NASA has at least once referred to the oceans as “The Great Unknown.” We know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the ocean floor.
Although nautical exploration is indeed as old as humans, up until this day, we still know very little about the diverse species lurking deep underwater, and for good reasons.
Satellite imaging is only helpful to study the surface of the ocean – probably a little bit deeper. Downward from 200 meters underwater, light begins to decline to the point of pitch dark rapidly.
Artificial lights do help, but they cannot permeate into open water very far either. Let us not forget that the mounting pressure will crush most manufactured research instruments. Thankfully, some robots can dive deep enough and come back intact.
The oceans have always captured our imagination for many centuries; every once in a while, creatures from the deep appear closer to the surface, revealing their surprisingly bizarre shape and look, unlike any of their shallower counterparts, let alone land-dwelling animals.
Then the imagination takes free to roam; people wonder if the oceans hide even weirder creatures in their depth.
As it turned out, it does. Marine explorers use both human-crewed and uncrewed submersible vehicles to take a glance at this dark, mysterious place, then share what they have found thus far.
10 /10 Frilled Shark
Also known as a living fossil, the frilled shark retains some prominent features of its prehistoric ancestors. It gets its name from the frilly gills and rows of backward-facing teeth.
A fully grown one boasts 25 rows that consist of around 300 needle-sharp teeth. Once it bites hold of the prey, there is zero chance of escaping. The frilled shark’s favorite meal is squid.
It can grow up to 7 feet long and is also known to feed on fish and even other sharks. Mothers only give birth when the offspring are mature enough to survive on their own.
9 /10 Atlantic Wolffish
The predatory Atlantic wolffish is a ferocious predator but not aggressive toward humans unless provoked.
It has large pointy teeth that stick out of the mouth, even when closed. It can grow to 5 feet long and will eventually develop an eel-like body. Sometimes the fish is referred to as “wolf eel,” but it is not an eel.
They prefer chilling water at a depth of between 328 feet to 1,600 feet in the North Atlantic Oceans. Their blood contains several natural compounds to prevent it from freezing. People have fished Atlantic Wolffish throughout its range.