Ivan, this is awesome! How in God's name did this thing ever evolve? What could it have come from?
It seems to be some sort of shrimp or some such thing... I'm guessing it's a sediment feeder, surviving on organic matter drifting down from the lower parts of the sea. But that wouldn't explain the flourescence though....
A 6500 foot monster, and you called it a "shrimp"!
The flourescence would just be an evolved advantage...the species has probably existed for a long time by now, so it's had plenty of time to evolve such characteristics.
Why wouldn't it? And where did you read about the fluorescence?
The picture of the shrimp appears fluorescent (I wouldn't have picked that out if i saw the picture, people here have very inquisitive minds)
Perhaps they used a blue light when they took the picture?
Down that deep, I would think there would be insufficient light at any visible wavelength for the evolution of sight, so why it would fluoresce is beyond me. Seems more like a disadvantage, signalling to predators to come eat a tasty shrimp. Too bad you can't have BBQs down there.. (Aussie joke )
Because I presumed that there would be very little prey at such depths, so the creature would be a scavenger. But I have no idea why flourescence would be a selective advantage to a scavenger, since as far as I am aware there are only really useful to predators to entice or locate hard to catch prey.
Unless if the light was for communication purposes, I guess.
The alternative is that we are looking around one of those underwater steam vents, in which case we would have a pretty busy mini-biosystem to support predatory creatures...
Er... 6500m deep... Not 6500 m in length. (Hmm, the site seems to have its units wrong. 10000 ft = 3000m. 6500m = 18000ft...)
Well, if nothing that deep has evolved to use sight to hunt prey, then lighting up the ocean like a beacon wouldn't be a disadvantage.
Did you guys ever thinks how such a creature at such depths is going to find someone to mate with?? Very primitive light receptors could have evolved, or be a left over, which direct it to its other half. Especially if nothing else lives there, light would be a good communication method.
I can't conclude from the picture that it is fluorescent or bioluminiscent (probably closer to the truth) though.
Good point... I probably meant to say bioluminiscent here....
Yes, but obviously such a feature has a cost in terms of resource, and energy, and so on... Same reason plants aren't black. (usually)
But if seeing means mating, it is well worth the resources..
Well, that's what I mean by communication - pornography.
Not that different from human societies really.
Anyway, that raises some other questions:
1) How does a creature compensate for the enormous pressure that must exist that deep under water?
2) How deep does the ocean actually get...what is the deepest you can go before hitting the mantle?
The pressure isn't that bad if it is equallised, such as by filling the body with compressed gases (like the Nautilus) or by simply making the interior of the body filled with the same water at the same pressure. (probably in this case)
Er... crust. Its still the crust down there, though oceanic crusts are somewhat different from land ones.
The deepest part I am aware of is the Marianas Trench in the pacific ocean, about 11 km deep.
They chemistry of these animals will be different though, since proteins behave differently under large pressure and low temperatures, it needs to be adapted.
Really? Even though the pressure acts in all directions? I didn't know that pressure also had such an effect.... Can you give any examples?
A familiar example of a single substance displaying different properties at high pressure is ice http://skua.gps.caltech.edu/hermann/ice.htm
Yes, but ice is a crystal made up of many individual molecules joined up by so-called hydrogen bonds, whilst proteins are, IIRC, single highly complex molecules made up of covalent bonds that are supposedly orders of magnitude stronger....
PS: Can someone tell me the mechanism for proteins de-naturing at non-optimal temperatures?
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