‘Gummy squirrel’ found in deep sea looks like half-peeled stretchy banana

If there was such a thing as an underwater monster show, then this would be it. Scientists at the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London have discovered a mysterious menagerie of marine megafauna at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, and dozens of strange creatures may be species unknown to science.

With the help of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) during the summer In 2018, scientists recovered 55 specimens hidden on the western edge of an abyss located between Hawaii and Mexico, about 16,400 feet (5,000 meters) below the sea surface. Of this assemblage of ocean oddities, seven have recently been confirmed as new species; the researchers’ findings were published July 18 in the journal Zoo Keys (opens in a new tab).

While the eastern side of the chasm has been explored fairly regularly, its western portion, which is known as the Pacific Clarion-Clipperton area and includes several nearby seamounts (seamounts), is less accessible. and has therefore remained largely unexplored, making it a privileged place to discover new species.

Chrysogorgia abludoa type of coral, is one of seven confirmed new species found during the expedition. (Image credit: DeepCCZ Expedition, Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation and NOAA)

“About 150 years ago, the [HMS] Challenger Expedition explored this area, but as far as I know there haven’t been many studies done since then,” said Guadalupe Bribiesca-Contreras, NHM biologist in the Department of Life Sciences and lead author of the paper. study. “This part of the ocean has barely been touched.”

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