Scientists drill a hole in the mysterious seafloor to probe DNA

Mysterious pores found on the ocean floor by marine researchers are scrutinized for DNA to determine what created these strange, regularly spaced features.

In July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said lines of holes had been found on the ocean floor at depths of about 8,300 feet above the surface of the Atlantic.

The photos posted by the agency showed a series of holes neatly spaced apart in a straight line. Another characteristic of the holes is that they appear to be surrounded by small deposits of sediment, which suggests that they were excavated.

The researchers were so surprised that they appealed to the public As for the possible explanation, that ranged from escaping gases to aliens.

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To find out for sure, NOAA researchers took water samples from the area in the hope that they would find some environmental DNA—fish scales or mucus, for example—that could point to animal origin.

“It’s useful because animals shed DNA in their environment, and you can sequence it and sometimes you can find out which animals are nearby,” said Mike Vecchione, a research zoologist at NOAA Fisheries National Systematics Laboratory. Told newsweek, “But it will be a couple of weeks, probably, before we get the answer. I don’t know if the answer will tell us anything about what caused the hole.”

A photo of some of the mysterious underwater holes seen in the Atlantic Ocean during a 2022 NOAA visit. Scientists are working to determine their origin.
NOAA Ocean Exploration, Voyage to the Ridge 2022

Vecchione, who discovered a similar phenomenon during a 6,800-foot dive along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in 2004, believes an animal is the most likely cause, as evidenced by geological activity, or of course, aliens. is opposite. One reason for this is because similar things have been observed in the fossil record, he said.

However, this is only part of the puzzle. Even if an animal was the cause, it is unclear how it might have created the holes in the first place, or what purpose they would have served.

“I think what’s going on is that something is buried beneath the surface of the soil and periodically elevating the chimneys, perhaps to bring clean water into their burrows and make it more habitable.” for,” Vecchione said.

Underwater Hole
Another angle of the underwater vents as seen during the 2022 NOAA campaign. One theory is that the holes were made by some animal or animal.
NOAA Ocean Exploration, Voyage to the Ridge 2022

“The other option is that something on top of the sediment is repeatedly sliding downhill, like a shorebird does. If you see the waves peeking along on the beach, they’ll follow along and make their burrows. Down in the sediment to try and find things to eat. I don’t think it’s like that, because we never see a track next to these lines. Somebody suggested that this fish is swimming, Or some other creature floating up from the bottom and falling down like that, which is a possibility.

“There are many other suggestions, and right now we don’t have too much information to rule out any of them.”

However, Vecchione said these suggestions still do not explain why the holes in their gap have such a “remarkable” regularity.

Bill Chadwick is a senior researcher at the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center with expertise in geology and volcanology. They told newsweek He has made several remote dives but “never seen anything like these holes.”

“I would agree … that they are most likely biological and were created by an animal working in a straight line for some reason by being buried in some kind of tunnel from below or perhaps digging from above to below. ,” They said. “It’s a bit of a head-scratcher though.”

Chadwick added other mysterious underwater holes, also found in the fossil record and around the world, that have been observed before, but in a hexagonal pattern rather than a straight line. “Similarly, though, people have no idea what makes up those hexagonal bills!” They said.

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