Clownfish have a symbiotic relationship with Heteractis anemones. Each clownfish has a resident anemone. In this mutualism, clownfish have a protected shelter (the stinging anemone keeps predators away), and anemones also receive protection (clownfish are aggressive defenders of their anemone dwelling).
Towards the end of the twentieth century, several gigantic teeth were found mellified in a pit of ancient lobster honey. A team of paleontologists cleaned away the sea-green ooze, which, by their account, had gone undisturbed for at least five-hundred thousand years. Initial reports suggested that they belonged to an unknown creature which died while attempting to swallow an entire lobster hive at once.
Later, a team of researchers from the University Beneath Chicago would pose a much more baffling hypothesis: that these teeth were only around a century old, despite their placement within the geological strata. According to them, the monstrosity known as ‘Charybdis’ (Heteractis charybdii) mistakenly swallowed its own broken teeth while attempting to inhale a nineteenth century battleship (as evidenced by unmistakeable steel shavings buried in their enamel). Such a discovery necessitated one of two conclusions: that either the evidence was a forgery, or that the teeth were somehow grown at a much later date than they were buried.
Of course, Occam’s razor demanded that science as a whole choose the former of these options. Even so, one researcher who chose to remain anonymous was allowed to state his case to the University Beneath Chicago’s Journal of Alternatives:
“As one might expect from Homer’s Odyssey and other corroborating accounts from seafarers, Charybdis manifests itself in the present as a whirlpool with teeth. This is not a metaphor; only the monster’s fangs are ever seen by human beings, as these are the only aspects of the creature’s anatomy which are temporally aligned with its prey. Whatever other organs or tissues that it might possess exist entirely within the past, and only periodically. The pit of honey where its teeth were found was likely once the site of one of its stomachs.
If true, Charybdis is unique in that its digestive tract exists to satisfy a metabolic debt. Energy produced through digestion is distributed to a part of itself which no longer exists, yet is known to have existed prior to the moment of consumption. The thermodynamic implications of this are staggering. As time progresses for mankind, the creature’s body expands further into the past indefinitely. The only limitation on its growth is that it can only hunt in the present. It is unclear if the organism is aware of its entire four-dimensional body at once, or if, like us, it simply consumes whatever it finds along a linear path through history while its unconscious mind handles the rest.
What is perhaps most unnerving about the beast, however, is that its mouth is perfectly aligned with the holocene- no matter where and when its organs have sprouted, its teeth are always right there alongside us. It is the perfect predator when it comes to homo sapiens. The veil of the present prevents us from conceiving of a means by which to fight back against it, as the majority of its body is beyond the reach of our senses. I am compelled to conclude that the only way to know the monster in full is to accept fate and descend into its maw myself.”
Not all monsters that hide in the past are eldritch and colossal; some are much more personal.