Scientists recently discovered a snailfish at a depth of 26,722 breaking the record by roughly 500 feet.
The Mariana Trench has long been known to be the deepest place on Earth, and now it is the site of the deepest recorded fish following a recent expedition. The study and trip below was led by Jeff Drazen and Patty Fryer of the University of Hawaii who discovered the unknown snailfish with an eel-like tail, translucent fins and odd appendages resembling a roll of yarn after a cat had a go at it.
Others privy to the video agree (kinda) that it is a snailfish including Dr Alan Jamieson, from the University of Aberdeen. He recently told BBC News that, “We think it is a snailfish, but it’s so weird-looking; it’s up in the air in terms of what it is,”
Pseudoliparis amblystomopsis, another type of snailfish, held the record for deepest living fist prior to this newest discovery. The pressures of the sea at depth make life beyond a certain point near impossible as muscles and nerves fail to function while proteins are bent out of shape. The bending of proteins make enzymes incapable of supporting life.
World’s Deepest Fish – Snailfish: It’s all about the TMAO
Paul Yancey from Whitman College in Washington discovered in 1999 a chemical called trimethylamine oxide, or TMAO which prevents protein bending. Fish with a higher level can live deeper but due to constraints in how much of the chemical a cell can hold, fish shouldn’t be found much deeper in the future.
The expedition was assisted by Britain’s deepest diving vessel, the University of Aberdeen’s Hadal Lander. During the trip to the deeps the Hadal Lander was able to capture around 100 hours of video.
“Many studies have rushed to the bottom of the trench, but from an ecological view that is very limiting,” said Dr Jeff Drazen, a co-chief scientist.
“It’s like trying to understand a mountain ecosystem by only looking at its summit.”
World’s Deepest Fish – Snailfish: James Cameron agrees
Perhaps Dr. Drazen was referring to James Cameron’s recent trip of 11 kilometers deep in the Mariana Trench in a titanium capsule. Cameron recently echoed Dr. Drazen’s remarks while presenting early findings at the American Geophysical Union’s meeting in San Francisco last week.
“Saying I made any dent would be like dropping out of an airplane at night onto a wheat field in Nebraska, walking for 2 kilometres, and saying I explored America,” quipped Cameron.