A pointy-nosed blue chimaera, also known as a “ghost shark,” is believed to have been filmed alive for the first time.
Scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute repeatedly captured footage of numerous species while on dives up to 6,700 feet (2,042 meters) below the sea off the coast of southern California, central California and the Hawaiian islands, in 2009. The footage and an accompanying paper in “Marine Biodiversity Records” came out in October, but the video just started to pick up steam this past week.
According to National Geographic, the creatures, known officially as chimaeras, are prehistoric, having roamed darkened waters for the last 300 million years. Chimaeras are relatives of sharks and rays, but have hollowed eyes and a nearly translucent body, making them weird — like aliens of the ocean floor.
The footage was captured by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) off the coast of Hawaii and California, and researchers say the encounter pretty much boiled down to happenstance. Previously, ghost sharks had only been seen in the southern hemisphere.
Dave Ebert, program director for the Pacific Shark Research Center at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, told the magazine: “Normally, people probably wouldn’t have been looking around in this area, so it’s a little bit of dumb luck.” The ghost shark caught on camera is a pointy-nosed blue chimaera — a rare species of the animal usually spotted off the coast of Australia and New Zealand.
But seriously, check this thing out. It’s an indication of the deep ocean’s unending mysteries, which seem to become drearier and more alarming the further you descend. It’s enough to make you crave a landlocked existence, but always ponder what’s lingering near the ocean’s floor, and what we haven’t discovered yet.