One of the most elusive creatures on the planet - and one that's even older than the dinosaurs - was captured on video by scientists and researchers from the Monterrey Bay Aquarian Research Institute in California when they filmed the deep-sea ghost shark, National Geographic reported Thursday.
"Normally, people probably wouldn't have been looking around in this area, so it's a little bit of dumb luck", program director of the Pacific Shark Research Center at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Dave Ebert told NatGeo. The video was filmed by geologists from the MBARI using a remotely-operated vehicle to explore the depths of the northern Pacific.
Actually, the footage of the rare ghost shark - also known as a chimera or spook fish - was shot in 2009 by a research team's remote-controlled submersible, which was prowling waters off the coasts of California and Hawaii, but has only just been released. Ebert will scour local fish markets for new specimens, but one of the best and only ways is to use a trawling boat to scrape the depths.
"[The fish is] nearly a little comical", Ebert told National Geographic. "It would come up and bounce its nose off the lens and swim around and come back", Ebert said, commenting that the shark would play havoc with the filming material.
In addition, rocky outcrops in the background of the video suggest that pointy-nosed blue chimaeras prefer this habitat to the flat, soft-bottom terrain that's usually the domain of other ghost shark species, says Ebert, a specialist in what he calls lost sharks, or species that don't tend to garner the attention of great white sharks and hammerheads.
The retractable sex organs on its head, however, have proved a harder mystery to crack, with marine biologists yet to figure out the precise reason for that particular evolutionary feature.
"I suspect many species are wide-ranging-we just don't have the data".