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Asked by: Kenny Jacobs
School:Chenango Valley High School
Teacher:Michael Breed

SCUBA diving, golf, lacrosse, basketball.

Career Interest:Family business, game designer


Answered by: David Sloan Wilson
Title:Professor, Binghamton University
Department:Biology and Anthropology
About Scientist:

Ph.D. School: Michigan State University

Research area: Evolutionary Biology.



Date: 03-29-2005

Question: Is there a way that the weird fish at the deepest parts of the ocean will ever be discovered?


It's hard to imagine anything more weird than what has already been discovered! Check out this website for a gallery of photos. Do you notice how snake-like some of them appear? That's because deep-sea fish and snakes share a similar problem--they encounter prey only rarely so they must be able to catch and eat things larger than themselves. That's also why so many have luminescent "fishing lures" that they dangle in front of their mouths. Others have huge protruding fins to protect them from the gape of the big-mouthed predators. Something that you won't see in the pictures is that the males are often much, much smaller than the females. Once a male finds a female, he bites her and holds on until his lips fuse with her skin, turning him into a living appendage. I kid you not!

Another amazing discovery from the deep sea is hydrothermal vents the spew out hydrogen sulfide from the earth's interior, providing an energy source for an entire ecosystem without the need for sunlight. A new kind of hydrothermal vent was discovered only days ago. so there is still plenty of new discoveries to be made in the deep ocean.

Ask a Scientist appears Thursdays. Questions are answered by faculty at Binghamton University.  Teachers in the greater Binghamton area who wish to participate in the program are asked to write to Ask A Scientist, c/o Binghamton University, Office of Communications and Marketing, PO Box 6000, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000 or e-mail Check out the Ask a Scientist Web site at To submit a question, download the submission form(.pdf, 460kb).

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Last Updated: 6/22/10