Ear: E.T.

A tidbit for marine biology fans: Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Exploration and Research announced that a new type of glass sponge has been found by a deep sea team, growing on a section of the Pacific seafloor that dates back 145 million years, FreeTheOcean.com reports (bit.ly/ETsponge).

Thriving in the "Forest of the Weird" at a depth of 7,800 feet, the sponge has a body with two luminescent "eyes" growing on a long, thin stalk. These marine animals usually attach themselves to hard surfaces and dine on bacteria and plankton. Some are pictured, courtesy of NOAA Office of Exploration and Research.

Its official name is Advhena magnifica (magnificent alien), but because of its obvious resemblance to the little alien in Steven Spielberg's movie, the nickname "E.T. sponge" has stuck.

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.

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