Scientists working in Antarctica have discovered a never-seen-before creature living 3,500 metres below the ice.
Earlier this year, Expedition Antarctica began their 50-day voyage across the Southern Ocean and past the icy continent in a bid to explore the seabed.
The team travelled on New Zealand’s research vessel RV Tangaroa, while using a state-of-the-art imaging system called the Aegis to capture fascinating images from the bottom of the sea.
While the mission is still ongoing, the scientists have released a documentary titled The Secrets of Antarctica on YouTube, detailing all of the incredible discoveries made thus far.
In the doc, the narrator explains:
Having braved ice storms, broken equipment and rough seas for almost two months, the team braces itself for the most high-pressured assignment of them all.
They will delve 3,500 metres into the abyssal plain, a depth almost as high as the Swiss Alps.
It will endure 300 times more pressure than we experience every day.
Suddenly the abyssal plain reveals itself, it looks barren, like the surface of Mars, but a closer look reveals life that no one has ever witnessed in Antarctica at all.
However, the scientists were desperate to gain a closer look at the creature, so they sent a fishing net down there.
The narrator continued:
The team take the opportunity to trawl the bottom, having set up more than 5,000 of cable into the sea.
The beam trawl finally comes aboard at 2:00am and, after six hours of waiting, the team gets its reward. 12 buckets of mud and one single fish.
But in this mud lies many delectable delights like this sea cucumber. Then Kareen [Schnabel] finds an even more curious specimen.
Dr Schnalbel, who works as a marine biologist at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand, recalled her excitement for the discovery.
It has something quite interesting at the front which sort of likened it to a hippopotamus.
We don’t know how many are down there, we don’t know how common this is.
But I have never seen anything like this before.
Meanwhile, people on Twitter compared the incredible discovery to that the creature from 1982 sci-fi horror The Thing.
One person tweeted:
I have definitely seen this movie. It ended with fire and a lone dog racing across the ice.
Well thanks for spoiling The Thing.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.