New species

Life reconstruction of Olympicetus thalassodon hunting their prey, with plotopterid birds in the background
Life reconstruction of Olympicetus thalassodon hunting their prey, with plotopterid birds in the background

Ancestor of early toothed whales had "weird" teeth

Today, researchers are using the fossils of the Olympicetus thalassodon an early toothed whale which existed around 26.5 and 30.5 million years ago, to better understand the early history and diversification of modern dolphins, porpoises and other toothed whales. 

The new species of catshark has shiny white irises, which is unusual of a deep-sea species
The new species of catshark has shiny white irises, which is unusual of a deep-sea species

New shark species discovered off Australia

Most sharks give birth to live young, but a few species, known as oviparous sharks, lay eggs. The new species could be identified because researchers noticed something interesting about its egg cases, pouches that attach to a surface in the ocean and hold onto a fertilized shark eggs as it develops.

A deep-sea batfish
A deep-sea batfish

New species discovered off Western Australia

While on a mission to map the volcanic geography of Cocos (Keeling) Islands Marine Park off Western Australia, researchers aboard the vessel Investigator also surveyed the deep-sea life in the Indian Ocean Territories.

In doing so, they came face-to-face with many fascinating, and some previously unknown, species.

Besides filming videos of the vast marine life amidst the summits of seamounts, the team also collected specimens from depths as deep as five kilometres below the surface.

We have discovered an amazing number of potentially new species living in this remote marine park

Dr Tim O’Hara, Chief Scientist of the expedition and Senior Curator, Marine Inveterbrates at Museums Victoria Research Institute

During the expedition, the researchers had been sharing their discoveries with more than 850 school students and community members in Australia through real-time livestreaming.

The expedition was a collaboration between Museums Victoria Research Institute and CSIRO, in partnership with Bush Blitz, Parks Australia, Australian Museum Research Institute and the Western Australian Museum.

New subspecies of bottlenose dolphin identified

A new bottlenose dolphin subspecies has been identified, and it is found only in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, according to a study published in the Journal of Mammalian Evolution.

Called the Eastern Tropical Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus nuuanu), it is smaller than other common bottlenose dolphins, and is likely to prefer the deep offshore waters between southern Baja California and the Galapagos Islands. 

A gummy squirrel (Psychropotes longicauda) - one of the new species discovered
A gummy squirrel (Psychropotes longicauda) - one of the new species discovered

More than 35 new deep-sea species discovered

More than 35 potentially new deep-sea species have been discovered at the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the central Pacific. 

Ranging from starfish and segmented worms to sea cucumbers and various types of coral, these specimens were collected using a remotely operated vehicle.

In total, 55 benthic specimens were collected from seamounts and abyssal plains. Of these, 39 were found to be potentially new to science, with nine that were referable to known species. 

Named after Godzilla's nemesis, King Ghidorah, the newly discovered branching worm's scientific name is Ramisyllis kingghidorahi. Its head is at the right of the image.

Scientists describe new branching worm, name it after Godzilla's nemesis

The sea worms, which lived inside their host sponges, were discovered by researchers in Japan. Images of the worms were then sent to Professor M. Teresa Aguado at the University of Göttingen, who subsequently organised a field trip to further investigate the species.

A distinctive feature about the worm—the third species of branched sea worms ever discovered—is the fact that it has dozens of regenerative posterior ends that look like tree branches as they spread out from the main body.

A new species of the deep-sea ceratioid anglerfish
A new species of the deep-sea ceratioid anglerfish

New Deep-Sea fish species discovered

Adding to the list of deep-sea creatures, a Nova Southeastern University's (NSU) Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography researcher recently found a never-before seen species from the deep waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The three females specimens found ranged in size from 30-95 mm in length. Looking at a photo of the fish, one quickly understands how anglerfishes get their common name.

The new species of white coral is most likely closely related to gorgonian corals.

New coral discovered off California

It was the first thorough exploration of the cold, oxygen-rich waters north of Bodega Head, a small promontory that lies along the California's Sonoma coast just 70 miles north of San Francisco. Submarine canyons, such as Bodega Canyon, extend from the continental shelf to the deep sea – making their exploration a difficult but worthwhile endeavour. The canyons are important because they act as a refuge for important species of fish and provide a habitat for sensitive species of deep-water corals and sponges.