Sunday, 14 February 2021

Scientists stumbled onto toothy deep-sea "top predator," and named it after elite sumo wrestlers

 A sunny winter day in 2016 found marine biologist Yoshihiro Fujiwara anchored off the coast of central Japan, measuring pudgy cusk eels, when a hubbub suddenly erupted aboard ship. The crew of the Shonan Maru had just landed a big, bizarre-looking fish.

"Wow! We got a coelacanth!" they joked as they hauled up a specimen so large it evoked the legendary "living fossil" species found only in Africa and Indonesia.

jamstec-fish-new-species.jpg
A photo provided by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) shows a specimen of the newly-discovered yokozuna slickhead deep-sea fish.  JAMSTEC

Fujiwara, whose specialty is "whale fall" communities — the rich ecosystems that spring up around and feed off whale carcasses — was equal parts thrilled and skeptical.


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