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Sci-Tech

Scientists discover bizarre new sea squirt stalking the ocean floor

Video of the never-before-seen creature was captured at the deepest point of the Indian Ocean.

Five Deeps Expedition

The depths of the ocean have an otherworldly, alien quality to them, showcasing remarkable beauty like that seen in upside-down mirror pools and the terrifying visions of transparent Eldritch horrors.

The latest discovery, by a team of scientists and explorers currently charting the ocean's five deepest points, falls somewhere in between. 

Exploring the 4.5-mile-deep Java Trench in the Indian Ocean for the first time, Alan Jamieson, chief scientist of the Five Deeps Expedition, ran into this never-before-seen species of sea squirt, casually floating along the ocean floor. The jelly-like creature sailed along in front of the Five Deeps team's deep-sea submarine, in perfect view of the camera, displaying a blue and white balloon-like floater.

Jamieson describes it as a "stalked Ascidean," a type of sea squirt, albeit one we have never laid eyes on before.

"It is not often we see something that is so extraordinary that it leaves us speechless," Jamieson said in a statement

Having only glanced the creature of the deep for a brief moment, there's still plenty to learn about it. Could it be an all-consuming nightmare monster like the Cthulhu sea cucumber that terrorized the deep many moons ago? Or does it come in peace, bearing gifts, teaching us about the myriad ways that life can thrive in the ocean's darkest, harshest environments?

Whatever the case, my thalassophobia prevents me from finding out. Luckily, I can just watch the footage of the possibly-murderous death-balloon from the comfort of my computer chair, and so can you:

The Five Deeps Expedition is led by explorer Victor Vescovo, who has currently made three solo dives across the world, traveling deeper than 7,000 meters (about 4.35 miles) each time. 

The next dive for the team will take them to Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench -- the deepest point on Earth.