“It is able to paralyze prey at a distance of up to 150 feet by releasing its venom into the water from an organ similar to its ink sac,” explained Dr. Padlaka. “Tragically, my colleague and life-long friend Dr. Vindogradov was killed this way. He tread water wearing a blissful smile as the organism approached him. We watched helplessly as it used its arms to tear off his head, then popped his remains its mouth. It was as if it had hypnotized him telepathically.”
The 33-foot-long man-eater also boasts extraordinary camouflage that helped it stalk the researchers.
“Many species of octopus can alter their appearance, usually to avoid larger predators,” Dr. Padalka explained. “Sacs of colorful pigments called chromatophores allow them to change colors, and by contracting their muscles they can blend in with the smooth ocean floor or a craggy coral reef. The well-known mimic octopus can contort its boneless body to take on the shape of a sea snake or stingray.”
But the shape-shifting abilities of Organism 46-B sound almost diabolical.
“It shaped itself into the form of a human diver. We thought it was one my colleagues swimming toward us in scuba gear. By the time the closest scientist realized what it was, it had grabbed him and torn him to bits.”
If an arm of an ordinary octopus is cut off, the severed limb will crawl away – sometimes even seize prey and place it in the mouth of the octopus. Experts say that’s because each arm contains a cluster of neurons – essentially its own brain. The arms of Organism 46-B demonstrated a chilling knack for operating autonomously.
“After our sole female researcher chopped off one of the arms with an ax, the severed limb yanked the weapon out of her hands,” recalled the scientist. “That night the arm slithered onto the icy bank where we were sleeping and strangled her.”
The experts believe that not only does the octopus regenerate its limbs, the brainy severed tentacle may be able to form a new octopus.
Octopuses are extraordinarily intelligent, able to negotiate mazes, use tools and even build structures with Legos. The newly discovered entity is in a class by itself.
“From the way it adapted each time we changed our tactics, we became convinced it is at least as intelligent as an average human,” Dr. Padalka revealed. “If we were not all Ph.Ds, I fear it would have in the end outwitted us.”
Miraculously, the eggheads were able to capture the creature in a tank. After the five surviving scientists made their way to the surface, the program’s director ordered that the bore hole be immediately plugged. The geologists expected to be honored internationally for their amazing find. To their great disappointment, however, the Russian government claimed that the team had found no life in Lake Vostok – and denied that divers had even entered the water.
“There’s nothing much down there, I can assure you,” according to a statement by the chief of the Vostok Research Station, A. M. Yelagin. The director of the Russian Antarctic Expedition, Valery Lukin, admitted that the plug had been put in place but called the precaution “routine.”