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Nature meets Philosophy: What is living in the depths of the seas?

I’ve always had a bit of a fear for vast masses of water. I can handle a small lake or shallow river, but those seas and extremely deep lakes that reach depths of hundreds or thousands of meters, I find those really scary. Because who knows what creatures live in those depths!

The deepest parts of the seas are areas still largely unknown to us humans. We have studied many parts of the oceans and lakes on this earth, but there are certain places we simply cannot reach so easily. Those places are so remote, so dark or so far below the surface, even if we would be able to reach them, it would be very hard to study and understand the organisms living there. So because of all that, we really don’t know what could be living in the very depths of the oceans.

Of course we all know the stories of Nessie, the monster of Loch Ness in Scotland. The rumours already started back in the 7th century and have made an appearance every now and then. It is said a large, dinosaur-like animal would be living in the waters of the very deep loch (the lake formed in the valley between two mountains). The lake is the largest in volume in Great Britain, so could easily harbour such an animal. But as there is not yet any solid evidence of a large moving thing in the deep lake, it could just as well be a rumour supported by misidentifications and wishful-thinking.

whale tail

It does makes one wonder at the underwater world in deep waters, though. Is it just our fear of the unknown that creates these monsters, or could they actually exist? We don’t know. I’m absolutely sure our fear has something to do with it. I experienced that myself when swimming in the Mediterranean Sea at night. We went swimming to see the fluorescent algae in the water, but as soon as I lost contact with the sea floor, it felt like I was being surrounded by an enormous, threatening mass of dark water. Well, the water was dark, but even though there was probably only a couple of metres of water between me and the sea floor, in my mind I began picturing all kinds of scary animals that could be swimming right underneath me. No wonder people start imagining such things when there are hundreds, or even thousands, of metres of water below them.

The studying of animals that are thought to exist, but that have not yet been found with solid proof, is called cryptozoology. Among those so-called cryptic animals are Nessie, several other lake monsters and some beasts hinted to be living in the oceans. As some of the animals previously thought to be cryptic species appeared to actually exist, there could still be hope for our underwater giants.

jellyfish

I’m not trying to defend any of the many, many, ghost stories about strange animals living in the waters, as most of them are just false reports or proven to originate from glimpses of already known animals. But I would like to make you think about the large masses of water, too dark for us to investigate and with too much water pressure to assume much living organisms. What if there were certain beasts or crazy plants or who knows what forms of life that have found ways to cope with that environment? We don’t know, and that is just so extremely fascinating.

And whether they exist or not, the large monsters of the seas have inspired many books, plays, movies and ghost stories over the centuries. That is worth something too, right?

Do you think there could be large animals living in the depths of the seas?

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2 Comments

  • Reply Leven om te Eten

    De zee heeft echt iets enorm magisch, vooral omdat we er zo veel hebben maar tegelijkertijd zo weinig weten van wat er allemaal leeft in die diepe krochten. Ik zelf heb nog maar weinig in de zee gezwommen, maar ik kan je paniekmomentje voorstellen. Ik had het zelf op een vakantie in Valencia waar best een sterke stroming stond en op gegeven moment raakte ik wel iets te ver af van het strand en ik kwam met moeite terug in het ‘veilige’ gedeelte. Zo poeh, en dan was je maar een aantal meters verwijderd van het strand, laat staan als je echt midden in de zee zit.

    17/02/16 at 11:43
    • Reply Inge

      Precies, er is zo veel water op de wereld! En oef, vastkomen in zo’n stroming lijkt me ook allesbehalve fijn. Jeetje, dan ben je ook opgelucht als je weer veilig op de wal staat lijkt me.

      17/02/16 at 19:12

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