The ocean is a wondrous and mysterious thing, brimming with unique creatures. After a "bizarre" collection of deep-sea creatures were found in a remote area of the Indian Ocean, scientists have stumbled upon yet another surprising discovery. According to a report byScience Alert, Australia's national science agency CSIRO has found a shark graveyard, full of fossilized teeth, some millions of years old, on the sea floor of the remote Western Australian coast.
The discovery was made by a team of scientists on board the CSIRO's research vessel Investigator, during a biodiversity survey at the new Cocos (Keeling) Islands Marine Park. The scientists' first thought was that they had pulled up a ''disappointing'' sediment and manganese nodules. However, when they had a closer look, they were surprised.
Over 750 teeth were pulled from the area, which was near the base of the Muirfield Sea Mountain, southwest of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. The haul also included the tooth of a megalodon shark or its closest ancestor.
According to CSIRO, the prehistoric predator, which died out more than three million years ago, was the largest shark to ever live and grew to between 15 and 18 metres in length.
Scientists on our RV Investigator have made some exciting finds, including a specimen of a new species of shark and a shark graveyard in the deep ocean.— CSIRO (@CSIRO) December 7, 2022
The graveyard even contained the fossilised teeth of the ancient ancestor of the megalodon shark. 🦈 https://t.co/XjdQPYDB33
"It was amazing, it really was. Not all were fossils, some were relatively recent mako sharks and two species of great white shark relatives," Museums Victoria Research Institute collections officer Dianne Bray told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Curator of Fishes at the Western Australian Museum, Glenn Moore said that it was astounding that such a large number of teeth were collected from a relatively small area on the seafloor.
"We've also found a few mako and white shark teeth during the underway voyage but nothing like the numbers found during the previous voyage. It's incredible to think we've collected all these teeth in a net from the seafloor some 4 to 5 km below the ocean surface," Dr Moore said.
The discoveries emphasise the importance of marine biodiversity survey voyages and the significant contribution they make to better understanding the life in our oceans.