In 2018, paleontologist Julia Clarke was visiting a colleague named David Rubilar-Rogers at Chile's National Museum of Natural History. He showed her a mysterious fossil that he'd collected years earlier in Antarctica. He and his co-workers called it "The Thing."
"It was weird enough that they decided to collect it, even though it wasn't clear what it was. It definitely wasn't bone, but it was strikingly unusual," recalls Clarke, who works at the University of Texas at Austin.