Ghost sharks have existed in the deepest parts of the ocean long before the dinosaurs. We know very little of them since they rarely come close to humans. Recently, an explorer unexpectedly meets a ghost shark, and was even able to record it on tape!
Ghost sharks are families of sharks and rays. Also called as chimaeras, ghost sharks look odd with their dead-eye, weird fins, and pale flesh. 300 million years ago, they split ways with their relatives, and chose the deep, dark ocean as their habitat.
Using a remotely operated vehicle, or ROV, geologists encountered a ghost shark while exploring the deep seas of California and Hawaii. In the depths of up to 6,700 feet, a friendly ghost-shark went near the ROV, letting researchers capture the first-ever video of the rare sea creature gliding freely under the ocean!
Dave Ebert, from the Pacific Shark Research Center at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, said it was an accident. Explorers at that time weren't even looking for wildlife. He told National Geographic
: "The guys doing the video were actually geologists. Normally, people probably wouldn’t be looking around in this area."
Researchers who captured the video wanted to make sure that what they saw is a real ghost shark. Thus, they reached out to Ebert and other chimaera experts.
The experts watched the video, and analyzed the sea creature. Due to its features, they have identified it as a pointy-nosed blue chimaera (Hydrolagus trolli
), a species usually found near Australia and New Zealand.
What makes this news exciting is that it's the first time that a ghost shark is documented on film! Though ghost sharks are not new to science, it's still stupefying to see this type of species playing around in their natural habitat.