Brain-like discovery washed up on beach leaves Aussies stumped

An expert says these animals are more closely related to humans than you may think.

Australian beaches are full of strange and curious creatures, and one woman's bizarre find is no exception.

The Aussie was walking along the beach in Lauderdale, Tasmania, when she came across four round, brain-like blobs washed up on the sand. Trying to find out what they could be, she quickly took to her local Facebook community to see if anyone could shed some light.

Images of brain-like blobs on sand, that are actually sea squirts.
The woman who found these bizarre blobs on the sand has taken to social media to find out what they are. Source: Facebook

Some thought they could be rocks, while others suggested they could be some sort of sea sponge or coral, but ecologist and fisheries biologist Dr Vincent Raoult told Yahoo News Australia that these are likely colonial tunicate, or ascidians.

"The terms are interchangeable, sea squirt is the common name," he said. "They can get washed up on beaches during storms".

He explained that despite their appearance, these are animals that are "more closely related to humans and fishes" than they are to plants or jellyfish.

Many completely stumped over blobs

Though a couple of keen-eyed Aussies were able to guess that these round shapes were sea squirts, most people were confused by what they saw.

"Rocks?" one person guessed, but the woman quickly replied that they couldn't be as they were "slightly soft to the touch".

"Some kind of sea sponge maybe?" another suggested.

"So that's where my brain went," a third said, poking fun at how brain-like the creatures looked.

Do you have a story about a peculiar beach find? Contact reporter Laura Koefoed at

What are sea squirts?

Common along Tasmania's coast, a tunicate, or ascidian, is also known as a sea squirt because they will shoot water out of their bodies if disturbed.

Like the ones pictured, these soft-bodied animals can be found in a colony, meaning many tiny sea squirts, called zooids, all live together in a jelly-like substance.

"[They're] filter feeders", Dr Raoult explained, meaning they suck in water from the ocean, take out the food and other bits, before releasing the filtered water back out.

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