This is a video of the Raleigh sewer monster. They’ve been finding these clumps of biomatter all over the sewer system in that city, but this is the first video footage of them.

I want to point something out before we go any further – this could be a complete sack of shit. A very well done viral campaign, probably. Malphrus is the company that took the video, and according to their website, they handle large constructions projects, especially those with water. But, something doesn’t sit right with me about the name “Malphrus”.  What sort of business would have a prefix that means bad or evil? I did some digging and malphrus could be a made up word that means “bad eye” or “evil eye”.  I’m being this skeptical because I really I want to believe this, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

Anyway, now that we’ve got that out of the way.

If this thing is real, then we don’t know what the fuck it is. At first they thought it was a slime mold at the slimy part of its life cycle, but it moves. So, then they thought it was something called annelid worms, which it could be. The problem, though, is that these things have a uniform skin. If they are individual organisms, then they are wrapping themselves in a communal coating. Colonizing isn’t uncommon for annelid worms, tube worms are annelid worms for example, but never under a single skin.

The most interesting part of this for me is not the life form itself (which is fascinating if real), but rather what the life form potentially implies.

We living in a reality that obeys the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy. Things cannot be destroyed, only transformed. This applies to biological spaces, too. We cut down a forest to build a city. The space that was the forest is now the city. Instead of trees you have lamp posts and buildings. Instead of creeks you have sewers and drainage systems. The space has inherently changed, but it is still a space for life to grow and occupy.

By the way I’m not going to get into an environmental debate over the right or wrong of this, so put the pitchforks down now.

So as human civilization supplants the previous ecosystems, we’re replacing it with something new. And if this thing is real, then we’re seeing the space that we’ve created get populated by new kinds of life. Life that in all likelihood would never have come into being with out the ecosystem that we created.

Humanity is like a faster acting blue-green algae. Algae reformed this planet from a CO2 atmosphere to an O2 atmosphere. It may have taken half a billion years, but a life form did it. We’re changing the planet in the same way, but in matter of centuries, not epocs. If this is really something new, then we’re looking at the rise of the first new organism to take advantage of the world that we’ve created.

Again, take all of this with a grain of salt. But with that salt, marvel at the potentiality of an ecosystem dependant of civlization.