A new exhibition has opened at the Natural History Museum in London. It is called “The Deep” and as the name suggests, it looks at the history of deep marine research, giving a fascinating account of maritime mythology.
Until the 19th Century, absolutely nothing was known about the deep oceans. Some people even thought the seas were bottomless and either completely devoid of life or else inhabited by giant sea monsters.
Not until the advent of submarines in the mid-20th Century did people truly appreciate the biodiversity of the seas. We still have only a fractional idea of what might be down there.
Alex Gaffikin, the curator, told Euronews: “Everything from early exploration to modern exploration, something about the habitats in the deep sea, for example deep sea vents or the sea bed, the mud. And a lot about the weird and wonderful creatures you find in the deep sea. From fish with big bulging eyes, to teeth that are so big they stick outside their mouth. So all the strange and weird creatures down there.”
The exhibition explores a world which is 11,000 metres under the ocean, a world which is even less explored than the moon. One of the highlights is a submarine that you can go into and walk around.
These organisms thrive in the dark, without air, in very salty water. They survive on hydrogen sulphide, which is highly toxic to all terrestrial life.
The discovery that life can exist without oxygen or light significantly increases the chance of there being life elsewhere in the universe.
The exhibition runs until 26th September.
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