The Utah Department of Public Safety may have found proof that human evolution was meticulously guided by extraterrestrial forces from beyond the stars.
Or, at least, a pretty cool art project.
What did they find? Deep in the middle of the Utah desert, a helicopter spotted a mysterious, 12-foot monolith sticking out of the ground.
One can’t help but draw connections to the nearly identical imagery in the classic 1968 Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey. And if it’s anything like the monolith in that film, there are some serious, earth-shattering implications.
A Very Mysterious Monolith
The discovery was made on November 18th, as Utah’s Department of Public Safety was conducting a routine count of bighorn sheep by helicopter.
Then they spotted it.
Pilot Bret Hutchings detailed the findings to a local NBC affiliate. “One of the biologists is the one who spotted it and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it. He was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’ And I was like, ‘what.’ And he’s like, ‘There’s this thing back there – we’ve got to go look at it!’”
And look they did, despite the monolith's eerie similarity to the monolith in Stanley Kubrick's classic 1968 film.
In 2001: A Space Odyssey, early hominids awaken to discover a monolith before them. The monolith seems to influence them, as they learn how to use bones as a weapon, and the famously abstract film implies that it was placed there by an alien lifeforce with the intention of guiding human evolution from prehistoric apes to a space-faring species.
Is this a case of life imitating art?
Out of This World Art
Naturally, a mysterious 12-foot monument in the middle of nowhere raised some big questions.
Like how it got there.
In fact, the area it was discovered in is so remote that officials aren’t even disclosing the exact location, out of fear that visitors would get lost. “It is in a very remote area and if individuals were to attempt to visit the area, there is a significant possibility they may become stranded and require rescue,” a statement read. They also said it looked planted, rather than dropped in. Meaning if it is of earthly origin, someone hauled it in through miles of unforgiving Utah desert.
Still, the individuals who found it believe it to be an art piece, an homage to 2001.
"I'm assuming it's some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big ("2001: A Space Odyssey") fan," Hutchings said. And the Department of Public Safety even made light of the potentially outer space origin, reminding everyone that “it is illegal to install structures or art without authorization on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you’re from.”
It’s a pretty convincing argument. Artists did it! After all, the American Southwest has a unique history with avant-garde art in remote locations. Take Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, for example, located on the Northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake. Or Michael Heizer’s Double Negative deep in the Nevada desert.
Even if it is merely terrestrial in origin, as logic would suggest, it remains a reminder of the weird and wonderful world we live in. That artists would haul in a 12-foot piece of metal, install it in the ground who-knows how long ago, and spark both international news coverage and some seriously big questions, is an impressive artistic feat.
Or, perhaps, that’s exactly what the government wants us to think.
What do you think? Art installation, or something a bit more… otherworldly?
UPDATE 12/04/2020: The Utah monolith disappeared seemingly overnight a few days later, gone as quickly as it appeared. Similar monoliths have since popped up in Romania and California, deepening a mystery that has baffled public officials. So far, no one has come forward to claim credit for the trio of mysterious monoliths, terrestrial or otherwise.
UPDATE 12/08/2020: A group of California artists have claimed responsibility for the mysterious installation, calling it a piece of "guerrilla art." However, some uncertainty still remains – particularly because of the presence of remarkably similar monuments discovered elsewhere around the world.