New footage exhibiting an enormous, peculiar-looking tentacled sea creature floating languidly within the depths of the Pacific Ocean has left researchers questioning if what they’re seeing is a brand new species.

 

A group of scientists noticed the unusual animal whereas on board the E/V Nautilus, a analysis vessel utilized by the Ocean Exploration Belief – a nonprofit group conducting deep-sea analysis.

In anot too long ago launched video, the expedition researchers oohed and aahed as pictures of the weird creature got here into focus.

“My thoughts is blown proper now,” one of many scientists on board might be heard saying off-camera, because the boat’s remotely operated car (ROV) scanned the ocean ground and inched nearer to the unusual sight. “I am not on the sting of my seat or nothing,” one other scientist quipped.

Moments later, the scientists spied one other of the oddball creatures close by, although they have been unable to document video of the second particular person.

With tentacles extending 16 inches (40 centimeters) from a virtually 7-foot-long (2 meters) stalk, and a single feeding polyp with barbed tentacles cupping the polyp like spiky petals, the creature resembled a really unusual, free-swimming flower that was roughly the scale of the ROV.

It was noticed July 7 at 9,823 toes (2,994 m) under the floor close to a beforehand unexplored seamount north of Johnston Atoll, an unincorporated US territory and a Nationwide Wildlife Refuge within the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii.

 

Researchers initially suspected that they’d crossed paths with Solumbellula monocephalus, also called a Solumbellula sea pen, which is a part of the Cnidaria phylum that features jellyfish, hydras and coral.

Nevertheless, the one identified sightings of sea pens previous to this have occurred within the Atlantic and Indian oceans, so it is potential that the scientists could have stumbled upon a brand new species.

Associated:10 bizarre creatures discovered within the deep sea in 2021

Steve Auscavitch, the expedition’s lead researcher and a deep-sea biologist and post-doctoral scholar at Boston College, described the sighting as “fascinating”.

“Occasionally, we come throughout one thing that we by no means anticipated to see, and people are sometimes essentially the most highly effective observations,” he informed Dwell Science.

He added: “We have been nearing the tip of our cruise and have been on the backside of the seafloor after we noticed the 2 [sea pens]. The one we captured on video was huge, probably the identical dimension or bigger than Hercules, our ROV. Once I noticed this wonderful sea pen on video, I knew precisely what it could possibly be.”

 

However simply to make sure, Auscavitch sought enter from biologists on shore, who helped verify his suspicions that it was a sea pen, a coral relative.

Based mostly on the animal’s spectacular dimension, Auscavitch surmised that it was relatively outdated, nonetheless he cannot give a particular age. (Sea pens attain maturity at 5 or 6 years of age, and may reside for greater than a decade.)

“Previous to this, Solumbellula monocephalus had by no means been seen within the central Pacific and by no means collected,” he stated.

Curiously, his group’s discovery got here a number of months after scientists in Spain named two new genera of sea pens: Pseudumbellula and Solumbellula, the latter of which would come with the brand new species. These findings have been revealed in February within the journal Invertebrate Systematics.

Nevertheless, Auscavitch stated that extra analysis must be carried out to find out if that is the primary Pacific Solumbellula monocephalus or probably a brand new species within the ocean basin.

“Findings like this are uncommon, and we by no means anticipated to see one thing like this,” he stated. “Essentially the most thrilling a part of this analysis is that we come throughout these items on occasion, and it actually does increase our horizon about the place animals can reside and exist within the deep sea.”

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This text was initially revealed by Dwell Science. Learn the unique article right here.

 

By 24H

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