Dr. Victoria McCoy* and her team from Yale have finally unraveled one of the greatest mysteries of modern science: the evolutionary place of the so-called "Tully monster." For years, scientists have puzzled over this extinct beast. It is characterized by:

(i) binocular eyes, like a hammerhead shark

(ii) a long triple-jointed proboscis that ends in an alien claw-mouth, like nothing the world has ever seen

(iii) a spade-shaped tail, like a spinning manatee or female pikachu

And now, McCoy and her co-authors, after hours poring over fossil Tully monsters from rich museum collections, have discovered two crucial new clues. The Tully monster also had:

(v) a line running down its middle

(vi) gill pouches on both sides of the body

Using these and other clues, McCoy et al. concluded, remarkably, that the enigmatic tully monster was a vertebrate, just like you and me. Indeed, it was a lamprey-- you know those creepy jawless fish with rows and rows of teeth in a circular mouth?

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“It looks like an alien,” says Victoria McCoy of the University of Leicester, who authored the study while at Yale.

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Thus, at last, a great mystery is solved; now, at last, we can say that we know the "rejected doodle of a drunk fantasy artist," the state fossil of Illinois, perhaps the greatest fossil enigma of our era, that mysterious creature flitting through prehistoric oceans. 

In some cultures, you cannot truly be named until you are known, and you cannot say someone's name until you truly know him or her.

So now, at last, let us say with confidence, and say all together- BEHOLD, THE TULLY MONSTER!

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* My older sister