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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Ghost shark found off coast of Thailand is a thing of nightmares

The ocean is a terrifying place. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is absolutely beautiful, too, and I plan to enjoy my stint on the beach this summer. But when it comes to the deep sea, there are a lot of things we just don’t know about, like a newly discovered species of “ghost shark” that looks like something you’d see in your nightmares.

The elusive deep-sea creature is now being referred to as Chimaera supapae – that’s definitely not a name that instills fear. The creature looks very ghoulish as it lurks in the deep recesses of the ocean, and the researchers say it is part of the order of the oldest fishes alive today, the Chimaeriformes. 

Image source: David A. Ebert et al.

While not exactly a shark itself, the ghost shark, as scientists like to call it, is an ancient relative of sharks and rays. Its existence and discovery are highlighted in a new study featured in Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. What’s even more fascinating about the discovery is that Chimaera like this are extremely rare where scientists found this one.

The researchers discovered the deep-sea beast hiding out in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand. David Ebert, the lead author of the new study, says that this is the 54th known species of chimaera in the world now. Because these ghost sharks prefer the deep, deep sea, they are exceptionally hard to find, especially since places like the Andaman Sea range up to 14,500 feet in depth (4,400 meters).

These fish are named chimaeras because of their rat-like tapered bodies and their massive, reflective eyes. This isn’t something you want to run into in a dark alleyway, especially since you would have to be several thousand feet under the ocean to do so. 

Still, all jokes aside, this newly discovered ghoul of a fish is yet another highlight of how little we know about our planet’s massive bodies of water. It is a terrifying thought when you consider just how much of the planet is made up of water.

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