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Uncovering the Mysteries of the Lake in Oklahoma

Residents of Oklahoma found a mysterious hard sac-like ‘egg’ hanging from the tree roots at the lake, but scientists are now calming the locals, who immediately jumped to conclusions of alien proportions, by explaining that it’s an ancient creature

These creatures have found the right space and environment, so its likely they'll be around a lot this summer

These creatures have found the right space and environment, so its likely they’ll be around a lot this summer.

Locals in Oklahoma discovered large, jelly-like sacs with a hard exterior hanging from tree roots; they immediately thought the answer was extraterrestrial. Or at least not good news.

But scientists, reassuring the public, have said that the locals in the area got a rare treat – the glimpse of the reproductive system of an ancient animal that’s been around since before the dinosaurs.

Immediately, locals put it up online, and spectators began commenting on the extraterrestrial-looking eggs. But scientists say that the creatures were simple bryozoans. They’ve been around for hundreds of millions of years, before the first dinosaurs roamed the planet. The animals may actually be good news for the lake.

a egg sac looking creature

These bizarre creatures are actually hundreds of tiny bryozoans.

egg sac looking creature

Officials reassured the public that the animals are absolutely supposed to be there

Bryozoans clone themselves into large masses to filter tiny particles out of the water for food, cleaning up the lake. The critters normally reside in ponds and lakes. This time, it was found in McGee Creek Reservoir, located on the southwest edge of the Ouachita Mountain Range.

Bryozoan clumps aren’t an egg or just one animal at all. They form this hard shell as they are hundreds of creatures banded together. The pods, known as zooids, are each a fraction of a millimeter long. They lack any respiratory or circulatory systems, but their central nerve ganglion allows the animal to respond to stimuli.

floating pod-like creatures below the surface of the water

These pods are hanging from tree roots, and actually help clean the lake

The tiny invertebrates possess both male and female reproductive organs, allowing them to self-clone and spread through clumps of cells on the organism known as statoblasts.

Each statoblast can reproduce asexually. They do this by breaking off from a colony, allowing the animal to reproduce rapidly if the space and the weather are suitable. The animals eat phytoplankton and bacteria lurking in water.

Fossil records suggest they may have evolved from an ancient marine worm. Their grandparents, ancient bryozoans, date back as far as 470 million years. For perspective, dinosaurs came around 245 million years ago.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) shared the photos on social media. “What is that??? If you’re out boating somewhere like McGee Creek Reservoir you may notice these strange jelly-like balls hanging from submerged tree limbs,” begins the post.

“These are Bryozoans, and they’ll likely show up in large numbers this summer. Don’t be alarmed these microorganisms are native and are of no danger to you or wildlife. In fact, they are an indicator of good environmental quality and clear water!”

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