Astonishing new underwater footage off the coast of Hawaii is making the rounds in the scientific community.
Scientists may have made one of the biggest underwater finds in a long while off the coast of Hawaii: video of one of the most elusive creatures on the Earth, the ghost shark. National Georgraphic reported that scientists from the Monterrey Bay Aquarian Research Institute in California had filmed the deep-sea shark recently.
The ghost shark, also referred to as the rat fish or chimaera, live deep under the ocean surface at 8,500 feet, shrouded in darkness and way beyond the depth that humans typically go when conducting research. The reach about 5 feet in length and have retractable penises on their heads, a truly bizarre creature.
Researchers actually made this discovery about seven years ago, but there was no confirmation that this was a ghost shark. The images were taken in 2009 by a remotely operated vehicle 6,700 feet down between Hawaii and California. After further examination of the video, scientists believe they have captured a pointy-nosed blue chimaera, which would be the first time the ghost shark has been found in the Northern Hemisphere, as it is typically found in the Australia and New Zealand area. The video is at the bottom of this post.
“Chimaeras are unusual fishes,” the Monterey Bay Aquarium says on its website. “Like sharks, their bodies are not stiffened by bones, but by plates and bone-like bits of cartilage. Like the chimaera from Greek mythology, which had a goat’s head, a serpent’s tail, and a lion’s head, chimaeras are pretty weird looking. Even the common names for this group—ghost sharks, rabbitfishes, and ratfishes—sound like creatures one might see at Halloween. However, chimaeras are relatively common and widespread in the deep sea, with 38 known species around the world.
“In 2009, MBARI researchers worked with scientists at the California Academy of Sciences and Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) to identify a new species of ghost shark in the Gulf of California. Some of these same researchers had also seen ghost sharks during remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives off Central California. They weren’t sure about the exact species, but they knew the fish did not look like either of the two species of ghost sharks previously identified from off the California coast.”