As technology keeps getting better, rare photos of undersea creatures are making their way to the surface. These baffling and sometimes terrifying pictures are exciting the scientific community worldwide. The realm that exists in our dark, deep oceans is a mystery. Ocean animals already mystify us - from mesmerizing physical features to odd mating rituals - and those deep underneath the surface have captivated the masses for centuries.
Some have estimated scientists have only studied a small percentage of the ocean floor. The little known about what lurks deep in the ocean pales in comparison to what there is to learn, which is why each discovery of aquatic animals that are rarely seen is exciting. Never-before-seen creatures incur even more curiosity about what other mysterious undersea beings may dwell beneath the waves.
Here’s a look at some of the first ever photographs of maritime monsters in all their glory.
The Frilled Shark
Named for its unique oral anatomy, the frilled shark sports a set of needle-like teeth that rival Freddy Kruger’s fingernails. It's mouth is lined with 25 rows of backwards-facing teeth - totaling up to about 300 teeth in all! It was first photographed in its natural habitat in August 2004. Little is known about this shark because, unlike other maritime monsters, the frilled shark hasn't generally been mentioned in myth. Before this 2004 sighting, it's not clear if anyone knew of this existence of this peculiar species.
These photographs are significant to science because they exemplify how much of the ocean remains a mystery. As scientists learn more, they are cultivating numerous theories, including one in which this particular shark is the relative of an identical - and much larger - shark species.
The Oarfish AKA The Sea Serpent
Japanese folklore became a reality in 2001 after a group of unsuspecting U.S. Navy officers filmed what is now known as an oarfish when it washed up on the San Diego coastline. It was the first footage ever captured of this creature alive - though it died shortly after. The existence of this mesmerizing maritime wonder was known, but its tendency to hang out 3,000 feet or so beneath the surface made it nearly impossible to film or study.
Many scientists and historians believe the oarfish is actually what some thought to be a legendary sea serpent.
Pointy Nosed Blue Chimaera AKA The Ghost Shark
On December 15, 2016, remotely-operated photography equipment delved deep into the dark blue sea to nearly 5,000 feet beneath the surface. The images it captured may spook you. This is the first ever footage of the Chimaera, a "ghost" shark species not even officially recognized until 2009.
Scientists have already utilized the footage to learn more about the shark's diet, sensory organs, and hunting patterns.
The Black Sea Devil
The angler fish, or the "Black Sea Devil" as 's often referenced, was filmed alive for the first time on November 17, 2014. It’s been difficult to photograph this nimble swimmer because of its size. While equipped with an elaborate set of ghoulish teeth, the male angler fish only grows to about the size of a pin. Since photographing the angler fish, renowned deep sea explorer Bruce Robison has observed several fascinating facts about it previously unknown.
For example, the Black Sea Devil is the only known fish tot utilize its dorsal fin when swimming. The male angler fish bites and latches onto a female angler for mating purposes, and the females are known to mate with several male angler fish at the same time.