The Taam Ja' Blue Hole sits underwater in Chetumal Bay, Mexico

Discovery of the World's Deepest Underwater Sinkhole

In a groundbreaking discovery, researchers have identified what is now considered the world's deepest underwater sinkhole, located off the coast of Mexico. This remarkable geological feature which reaches depths exceeding 1,300 feet (420 meters) could potentially house hidden caves and tunnels, offering new insights into Earth's subterranean mysteries.

Mimic octopus in Mozambique

First-ever sighting of mimic octopus in Mozambique

Unlike any other member of its species, the mimic octopus excels in the art of disguise. It possesses the remarkable capability to alter its shape, hue, and behavior to resemble various marine organisms, including lionfish, flatfish, sea snakes, and more. This extraordinary talent serves not only as a spectacle but also as a survival strategy, aiding the octopus in confounding predators and capturing prey.

Palaeohypotodus bizzocoi tooth.
Palaeohypotodus bizzocoi tooth. /McWane Science Center.

Scientists discover fossilized remains of new ancient shark species

Palaeohypotodus, pronounced pale-ee-oh-hype-oh-toe-duss, translates to "ancient small-eared tooth," a reference to the shark's distinctive small needle-like fangs found on the sides of its teeth. Spearheaded by Jun Ebersole, Director of Collections at McWane Science Center in Birmingham, alongside David Cicimurri, Curator of Natural History at South Carolina State Museum, and T. Lynn Harrell, Jr., Paleontologist and Fossil Collections Curator at the Geological Survey of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the team named the new species in honour of the late Dr.

Origins of vertebrates may be pushed back by 500-million-year-old sea squirt fossil

In 2019, paleontologist Karma Nanglu from Harvard University received a finger-sized fossil. The specimen had originated from a fossil-rich stratum of Cambrian limestone in western Utah, and had been kept in a drawer at a Salt Lake City museum for years.

Upon hearing that there could be a very old tunicate, Nanglu expressed excitement interlaced with caution: "That's a group for which there is essentially no fossil record for the entire 500 million years of recorded history."

Samples of carbonate rocks from the Del Mar East Methane Seep Field, USA
Samples of carbonate rocks from the Del Mar East Methane Seep Field, USA

Deep-sea bacteria release carbon into the atmosphere

Researchers made the discovery when they studied sulfur-oxidising bacteria in methane seeps on the ocean floor at the Del Mar East Methane Seep Field, USA. These seeps contain collections of limestone that trap large amounts of carbon.

They then observed that in the process of oxidising sulfur, the bacteria creates an acidic reaction that dissolves the rocks and this causes the carbon trapped inside the limestone to be released.

Their findings was published in the The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology

The coral sanctuary is a wildlife hotspot, teeming with spinner dolphins (shown in this archive photo) and boasting rare species, including prehistoric fish and dugongs.

Flourishing coral sanctuary discovered off East Africa

The coral sanctuary is a wildlife hotspot where species are thriving despite warming events that have killed their neighbours

The coral refuge, which stretches from Shimoni, 50 miles south of Mombasa, in Kenya to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, is fed by cool water from deep channels formed thousands of years ago by glacial runoff from Kilimanjaro and the Usambara mountains. Outside that area, the corals are bleached and dying. But inside the area, of around 400 sq km [150 sq miles] they retain their colour and their health.