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Scientists collect mysterious creatures in Antarctic waters
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 19 - 02 - 2008


Scientists investigating the icy
waters of Antarctica said Tuesday they have collected
mysterious creatures including giant sea spiders and huge
worms in the murky depths, AP reported
Australian experts taking part in an international program
to take a census of marine life in the ocean at the far
south of the world collected specimens from up to 2,000
meters (6,500 feet) beneath the surface, and said many may
never have been seen before.
Some of the animals far under the sea grow to unusually
large sizes, a phenomenon called gigantism that scientists
still do not fully understand.
«Gigantism is very common in Antarctic waters,» Martin
Riddle, the Australian Antarctic Division scientist who led
the expedition, said in a statement. «We have collected
huge worms, giant crustaceans and sea spiders the size of
dinner plates.»
The specimens were being sent to universities and museums
around the world for identification, tissue sampling and
DNA studies.
«Not all of the creatures that we found could be
identified and it is very likely that some new species will
be recorded as a result of these voyages,» said Graham
Hosie, head of the census project.
The expedition is part of an ambitious international
effort to map life forms in the Antarctic Ocean, also known
as the Southern Ocean, and to study the impact of forces
such as climate change on the undersea environment.


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