Sunday, Aug 09
A mysterious 'alien like' creature horrified holidaymakers after it washed up on a beach on the Gower Peninsula in Wales.
The writhing mass of tentacles, which measured at least 6ft from end to end, was described by a zoology expert today as 'like something out of Doctor Who'.
Hundreds of people flocked to Oxwich Beach near Swansea to catch a glimpse of the monster.
But fears of a UFO invasion were put to rest as scientists revealed it was a seething mass of goose barnacles that was swept up from the depths of the ocean by bad weather.The barnacles - long writhing stalks or pendulates, tipped with shells - are normally found deep below the waves, but were washed up clinging to a log.
Professor Paul Brain, of Swansea University, said: 'One child screamed out that it resembled something from Dr Who and I would have to agree with her - it made very bizarre viewing.
'In fact they were probably the biggest specimens of free-floating goose barnacles I've seen.
'The log is about two metres long and as thick as a telegraph pole so I wouldn't be surprised if there were a couple of thousand barnacles on there.'
Holidaymaker Rebecca Porter said the log was like 'a large living sea monster'.
She said: 'The stalk on which the puffin-shaped head sat on was soft and rubbery and moved like a snake.
'They appeared to be attached to a piece of driftwood but it could hardly be seen as it was densely covered with these huge tentacles that opened and closed, thrusting out fronds like uncurling ferns.'
The tentacled creature relies on water motion for feeding - leading to it frequently being washed up on shore.
The barnacle extends its fan-like array of limbs to catch plankton, and attaches itself to surfaces by its stalk - leaving it unable to move from the point it is fixed.
There was also a second barnacle-covered log, measuring around 1ft in length, which washed up alongside the bigger one.
Professor Brain said: 'They tend to live in the oceans and can attach themselves to the bottom of ships.
'It's normally found in quite deep water but occasionally they can be found on debris that has become dislodged from the sea bed and has washed up on the shore.
'I would think the bad weather caused by the jet stream in the past month has probably dislodged these barnacle infested logs from their resting places, giving people a rare look at them for free on the beach.'
Professor Brain added: 'They're actually a delicacy in Spain although I haven't seen any Spanish people trying to chisel them off.
'Back in the old days, people thought barnacle geese hatched from them. A Welsh monk in the 12th century, Giraldus Cambrensis, even claimed to have seen geese hatching from them.'
In Portugal and Spain, the barnacles are a widely consumed and expensive delicacy known as percebes. They have a briny taste and are served steaming hot with their triangular shells still attached.
These weird creatures were found in
an abandoned foundation
pit in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, UK
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