(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have discovered four new species and two new genera that inhabit the deep abyssal landscape of the Pacific Ocean.
The Clarion-Clipperton Zone, an extensive in-depth fault zone, covering approximately 4.5 million square kilometers of the central Pacific Ocean, is rich in precious metals and rare earth minerals along the seabed.
However, ancient minerals are not the only finds. In a new study, scientists report the identification of a number of deep-sea creatures, still unknown to science, living at depths more than 5 kilometers below the surface.
The creatures are known as xenophyophores, giant unicellular protozoa belonging to the class of foraminifera.
Xenophyophores are one of the most common types of large life forms found along the abyssal plains, and although they have been described since the late 19th century, we do not know much about them, mainly because of the extreme depths at which they live.
“These four new species and two new genera increased the number of described xenophyophores in the abyss to 17 (22 percent of the total for this group), many others are known, but still not described,” says marine ecologist Andrew Goody from the National Oceanographic Center In Great Britain.
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