Many people think that humans should spend more time exploring space, but more recent underwater discoveries have proved that we haven’t been spending enough time exploring our oceans. In fact, humans haven’t even explored more than five percent of the oceans on our own earth! There’s so much yet that we haven’t discovered, and there are so many amazing things just waiting to be uncovered on this very planet.
Ocean life is quite different from life on land. After all, it is home to the biggest animals on earth. The title for the largest animal on land goes to elephants, with the average African Bush elephant weighing about 13,000 pounds. However, the largest animal on earth lives in the ocean. The average Blue Whale can weigh up to 330,00 pounds! That’s over 25 times as large as the African Bush Elephant!
The unusual circumstances of the deep ocean mean that the life that evolved there is completely different from life on land. There are so many things we still don’t understand about ocean life, and there are possibly millions of species still waiting to be discovered!
Of course, diving into the ocean is no easy feat. Engineers have worked hard to create submarine technology that can withstand the crushing weight of the ocean, but there are still so many technological advancements that humans will need to make before they can comfortably explore the ocean.
The prospect of discovering life outside of earth is, of course, tremendously exciting. However, doesn’t it make more sense to fully understand the life that exists on our own planet before we start exploring the galaxies outside of it? If humans spent as much time, money, and effort towards exploring the ocean as they did towards exploring space, who knows how many more amazing discoveries we could have found by now?
Still, throughout the past few decades, technology has advanced tremendously, and some scientists, researchers, and deep-sea divers have made some amazing discoveries. In today’s video, we’re going to take a look at some of the most amazing underwater discoveries, including crazy underwater species and ancient ruins of long-lost cities.
While many of the bizarre creatures on this list are either hideous or terrifying, every so often, explorers make a discovery that is surprisingly cute. Make sure you stick around to see one of the cutest underwater creatures ever discovered!
The Frilled Shark
The frilled shark was first discovered in 2007 by a Japanese fisherman. He must have been surprised and terrified to find this creature, an animal that more closely resembles ancient creatures than anything alive today. Scientists today refer to it as a “living fossil.” This is because the frilled shark’s appearance has undergone very little evolution, and it closely resembles its ancient ancestors. The term “living fossil” can also be used to describe species who have very few surviving relatives or even any at all!
This predator can grow up to seven feet long, and it looks like something straight out of a child’s dinosaur book! The frilled shark preys mainly on squid, although they occasionally eat fish and even other sharks. To help them catch their prey, frilled sharks have over 300 hundred individual teeth! They can also use their long, snake-like bodies to constrict their victims.
An Underwater Sphinx
A team of deep-sea divers were lucky enough to make one of the discoveries of the century in 2014. While they were exploring a shipwreck off the coast of the Bahamas, they came across something that had nothing to do with the shipwreck. A statue of a sphinx, made of limestone, and a little bit larger than a fully grown human, was found sunken in the ocean! Experts placed it at around 2,500 years old, and while nobody knows how it arrived off the Bahamas, it is thought to have come from a region in Egypt called Wadi Rahanu. This piece of history could have been lost forever had it not been for the divers, which just goes to show how important ocean exploration is.
The Faceless Cusk-Eel
The deep ocean is home to some truly odd and creepy creatures. They might look bizarre and even terrifying to us, but these creatures have all evolved to have very specific appearances that are perfectly suited to their environment. This species of cusk-eel was first discovered in 1874 in Australia. However, after specimens had been collected, humans were unable to find another member of the species for over a century. In 2017, however, the creature was rediscovered over 13,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. The faceless cusk-eel has a protrusible mouth, which means it is located inside of the animal’s body and is only extended to catch food. If you’re glad most animals don’t look like this, click the like button!
Lake Michigan Stonehenge
The original Stonehenge, located in Wiltshire, England, has baffled humans for ages. What was this odd construction created for, and who made it? While we may never know, another piece of this puzzle was discovered in 2007, although it may have just opened up even more questions. Professor Mark Holley, from Northwestern University of Michigan, led a team of divers to explore Lake Michigan. While they weren’t expecting to come up empty-handed, they certainly weren’t anticipating the massive find awaiting them just 40 feet beneath the surface. Large slabs of stone had been placed carefully on the lake floor. After close examination, they found a carving of a mastodon, meaning that the structure must be over 10,000 years old, which is around when the mastodon went extinct. Sadly, we still don’t know how this structure came to be, or who left it there. Maybe someday, however, we will figure out the final pieces to this ancient puzzle.
The Dumbo Octopus
While many of the deep-sea creatures on this list have a somewhat scary appearance, the Dumbo octopus is quite different. There are thirteen different species of dumbo octopus, and each one is just as cute as the last! Their striking difference from most octopi is what earned them their name; a pair of fins that resemble ears, which they use to help navigate their way through ocean currents.
This cephalopod may be adorable, but there are far more terrifying members in the same class. At the end of the video, we’ll reveal the Dumbo Octopus’ distant cousin, a creature that scientists thought was a myth until just a few years ago!
The Lost City of Heracleion
The ancient city of Thonis-Heracleion used to be safely nestled at the mouth of the Nile River in Egypt. Many ancient historians mentioned the city in their writings, but it wasn’t until the year 2000 that the actual city was discovered. The soil of the city had liquefied many centuries ago, causing the city to sink thirty feet below the water’s surface. Thankfully, an expedition was led by the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology, and the city was discovered. Since the finding of this ancient city, scientists and archaeologists were able to learn so much more about ancient Egyptian civilization.
Scientists had found fossils of a fish known as a coelacanth, which they estimated to have gone extinct 65 million years ago. Imagine how shocked they were when a South African museum curator managed to find one in a fisherman’s net in 1938! This giant fish can live in waters as deep as 2,300 feet, and they can grow up to seven feet long! Their specialized fins move in a way that makes the fish look as though it is walking through water, a trait shared by many ancient fish species.
The Sunken City of Shi Cheng
The ancient city of Shi Cheng was first founded in AD 208, as a county under the rule of the Eastern Han Dynasty. It was located in a valley, but in 1959, the valley was flooded to create the Xin’an River Dam. today, the Qiandao lake is also called the Thousand Island Lake, due to the surrounding mountains poking up like little islands. The city of Shi Cheng was actually named after one of these mountains, Wu Shi. Today, the sunken city of Shi Cheng is still untouched, located approximately 100 feet below the surface of the Qiandao lake.
The Vampire Squid
The vampire squid may have a creepy name, but this creature is actually quite docile in nature. It certainly doesn’t suck blood! In fact, unlike many squids, it doesn’t even spurt ink when it is threatened. Its name came from its odd and somewhat creepy appearance. The vampire squid may be called a squid, but it actually isn’t one at all. It doesn’t fall into the category of squid or octopus, due to some striking differences, but it is still considered a cephalopod. This animal lives around 3,300 feet deep and eats the decaying organic matter of dead creatures that drift to the bottom of the ocean.
The Giant Squid
Until very recently, the Giant Squid was thought to be nothing more than a mere myth. Most people assumed that a creature that huge was bound to have been discovered already. However, in 2006, they were proven wrong. Scientists managed to find and capture a Giant Squid off the Ogasawara Islands of Japan. The Giant Squid inhabits waters between 1,000 and 2,000 feet deep, and they can reach over 40 feet long! Their eyeballs alone have an average diameter of 10 inches, around the size of a basketball! If we were only just able to discover a creature this huge in 2006, who knows what other creatures are waiting in the depths?
There are some truly amazing underwater discoveries that have been made throughout the years. Were you more surprised by the lost cities, or by the odd animals? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!