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October 17, 2007

From India: The Grrrheart

by sven at 8:00 am

Reprinted with permission from Professor Ichbonnsen's Monster Month blog.

[click to enlarge]

The Grrrheart looks like a red jellyfish with four strong tentacle legs. The average specimen is approximately 2 feet tall, and has two eyes on stalks at the top of its body. The body appears to be composed of three overlapping "caps," from which lesser tentacles protrude. The entire animal is somewhat translucent.

The only known examples of this species were discovered in 2007 in a deep cavern in the Indian state of Meghalaya. They are apparently amphibious, being equally at home on land and in the water. It is hypothesized that they subsist on cave crickets and fish -- although evidence to support this idea has yet to be gathered.

Grrrhearts are profoundly malleable. They are able to travel quickly through cracks in the stone that are no more than an inch in width. It is unknown whether this is a prehistoric species that became trapped underground far in the past, or if it is more closely related to modern day jellyfish -- possibly even going back and forth between the caves and outside bodies of water. The fact that the animal is not blind lends some support to this second possibility.

The Grrrheart lives in large communities. When one animal is threatened, it lets out a warning cry -- which sounds much like the furious growling of a small dog. Dozens of Grrrhearts will rush to its aid.

Despite this fearsome first impression, however, the Grrrheart seems to have a generally non-aggressive, even playful nature. When gathered all together, great numbers of Grrrheart have been observed apparently "dancing" with each other, simply for the pleasure of it.

posted by sven | October 17, 2007 8:00 AM | categories: bestiary