Researchers in Australia have discovered a bizarre “faceless” deep-sea fish — last seen over 100 years ago.
The roughly 15-inch-long fish, officially known as a Faceless Cusk, was rediscovered over the weekend more than 13,000 feet deep in waters south of Sydney by scientists with the Museums Victoria and the Australian government’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, the Guardian reported.
The fish isn’t winning any beauty contests: It has no visible eyes, and an entirely featureless head, save for two nostrils. The last one of its kind was seen by scientists aboard the HMS Challenger near Papua New Guinea in 1873.
“This little fish looks amazing because the mouth is actually situated at the bottom of the animal so, when you look side-on, you can’t see any eyes, you can’t see any nose or gills or mouth,” chief scientist and expedition leader Dr. Tim O’Hara told the Guardian on Wednesday. “It looks like two rear ends on a fish, really.”
Since May 15, the scientists have been engaged in a month-long study of the ocean’s abyss stretching from northern Tasmania to central Queensland. They’ve so far found bright red spiky rock crabs, bioluminescent sea stars and giant sea spiders the size of a dinner plate.
“The experts tell me that about a third of all specimens coming on board are new, totally new to science,” O’Hara said. “They aren’t all as spectacular as the faceless fish, but there’s a lot of sea fleas and worms and crabs and other things that are totally new and no one has seen them ever before.”
The voyage has also dredged up a bunch of garbage — which O’Hara said was just as “amazing” as the sea life they’ve found.
“There’s a lot of debris, even from the old steamship days when coal was tossed overboard,” he said. “We’ve seen PVC pipes and we’ve trawled up cans of paints.
“It’s quite amazing. We’re in the middle of nowhere and still the sea floor has 200…