Over the weekend of June 7th, an interesting discovery was made by Pittsburgh native Devon Shaffer, 28. Mr. Shaffer was emptying out the trash during his shift at the Pasta Too Restaurant in North Side Pittsburgh when he found something in the leftover pierogi grease that has put the scientific community on its head.
“Well, it was ‘round ’bout 8 o’clock, and I was taking the trash out for Jimmy on account of his bum knee. I tossed the bag up in da dumpster and awnest ta God I ’bout crapped myself when I seen it. There was like one of dem coral things like what you find over at Myrtle Beach or something, just layin’ there in some of dat old pierogi oil!”
Excited over the oddity, Devon took the object into the restaurant to share with his co-workers.
“I was like, yuz guys ain’t gonna believe this. Jimmy took one look at it an’ was all ‘You need ta take that ova to Marty at the aquarium!’ so I did.”
Shaffer took his discover to Dr. Martin Steinbeck at the PPG Aquarium in Pittsburgh. Over the course of the weekend, Dr. Steinbeck ran tests on the specimen to figure out what the object was, and hopefully discover its mystery.
“This is not a piece of coral, at least not as we know it.” Said Dr. Steinbeck. “Regular, everyday coral exists in the ocean as a living organism, it’s this hard coral that we see most often. They have a ‘skeleton’ or shell made out of calcium carbonate, and some softer corals don’t form a skeleton at all. The piece that Mr. Shaffer brought me looks very much like a regular hard coral, but there is an absence of that calcium carbonate in its make-up. After running tests on it, I discovered that his specimen was building its skeleton out of the peanut oil used to fry the perogies at Pasta Too. This means that not only is this a new species, but the fact that it can react with proteins in oil this means that its DNA is fundamentally different, alien from anything we’ve ever encountered on Earth.”
The news has created a stir in the scientific communtiy, with several labs requesting samples of the specimen from both Dr. Steinbeck and Mr. Shaffer for further analysis. Steinbeck has said he no longer has the specimen in his possession, as when news broke of the discovery government officials took ownership and brought it in for their own research.