Scientists say that we have only explored less than 5% of the ocean. We have a good idea of what lies at the surface of the oceans, but are completely clueless about what lies beneath it.
There are records of ocean life surviving long past the point where the sun’s rays can penetrate water. Very rarely do scientists explore those depths to discover new species because of the difficulty of deep sea voyage.
Now the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California has released what could be the very first video footage of a 'ghost shark' alive in its natural habitat.
The unusual fish in the video is called the 'pointy-nosed blue chimaera' (Hydrolagus trolliare) or ghost sharks. Ghost sharks are the dead-eyed and wing-finned relatives of rays and other commonly known sharks. They are like regular sharks in that their bodies are not stiffened by bones, but by plates and bone-like bits of cartilage. One major difference between regular sharks and a ghost shark is that the ghost shark has a retractable sex organ on its head. They also prefer to live in rocky areas.
300 million years ago, the deep-sea dwellers split from their surface level counterparts. They are considered as 'living fossils', having remained unchanged long before dinosaurs began walking the Earth.
In 2009, researchers sent a remotely operated vehicle, or ROV, on dives to depths of up to 6,700 feet in the waters off California and Hawaii. They weren’t expecting to see any signs of ghost sharks, who live in the Southern Hemisphere - closer to Australia and New Zealand.
“The guys doing the video were actually geologists,” says Dave Ebert, program director for the Pacific Shark Research Center at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.
The researchers admit that they can't completely verify the fish's identity without collecting one of them to bring to the surface. They also need to make detailed measurements of its fins and body parts - as well as DNA analysis on its tissue.
Ghost sharks aren't a newly discovered species but never has anyone ever seen them in their preferred environment before.
Amazing! Watch The Video Here For All The Details!