Geologists gathering samples of sediments from the ocean bed in the southeastern Weddell Sea also discovered various peculiar life forms below the seafloor. The sea creatures were living off a rock located 900 meters deep into an Antarctic ice shelf, which the scientists were able to document after they submerged a camera with a sediment corer.

The geologists’ actual mission was to examine the seafloor located a thousand feet below the bed of an Antarctic ice shelf but were surprised to hit a rock instead of hitting mud. The scientists discovered unidentified filter feeders and a community of sponges holding onto the rock.

British Marine Biologist Surprised by the Findings

The geologists showed the footage to Huw Griffiths, a marine biogeographer and writer for the British Antarctic Survey who said the rock is the least likely place for this kind of community to thrive. Griffiths described some of the creatures as having short and bulky round bodies while some others had thin stalks sprawled into the water. Some parts of the hard rock had a thin layer of fuzz, suggesting the possibility of housing miniscule organisms.

Griffiths mentioned that the discovery was exciting as it means that animals clinging onto the rock had ample food source. Yet with a less than 60-second video footage with which to view them, Griffiths said it brings up various questions; like whether the organisms’ metabolism changes speed when there’s no food, or how much food they need, among other things.

According Griffiths, it is a huge challenge to study these creatures as there is no research vessel that can get close to the quaint sea creatures and that the appropriate technologies for studying such animals have yet to be developed.