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21 Reasons The Deep Sea Is Hell On Earth

The humans have had their time as the world's dominant species. Next year it's the Goblin shark's time.

1. The deep sea is the part of the ocean out of the sun's reach. This starts about 200m down. And keeps going...for a very long time.

Flo Perry / BuzzFeed

The deepest point of the ocean is in the Mariana Trench in the Western Pacific.

Cuvier's Beaked Whales were discovered to be the deepest diving mammals.

And Herbert Nitsch
is the "deepest man on earth." His words not mine.

2. The deep sea is not only very deep, but very very big. In fact it's 103 million square miles. That's more than all the land on the planet.

Flo Perry / BuzzFeed / / / CC

3. And then remember that all of that space is full of stuff that looks like this.

That's an angler fish, and no one likes them.

But the deep sea is so big that male and female anglerfish have a real tough time finding each other to make babies. But don't worry they have a solution!

4. The male is tiny compared to the female, and once he finds a lady friend he bites her belly and holds on for dear life. He then gets fused to her and they share everything, blood and all!

He basically becomes a handy sperm handbag...romantic!

5. We have only explored 5% of the ocean. So 95% of the ocean is unseen by human eyes, and you guessed it most of that is THE DEEP SEA.

Flo Perry / BuzzFeed / / /

So basically Atlantis definitely exists.

(Not really.)

(Or does it?)

6. A species of shark known as the megamouth shark, which can grow up to 5.5 metres in length, wasn't discovered until 1976.

And as of June 2014 only 56 specimens have ever been sighted.

7. In fact, something can hide down in the deep sea for about 70 million years.

AFP / Getty Images SIMON MAINA

Coelacanths were thought to be extinct since before the dinosaurs until a recently dead specimen washed up in South Africa in 1938.

Since then, scientists have studied their genome and found that not only have they looked pretty much the same for 70 million years, but they have had pretty much the same genome, suggesting they are evolving at a remarkably slow speed. In fact, these fish are more closely related to humans than tuna, as they are a close relative of the first brave fish to walk out the sea.*

*It's a bit more complicated than this.

8. So essentially don't be that surprised if this happens for reals soon.

Universal Pictures

(It probably won't, but if it does I told you so.)

9. There is life in the deep sea that doesn't rely on the sun. If the sun suddenly disappeared these worms would not give a shit.

They rely on volcanic vents on the sea floor and the bacteria which live around them. The worms pictured above live right next to 320°C jets of water and support a whole ecosystem of marine life, such as crabs and fish who feed on the worms. If they can survive there, surely they will one day rise and take over the earth...surely.

10. The pressure at the bottom of the ocean is 1000X that of at the surface, yet things still actually live there.

Flo Perry / BuzzFeed

If we went down there, all the gas in our bodies would compress to 1/1000th of its size. And there is quite a lot of gas in us humans, so we would be effectively vacuum packed from the inside…NICE!

11. Deep sea fish survive down there because they’ve never been anywhere else, so all the gas inside them is at the same pressure as the atmosphere down there, which is why they often look like puddles when you bring them up to the surface.

That's a blob fish, or Psychrolutes, seen on the left at sea level pressure and on the right in its natural habitat in the deep sea.

The real heroes are the deep diving mammals, who collapse their lungs each time they dive.

12. And, just a reminder – if you’re thinking, “I could live as a vacuum packed pancake in the pitch black by a boiling hot vent” – you’d have to live with this guy.

That's a Goblin shark. They grow up to about 3.5 metres long, and have really weird-ass jaws.

13. Everything tends to be bigger in the deep sea.

Deep sea giantism is a phenomenon in which many animals found in the deep sea are much larger than their shallow water relatives.

No one really knows why. One theory is that because it is hella cold down there (about 0 - 3 °C), so animals grow larger in order to have a large volume-to-surface-area ratio, and therefore are more heat efficient. Another theory is that larger size is a product of animals evolving to delay sexual maturity because of the scarcity of food.

That giant woodlouse thing is a Giant Isopod. It’s also another one of the deep sea’s living fossils and has been around since all the continents were stuck together in one big lump.

14. Deep sea giantism has produced some creatures that will give even the bravest humans the heebie jeebies.

Like the oarfish, which is basically a big thick sea serpent that can grow to 17 metres long.

15. And don't forget the giant squid!

Which can grow to 18 metres long...

16. And the really quite big Japanese spider crab!

Which can grow 3 metres from claw tip to claw tip.

17. Also sometimes it's not totally dark down there...

A lot of deep sea creatures use bioluminescence in a number of ways: to hunt for prey, like built in headlights, or to lure prey towards them. They also use lights to communicate with each other, to confuse predators, or even to camouflage against the very limited light coming from the surface.

18. Cute huh? NO OF COURSE NOT. It comes from stuff like this.

That's our friend the angler fish again.

19. And this thing, which produces red light, which is very unusual for a fish.

Cute. 😭

20. Also this lives there.

It's the viperfish and its teeth are so big it can't close it's mouth. 😱

21. So to sum up! The deep sea is exceptionally deep and very big, and largely unexplored by humans, so we have no clue what's down there, and things keep popping up unexpectedly, and everything we have found is horrible.

And it's freezing, apart from where it's boiling from volcanic vents. And the pressure down there would crush most things to a pancake, but inexplainably things live down there, which presumably means they can take over the world.


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