In First-Ever Australian Deep Sea Investigation, Researchers Discover Unbelievable Marine Life

Published June 20, 2017
Updated December 15, 2017

A team of scientists recently explored Australia's deep sea — here's what they found.

Brittle Star

The Game of Thrones Brittle Star was named because of its sharp thorns that remind scientist Tom O’Hara of the Game of Thrones crown.

In May, 40 scientists from seven countries set off aboard The Investigator to explore a part of the world no one has ever glimpsed before: the dark and freezing abyss 14,000 feet below the ocean’s surface.

“The abyss is the largest and deepest habitat on the planet, covering half of the world’s oceans and one third of Australia’s territory, but it remains the most unexplored environment on Earth,” Dr. Tim O’Hara, the mission’s chief scientist, said before the ship’s departure. “We know that abyssal animals have been around for at least 40 million years, but until recently only a handful of samples had been collected from Australia’s abyss.”

Now a month later, the team has returned and looking at their findings, you might think they had traveled on a rocket ship rather than a boat.

Their inventory includes sea spiders the size of dinner plates, a faceless fish, glowing sea stars, fire-red horned shrimp, hermaphrodite lizard fish, a herd of sea pigs, and fish with photosensitive plates on its head.

About a third of their catches had never been seen by human eyes before.

“It is really a voyage of discovery,” O’Hara said. “It’s kind of amazing in the 21st century that you can still do that, but yes you can!”

You can be among the first to check them out here:

Brittle Star The Investigator
Peanut Worm
Grideye Spiderfish
In First-Ever Australian Deep Sea Investigation, Researchers Discover Unbelievable Marine Life
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Next, check out crazy rare two-headed porpoise recently found in the North Sea. Then, watch a sea lion drag a girl into the water after repeated taunting.

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Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.