Biology, Commentary

Hundreds of new deep sea species discovered in Australia

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Word comes today from down under that ocean scientists exploring previously uncharted undersea mountains and canyons in the Southern Ocean have discovered 274 new marine species heretofore unknown to science. Reports the Environment Minister Peter Garrett: “It’s extraordinary to think that we’ve put someone on the moon and we’re very familiar with lots of parts of the planet, we’ve got Google Earth and yet here we are, we’ve got parts of the planet that have never been sighted or explored before.” We couldn’t agree more.
The deep sea is mostly uncharted—only about 5 percent of the seafloor has been mapped with any reasonable degree of detail—and current estimates about the number of species yet to be found vary between ten and thirty million. For a look at some of the awe-inspiring creatures of the deep that we have discovered, check out Claire Nouvian’s eye-popping The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss and a gallery of the some of the wonders of the murky abyss.