weird underwater extinct animals
The Labrador duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius) was never abundant, but hunting and possibly egg collecting are believed to have played a role in its extinction. Image by: John James Audobon.
Only found in the U.S., Ed Mitchell’s limpet (Lottia edmitchelli) is believed to be extinct. Image by: the LA Natural History Museum.
Another striking specimen discovered by the Marine Census of Life at the Great Barrier Reef’s Lizard Island was this octopus.
The gulper eel (also referred to as the pelican eel) was aptly named thanks to its massive mouth and jaw. Gulper eels can grow up to six feet in length and their huge mouths allow them to eat prey that is sometimes larger than them. This usually happens when food is scarce and it’s believed that gulper eels usually eat crustaceans and other small marine animals.
Though the frilled shark may seem capable of defending itself, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has made note that with the increase of deep water commercial fishing, there is an increase likelihood of bycatch.
Sea jellies have a simple structure and lack almost everything that distinguishes plant from animal—including blood, a heart and a brain. They contain only a basic network of neurons that allow them to sense their environment. There are plenty of misconceptions about sea jellies, but one thing is for sure: they’re ready to take on another million years.
While the dinosaurs were ruling the land during the Early Cretaceous, the 30 foot long Kronosaurus was surely ruling the seas. Discovered in Australia, Kronosaurus is a pliosaur, a group of marine reptiles that was particularly diverse during the Cretaceous. This reptile was a fast swimmer with large, powerful muscles and enormous (nearly 10 inch long), crushing teeth that allowed it to feed on ammonites and other large marine vertebrates like giant sharks.
Man sitting on Megalodon jaws from the Miocene of South Carolina (Image Public Domain via Wikimedia . [+] Commons)
Although the oceans absorb 93% of the excess heat trapped on Earth due to greenhouse gases, far fewer ocean species have gone extinct over the past 500 than those on land so far. A 2015 study noted that, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), just 15 marine animals had gone extinct by then, compared to 514 terrestrial animal species.
According to a recent United Nations report, up to 1 million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction, and many could disappear within decades.