New species found under the Antarctic

That evolution shapes the nature of organisms depending on their environment is well known. But we may think that we have explored pretty much all the Earth and thus encountered all the variety that exists. So it is interesting when previously unknown regions of the Earth that have vastly different environments from those we are familiar with reveal new kinds of organisms.

Just recently new species were found that live in the waters under the Antarctic and they are fascinating.

The rare species were found by Dr Susanne Lockhart, an Antarctic biologist who visited the seafloor in a submarine last month as part of a scientific expedition organised by campaigning organisation Greenpeace.

She said she had “found an incredible diversity of animal life on the seafloor.”

“Bryozoans and hydroids also carpet the seabed, making it look like a wondrous garden. Feather stars and their relatives decorate enormous vase shaped glass sponges. And icefish and octopus can be found hiding if you look carefully enough. Even the water column was teeming with a surprising diversity of life.”

Here are some examples.

Nature never ceases to surprise us and that is what makes science a source of endless fascination. Charles Darwin’s famous closing passage in On The Origin of Species always comes to my mind when I encounter these new discoveries.

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.


  1. Mano Singham says


    On The Origin of Species is an interesting book. There are passages of great lucidity, others that quite lyrical like the one I quoted, mixed with sections that are turgid and hard to read. This is likely because he wrote it in a great hurry and did not really have time to polish it.

  2. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    The Origin is also a boring book, because so much verbiage is needed to avoid trouble with the religious bigots of the time. For a modern reader it could be cut to less than 100 pages without losing anything important.

  3. jrkrideau says

    @ 3 Lassi Hippeläinen

    The Origin is also a boring book, because so much verbiage is needed to avoid trouble with the religious bigots of the time.

    Possibly but the theory was not particularly outrageous for the times.

    This is not an area and time that I am particularly familiar with but my impression is that the theory annoyed some religious people and was accepted by others.

    Here is a short paper on the reception of Of the Origin of the Species. I get no impression that the situation was such that Darwin was writing to “avoid trouble with the religious bigots of the time” at least in Britain. My impression is that the “religious bigots” came later and were mainly of US origin.

    I would attribute much of, what to us is excess verbiage, to the Victorian British writing style. A good Victorian writer would never use one word when they could use ten, usually in amazingly long sentences. Most of them had been trained in Latin and had constructed “periodic sentences” and it shows.

    I have mislaid my best example of this but here is a paragraph from pg. 1 of A. Conan Doyle’s A STUDY IN SCARLET and the story is a mystery!

    It has 151 words with four sentences with a mean sentence length of 37.75 words. They don’t write them like that anymore.

    Worn with pain, and weak from the prolonged hardships which I had undergone, I was removed, with a great train of wounded sufferers, to the base hospital at Peshawar. Here I rallied, and had already improved so far as to be able to walk about the wards, and even to bask a little upon the verandah, when I was struck down by enteric fever, that curse of our Indian possessions. For months my life was despaired of, and when at last I came to myself and became convalescent, I was so weak and emaciated that a medical board determined that not a day should be lost in sending me back to England. I was dispatched, accordingly, in the troopship Orontes, and landed a month later on Portsmouth jetty, with my health irretrievably ruined, but with permission from a paternal government to spend the next nine months in attempting to improve it.

  4. jrkrideau says

    I just thought as a quick comparison I’d look at the first paragraph in Mano’s post here.

    Three sentences, total number of words = 62, mean number of words = 20.67. The longest sentence at 27 words is 2 less than Doyle’s shortest sentence at 29.

  5. Mano Singham says


    I have a bad habit of writing long, run-on sentences. I have to really work hard to stop myself from doing so.

  6. jrkrideau says

    @ 7 Mano
    I have a bad habit of writing long, run-on sentences.

    Nonsense. They are not long, run-on sentences. They are perfectly well-crafted, cogent and coherent sentences. It is not the length, well within reason, (see below for Cicero’s periodic sentence), but the ability to properly construct the sentence that is important. BTW, did you study Latin?

    Have another look at that paragraph of Doyle’s that I supplied. There is nothing run-on there. It is just good writing and more than easily comprehended.

    This passion for short sentences seems to have arisen from the unfortunate fact that students do not have the training to produce a longer sentence that is not gibberish. (Ouch 29 words).

    I have a friend who teaches history and one can hear the occasional howl of agony as he grades papers. Some students think that a long sentence will make them look more knowledgeable. Unfortunately none of them understand sentence structure well enough to produce anything but long, run-on sentences.

    A poor writer can be incoherent in 12 words, a good writer, excellent with 50.

    The Cicero example below has 161 words in English. Unfortunately I have not found the original Latin but, from distant memories of Latin classes, I would guess than the Latin text would be one-third to one-half the length. In a sentence such as the one below, Latin can be incredibly compact.


    Although it must be true, my son Marcus, that you, having heard now for a year the philosopher Cratippus in person, and that in Athens, must abound in precepts and principles of philosophy on account of the depth and deep learning of the teacher and of the city, the one of whom is able to augment you by knowledge, the other by examples, however, as I myself have for my own benefit joined Latin studies with Greek studies and not did I do this in philosophy only, but also in the discipline of forensic training, I maintain that same this should be done by you, so that you may be equal in the faculty of each language, indeed, by which thing, as it seems to us, we have rendered a signal service to our countrymen, so that not only those who cannot read Greek, but even the learned suppose they have gained something both in relation to oratorical training but in mental training.

  7. jrkrideau says

    Aha, got it.

    Quamquam te, Marce fili, annum iam audientem Cratippum idque Athenis abundare oportet praeceptis institutisque philosophiae propter summam et doctoris auctoritatem et urbis, quorum alter te scientia augere potest, altera exemplis, tamen, ut ipse ad meam utilitatem semper cum Graecis Latina coniunxi neque id in philosophia solum, sed etiam in dicendi exercitatione feci, idem tibi censeo faciendum, ut par sis in utriusque orationis facultate. Quam quidem ad rem nos, ut videmur, magnum attulimus adiumentum hominibus nostris, ut non modo Graecarum litterarum rudes, sed etiam docti aliquantum se arbitrentur adeptos et ad dicendum et ad iudicandum.

    Although this version suggests two sentences which may be a modern conceit, but only 94 words in two sentences as opposed to 161 in English.

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