Researchers discover 100 new alien-like species off the coast of Chile

Marine researchers stationed in the southeast Pacific, off the coast of Chile, announced they have discovered over 100 new species and several previously undiscovered underwater mountain ranges, also known as seamounts. 

The discoveries were reported from the Schmidt Ocean Institute expedition led during January and February by Dr Javier Sellanes of Chile’s Universidad Catolica del Norte, Storyful reported. 

What kinds of animals were discovered? 

Among the newly identified species of sea life were deep-sea corals, glass sponges, sea urchins, amphipods, squat lobsters, and more. 

Scientists used an underwater robot capable of reaching depths of 4,500 meters or just under three miles, where 52,777 square kilometers of seafloor were mapped. 


Marine researchers say they discovered more than 100 new species during an expedition in the southeast Pacific, off the coast of Chile, over January and February. (Credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute via Storyful)

"The scientists found that each seamount hosted distinct ecosystems, many of which are vulnerable, including thriving deep-sea coral reefs and sponge gardens," researchers said.

"We far exceeded our hopes on this expedition. You always expect to find new species in these remote and poorly explored areas, but the amount we found, especially for some groups like sponges, is mind-blowing," said Sellanes. "These thriving and healthy ecosystems indicate that the Nazca-Desventuradas and Juan Fernandez Marine Parks effectively protect delicate marine habitats."

How big are the seamounts? 


Using an underwater robot capable of reaching depths of 4,500 meters, or just under three miles. (Credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute via Storyful)

The tallest seamount discovered stands at 3,530 meters and was unofficially named 'Solito' by the researchers. 

Storyful contributed to this story. It was reported from Los Angeles.