An estimated 50-80 percent of all life on earth is found under the ocean surface, and the oceans contain 99 percent of the living space on this planet. Less than 10 percent of that space has been explored by humans, 85 percent of the area and 90 percent of the volume constitute the dark, cold environment we call the deep sea. The average depth of the ocean is 3,795 meters, and the average height of the land is only 840 meters.
Scientists have named and successfully classified around 1.5 million species. It is estimated that there are as few as 2 million to as many as 50 million more species that have not yet been found, or have been incorrectly classified. It’s estimated there are as few as 750k marine species or as many as 25m, but we’ve classified only 224,072.
If you want to know more ocean facts, this page is totally awesome.
But it also has me thinking. We know the ocean holds a vast array of creatures, more than the land masses it surrounds could ever hope to contain, and we just discovered an even larger ocean hidden beneath the Earth’s crust. So, what kinds of creatures are we likely to find down there? Well, here are a few deep ocean critters that might fit the bill.
Firstly, we all know that a deep, subterranean ocean is going to be pretty dark. It’s hard to imagine how any light at all could exist. But scientists have also discovered that there are many deep sea species who have adapted to the darkness by glowing.
Bioluminescence occurs when a living creature is able to emit light. Up to 90 percent of the deep sea creatures we know of today are able to do it, and it’s a sure bet it could come in handy way down there. But how do those creatures make the light in the first place?
Over time, animals adapt to their environments. For example, owls have large eyes that collect a lot of light so they can see at night. They are using their eyes to create light to see by. Bioluminescent creatures did something similar, except that instead of adapting to see more light, they adapted to create it instead.
If you’ve ever play with a glow stick, you know that it only glows when certain chemicals are mixed together once the barrier between them is broken, allowing them to come together. Of course, different creatures use different chemicals, so there’s still a lot to learn.
Okay, so we have glowing creatures. But why should it stop just with them. Glowing plantlife would need to be down there as well, or what would they glow-fish be eating besides each other? You’re not going to have a species that lasts long if they’re consumed too quickly to reproduce.
Did you know that it’s possible for microbial life to exist without any light or oxygen? Visit this previous Inquisitr article to learn more. This little guys would be excellent in the capacity of the underground watery world we’re attempting to populate.
So, we’ve discussed the plant eaters, we’re going to have to also consider the predators who prey upon them. You just know they won’t be anything you’d want to run into in the dark! Below is a documentary about deep sea creatures living in the Mariana Trench–the deepest part of the world’s outer oceans.
So, how many of these creatures to you think would live inside the deeper ocean? What other types of creatures do you think would be in there? Whatever they are, it sure gets the curiosity juices flowing for me. And now, hopefully for you as well.