New Species Discovered in the Deepest Trench in Earth's Oceans (VIDEO)

First Posted: Dec 22, 2014 07:12 AM EST

In some of the deepest parts of the ocean, an ecosystem of alien-like animals thrives. Now, scientists have returned from the first detailed study of the Mariana Trench aboard the research vessel Falkor and have made some new discoveries.

The Mariana Trench is located in the Western Pacific, and has long been the focus of high-profile voyages to conquer Challenger Deep, which is the deepest place on Earth. This recent mission targeted multiple depths and investigated the communities found there. More specifically, five deep-sea vehicle systems called landers were dropped to depth of 16,404 to 34,777 feet beneath the waves.

So what did the researchers discover in this location? They found new species that may provide insight into the physiological adaptations these animals employ in this high-pressure environment. One of these animals was a snailfish, which was seen on video at 26,872 feet. The white translucent fish had broad wing-like fins and an eel-like tail that allowed it to slowly glide over the ocean bottom.

"Rarely do we get a full perspective of the ocean's unique deep environments," said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Ocean Institute, in a news release. "The questions that the scientists will be able to answer following this cruise will pave the way for a better understanding of the deep sea, which is not exempt from human impact."

Currently, Falkor is back in the Mariana Trench, and researchers onboard are conducting studies that will complement the previous expedition.

In order to find more about the expedition, check out the Schmidt Ocean Institute's website.

Want to see the new fish for yourself? Check out the video below, courtesy of YouTube.

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