British scientists have discovered a slew of unidentified sea creatures on the sea floor near Antarctica and have counted several new species of life amongst them.
A pale octopus, a yeti cram, sea anemones, stalked barnacles and a seven-pronged starfish were some of the interesting new findings, British researchers shared in a study published in the Jan. 3 issue of PloS Biology.
The study cited the discovery of hydrothermal vents along the Galápagos Ridge in 1977 as a turning point for marine biologists, which forced them to reassess the potential of deep-sea life to thrive in areas where chemosynthesis takes place. This inspired scientists to search for life in other remote areas in the world’s oceans and seas.
Hydrothermal vents, which gush out extremely hot liquids of up to 382 degrees Celsius (720 Fahrenheit) in deep-sea locations, have been the site of many big discoveries of marine life.
Alex Rogers, who conducted the research along with members of the University of Southampton and the British Antarctic Survey, said that animals – which can be found nowhere else on the planet – live near hydrothermal vents because they get their energy from breaking down chemicals like hydrogen sulphide.
“The first survey of these particular vents, in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, has revealed a hot, dark, ‘lost world’ in which whole communities of previously unknown marine organisms thrive,” said the lead researcher at Oxford University, AFP reported.
The scientist shared these discoveries as evidence that there is still a great deal for us to discover in the ocean’s depths.
Rogers added, “Everywhere we look, whether it is in the sunlit coral reefs of tropical waters or these Antarctic vents shrouded in eternal darkness, we find unique ecosystems that we need to understand and protect.”
Such zones are often home to unusual forms of life, and fish are rare along these depths. According to the study, these life forms are only found on the peripheries of the hot zones. In this specific region of the Southern Ocean, the giant worms, shrimp, clams and crabs that have been found near other hydrothermal vents in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, were missing – suggesting that different locations of the ocean floor boast its own unique life forms.
A video by the Telegraph shows footage of some of the unique sea creatures found near the Antarctic sea floor: