We all have heard how engrossed and excited scientists get when they discover something new. Whether they are carrying out experiments in a laboratory, studying different objects in space, or discovering a new animal in the oceans, becoming oblivious to the surroundings while doing their work is a normal practice.
But as much as it’s extremely important to remain focused on one’s work, looking up and glancing around every once in a while is not a bad idea, especially when there could be potential dangers in the surroundings.
Sometimes, however, the excitement of successfully completing an experiment or discovering a new species in the ocean can surpass everything else. This is exactly what happened to two ichthyologists from the California Academy of Sciences, Luiz Rocha and Hudson Pinheiro, who dived into the Atlantic Ocean to explore the coral reef systems.
The duo, along with their safety officer, was swimming deep into the ocean when a beautiful, neon pink and yellow fish caught their eye. Upon close inspection, the scientists realized that it was a new species of fish and they were its first discoverers!
The discovery got the two scientists really excited, so much so that they completely forgot about their surroundings and started examining the amazing new fish.
But while they were busy exploring the creature, a 10-foot-long, sixgill shark headed in their direction and swam right above their heads. And the surprising part: they didn’t even notice it!
The scientists’ diving safety officer, Mauritius Valente Bell, saw the spectacle and filmed it on his camera, and also tried to warn Rocha and Pinheiro of the looming danger. As the video shows, Bell spoke in a Chipmunk-like voice, which happened because of the presence of helium in the divers’ rebreather mix.
According to a report by the Modesto Bee, Bell shouted, “look at the shark,” to alert his colleagues, but they largely ignored his warnings thinking that Bell was “just (enthusiastically) telling them it’s time to surface.”
The California Academy of Sciences named the video clip, “that feeling when your science-obsessed colleagues won’t look up long enough to notice the 8- to 10-foot shark directly overhead.”
Per the video’s description, it was filmed off Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago at a depth of about 420 feet. The shark seen in the video is a bluntnose sixgill shark, which had never been spotted in the area before.
Sixgill sharks can grow up to 8 m (26 ft) in length, and adult males generally average between 3.1 and 3.3 m (10 and 11 ft), while adult females average between 3.5 and 4.2 m (11 and 14 ft), per a BBC Earth documentary.
Pinheiro told The Verge that the presence of the shark in the area indicates that “the ecosystem is still in a good shape.”
Although the video went viral because of the shark, the newly-discovered fish Tosanoides aphrodite – named after the Greek goddess of love and beauty – is the one who stole the show because its uniqueness completely enchanted its discoverers.