The deep blue sea is full of wonder and mystery. We currently know less about it than we do about the moon, which is 250,000 miles away from the earth’s surface. In fact the total yearly budget for NASA far, far exceeds that of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). For some reason, instead of conquering the wonders of our own planet, we essentially skipped it to learn about things outside of our earth. It’s almost like learning to run before you can walk.
The ocean absolutely terrifies me because of its humongous size and incredible enigma. Every single day, scientists all across the globe discover and classify new species of plants and animals, and sometimes even confirm species that were thought to be extinct. The giant squid was largely considered to be a myth until advances in science and technology allowed us to start observing them in their natural habitat deep below sea. To date, a colossal “sea monster” capable of pulling a war galley under water has yet to be confirmed, but given the timeline of these creatures’ discovery, it’s certainly not out of the question to speculate there could actually be something of that size deep in the ocean. We’ve observed injuries on whales that are congruent with the 30+ meter creatures of legend. This observation could serve evidence that these creatures are indeed alive – what else would cause suction-cup rips on whales that are 10-30 meters themselves?
So if a beast like the giant squid exists, what else could be down there? Consider this: The Marianas Trench is the deepest hole in all the world’s oceans. Until fairly recently, we lacked the technology to explore it, and to date, haven’t done a lot of research on it (in comparison with, say, NASA’s Curiosity Project on Mars). We know so little about the ocean, much of it has yet to truly be discovered. This introduces plausibility that a gargantuan creature such as a Megalodon, a massive prehistoric shark, could successfully hide from human eyes. Over the centuries, there have been a few reports of Megalodon sightings off the coasts of South Africa, Brazil, and Australia — all prime spots for Great White sharks, which are currently considered to be the ocean’s apex predator. In 1918, Australian Biologist David Stead documented a crew of fisherman who had seen a shark so monstrous, they vowed to never return to sea. They described the shark as being “30 to 90 meters long and pure white in color.” The large range in the description makes the report seem sketchy, (as Megalodons did not grow to 180 feet), but perhaps the horror of what they had seen had caused them to distort its size. In any case, even at the lowest end of the two numbers, it would still put the shark at 4-5 times the size of a Great White Shark.
These speculations put an interesting perspective on the science of cryptozoology- the study of animals that may or may not exist. In 1938, a Coelacanth was caught in the wild off the coast of South Africa. This 2-meter fish was thought to have gone extinct during the Cretaceous period. Since its rediscovery, a second Coelacanth species has been discovered in Indonesia in 1999. The Oarfish was also thought to be a myth until one washed ashore in Mexico in 2012. Suddenly cryptozoology isn’t the wacky pseudoscience it was once made out to be. The Coelacanth is just one of many prehistoric species falsely thought to be extinct.
In 1997, NOAA detected a series of bizarre sonar disturbances, an incident commonly referred to as “bloop.” Whatever “bloop” was, it was non-mechanical, non man-made, and much, much larger than a blue whale. We know so little about the ocean, how can we possibly speculate or deny what it was or wasn’t?
The ocean is a dark, deep, mysterious void full of wonders yet to be explored. In 2011, National Geographic speculated 86% of earth’s species have yet to be classified. This could include some of the largest, scariest animals Mother Nature has ever spawned.
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