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Nature & Environment

Mysterious 'sea blob' sighted after 100 years

By T.K. Randall
December 6, 2016 · Comment icon 12 comments


A strange-looking invertebrate has been spotted by a deep-sea ROV over a century after its discovery.
With its translucent body and ethereal otherworldly appearance, Bathochordaeus charon was first observed all the way back in 1899 by Prof Carl Chun of Leipzig University during an expedition to explore the depths of the South Atlantic.


Believing it to have originated from the bottom of the sea, he named it 'Charon' after the ferryman who in Greek mythology is tasked with transporting the souls of the deceased across the river Styx.

Further accounts of the creature however have been scarce with only a few being reported over the last century. Of those examined by scientists, none seemed to exactly match Chun's discovery.
Now though, Rob Sherlock of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute has finally managed to locate and even capture one off the coast of California using a remote-operated vehicle.

"Since the vehicle was recovered some tens of minutes later, the animal was alive, in fantastic shape, and we preserved it right away in order to send it to the Smithsonian," he said.

"We had no idea, until we looked more closely at the specimen, that we had actually found B. charon, the species first described over a hundred years ago."

"It felt like Chun had finally been vindicated after years of doubt."

Source: Live Science | Comments (12)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by MJNYC 6 years ago
They just had to capture it, because it's life just doesn't matter. Disgraceful.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Brok 6 years ago
Well, yeah. Kinda hard to research it without capturing it first.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Sundew 6 years ago
And James Audubon shot the birds he painted. Sometimes if you want to study something, especially something in an alien environment like the deep ocean you have have to take a specimen. Taking a specimen will no doubt help with classification, I imagine the records could stand updating after 100 plus years. 
Comment icon #6 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
I trust the habitat will be pressurized to the same pressures the fellow has naturally in the ocean. Hopefully "study" doesn't mean any samples taken from the creature.  Then all should be shot or at least kept in a cage for study.
Comment icon #7 Posted by MJNYC 6 years ago
Just because James Audubon did that, doesn't make it right.  In fact, shame on him.  That animal has a right to it's life, without humans tampering with it or ending it.   Again, disgraceful.
Comment icon #8 Posted by MJNYC 6 years ago
Maybe they could have taken pictures and spent some time in the ocean with it, rather than ending it's freedom and life.  I'll be they could find another way if they cared.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Sundew 6 years ago
I believe pressure is the least important parameter for keeping the creature alive. If acclimated slowly, it should be able to do fine with normal sea level pressures, because it is a creature that is mostly water, which is non-compressible; the pressure inside its body would be the same as that of the surrounding water. What is probably more important is temperature. At great depths the water may be only a few degrees above freezing and likely the animals that live there cannot survive warm conditions. Also, they have to utilize a special aquarium whose water flow prevents the animal from con... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by Athena1979 6 years ago
Yeah! Save the Sea Blob from us disgusting humans so that the Blob can live a happy, free, long....oh, wait...a shark just ate it.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Athena1979 6 years ago
Yeah! Save the Sea Blob from us disgusting humans so that the Blob can live a happy, free, long....oh, wait...a shark just ate it.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Athena1979 6 years ago
Yeah! Save the Sea Blob from us disgusting humans so that the Blob can live a happy, free, long....oh, wait...a shark just ate it.


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