The humble sea potato. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Hans Hillewaert
Odd baseball-like objects found washed up on British beaches have turned out to be a type of sea urchin.
Beachgoers had been left perplexed this week after hundreds of strange spherical objects started washing up along the shoreline. Resembling bloated baseballs, the exact nature and origins of these peculiar orbs generated much speculation both in the news and on social media.
"There were hundreds of them stretching away as far as you could see along the shoreline," said holidaymaker Jess Arnieson. "The ones I saw were a bit smaller than a football but it’s possible there were some that were bigger... I didn’t want to go any further along the beach."
Now at last however scientists have finally been able to shed some light on the mystery by revealing that these anomalous objects are in fact a type of sea urchin known as a sea potato.
While it is unusual for so many of them to turn up on the beaches at once it is not unheard of - something similar occurred back in 1995 and it has happened several other times as well.
"They are quite common at the lower end of the right type of sandy beach, living below the sand in burrows," said marine expert Martin Attrill. "You get lots of them on Torbay main beach, for example. They are related to starfish and usually covered with little spines."
Source: The Guardian | Comments (2)
Sea Potatoes, Urchin