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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Seeing A Ghost

Seeing A Ghost


Ghost shark (credit: NOAA Okeanos Explorer)


Remotely operated vehicles or ROV's are excellent tools for observing natural events and making discoveries, particularly in hostile environments. They are being used to study volcanoes, in search and rescue operations, and for diving in deep oceanic zones. California researchers with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) observed a rare ghost shark. They filmed its movements from a deep-diving robot. Their discovery was published in Marine Biodiversity Records by the marine investigators.

Ghost sharks, also known as a chimaera, from the mythological Greek creature that combined the head of beast a goat, a lion's head, and a sea serpent’s tail. The sharks are an ancient bony fish that evolved separately from other sharks more than 400 million years ago. They occupy extreme ocean depths of nearly 9000 feet below the ocean's surfact in complete darkness and are rarely seen alive, much less filmed. According to the MBARI announcment:

a pointy-nosed blue chimaera, first identified in 2002, had only been known from deep waters around Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. The fish has recently been found around the Hawaiian Islands and off the coast of Central California, the first time one has been seen anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere.

The primative creature was covered in scaly, cartilage-like, bony plates and has ghostly, ice-blue eyes. Similar to several other deep sea creatures, they are living fossils that still exist in isolated marine environments and only once known from fossilized specimens. WHB

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