Scientists solve the mystery of "mysterious Marks" in the depths of the sea
3:59:52 2023-09-24 161

A team of scientists discovered strange markings on the seafloor off the coast of New Zealand in 2013, during a marine survey conducted by the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

Through all the years that followed, no one was able to solve the mystery of fingerprints at a depth of more than 450 meters.

Now, researchers at NIWA have found that the triangular markings line up perfectly with the pointed snout of some species of deep-sea rattlefish, also known as Coelorinchus.

The holes in the middle of the sand imprints are likely central "bite marks," where bottom-feeding creatures gnawed through the mud and sucked in prey.

Given the extreme depths at which these rattlefish feed, bite marks of this type are "rarely observed," according to the researchers.

Some marks are shallower than others, perhaps traces of fish holding crab or a snack on the surface of the sand.

“NIWA uses a technology called the Deep Towed Imaging System (DTIS) to allow us to see the seafloor in amazing detail,” says marine biologist Sadie Mills, from NIWA. “When reviewing this footage, we often see markers in the sediment, but unfortunately, most of it is unknown to science.” "We can only guess what made it, let alone find convincing evidence."

Finding food in the dark depths of the ocean is difficult work, which is why rattlefish have developed keen eyesight, keen smelling powers and sensitive arms on their thin chins.

Fish move just above the sea floor, and use these senses to search for crustaceans, worms, and other fish to eat.

However, how these attacks are carried out is a bit mysterious.

Researchers at NIWA now hope to use these markers to identify critical habitat and feeding areas for these slippery fish.

The study was published in Deep Sea Research Part 1: Oceanographic Research Papers.

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