Bizarre Deep-Sea Creatures Spotted in Australia
Australian scientists have found bizarre prehistoric sea life thousands of feet below Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
The creatures live in a dark world 4,500 feet below the ocean's surface. The pressure there is 140 times greater than on land.
The images were captured at Osprey Reef off Australia's NE coast. It is among the many reefs in the Coral Sea Conservation Zone, an area of high conservation importance.
The scientists used custom-designed, remote-control cameras which sat on the sea floor.
"We simply do not know what life is down there, and our cameras can now record the behavior and life in Australia's largest biosphere, the deep sea," professor Justin Marshall said.
Such animals live in an environment untouched by sunlight. Marshall said it could take years for researchers to document all the photos and cross-reference them to see if they are new species.
"One of the things that we're trying to do by looking at the life in the deep sea is discover what's there in the first place, before we wipe it out," Marshall said.
Aside from discovering new species before they go
extinct, Marshall and his team hope they can learn something about biology
that may help humans as well.
The scientists also plan to take their underwater cameras to South America's coast in search of the Giant Squid. The squid is believed to live more than 5,000 feet below sea level. It has one of the largest nervous systems of any known animal.
Great Barrier Reef has the largest live coral collection in
the world. Scientists say it's under threat from global warming, chemical
spills and ship collisions. This spring, a Chinese coal
carrier rammed into the reef leaving it scarred and
smeared with chemical paint from the ship's hull.
More photos: http://www.qbi.uq.edu.au/index.html?page=137977
Backgrounds: Robert Kaufman Fabrics: http://www.robertkaufman.com/
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