When, more than 70 years ago, William Beebe became the first scientist to descend into the abyss, he described a world of twinkling lights, silvery eels, throbbing jellyfish, living strings as “lovely as the finest lace” and lanky monsters with needlelike teeth.Looks like a book I am going to need to pickup for my coffee table.
Today, the revolution in lights, cameras, electronics and digital photography is revealing a world that is even stranger than the one that Beebe struggled to describe.
The images arrayed here come from “The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss” (University of Chicago Press, 2007), by Claire Nouvian, a French journalist and film director. In its preface, Ms. Nouvian writes of an epiphany that began her undersea journey.
The photographs she has selected celebrate that sense of the unexpected. Bizarre species from as far down as four and half miles are shown in remarkable detail, their tentacles lashing, eyes bulging, lights flashing. The eerie translucence of many of the gelatinous creatures seems to defy common sense.
Craig M. Young of the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology writes in the book that the diversity of life in the abyss “may exceed that of the Amazon Rain Forest and the Great Barrier Reef combined.”
More photos here (warning, resizes browser window).
via NY Times