Sunday, May 27, 2007

Deep-sea surprise

It's not surprising to discover a new species on marine invertebrate, but scientists sending their ROV to explore the Pacific floor reported a new sea anemone from a very odd habitat. The new species has been found only in one place: living on a "whale fall," the carcass of a dead whale. Found 3,000 meters down, the small, dead-white species Anthosactis pearseae was compared in size to a human tooth. It's hardly a big or spectacular find, but it filled in a pixel, so to speak, in our very incomplete image of life in the depths. No anenome has ever been found on a whale fall, which creates a colony that may last 60 to 100 years as the bones slowly decompose.

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