The viper shark is a living fossil. The terrifying creature has survived, almost changed, for over eleven million years.
But it’s new to the people of Reddit. Subscribers to the "Nature is Metal" board were both delighted and terrified by photos of the black, predatory-looking monster with an extendible jar like the xenomorph in the Alien movies.
Viper sharks are found in the Pacific Ocean, where it uses its extendible jaw to impale smaller fish, killing them before swallowing them whole.
The creature, which can reach up to two feet in length, lives at depths of over a thousand feet.
Pacific Shark Research Centre program director Dr Dave Ebert told Earth Touch News that the viper shark was on his "wish-list of species to see".
"It sort of reminds me of a lantern shark that has undergone some kind of diabolical experiment!" He added. "It is definitely a bizarre-looking shark!"
Several Reddit users noted the deep sea predator’s resemblance to H R Geiger’s original designs for the deep-space menace from the Alien franchise.
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One said "Looks like Alien's baby," and another described the terrifying creature as their "new favourite oceans-dweller," saying it was a mixture of "fish, snake, and xenomorph".
Geiger may well have taken inspiration for his interstellar terror from creatures like the viper shark. The two creatures share a glossy black hide and a segmented jaw that looks like a "second mouth" extending out from inside its jaws.
His dark, spooky style developed from his childhood during World War Two and later life in the shadow of the Cold War.
Ridley Scott found Geiger’s art book Necronomicon when someone left on a desk at the offices of 20th Century Fox, just after he signed on to direct Alien.
He told science fiction magazine Starlog in 1979: "I took one look at it, and I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life.
"I was convinced I’d have to have him on the film," he said. And the spooky creature they created together is still terrifying people today.
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