Perhaps I’ll have to see about tracking a set down via eBay or the like. I loved the amazing world I found inside of that green box!

  13. October 16, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    That is exactly what I did – I bought a more complete set than I had at one time on ebay. And my “soul” felt relieved to have them again.

    Thank you for such kind words as well.

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