When researchers from Southampton University sent the Kiel 6000 underwater robot down into the depths of the South West Indian Ridge in the Indian Ocean near a volcanic vent, they thought they would find creatures much like those near vents in the Atlantic or central Indian Oceans. But here they found more.
The Telegraph reports these vents, known as black smokers, were crawling with yeti crabs, scaly-foot snails and sea cucumbers, among other creatures. The researchers think some could be new species.
Watch footage taken by the robot:
The Telegraph reports Jon Copley, a lead scientist on the Indian Ocean vents protect for the university, as calling this vent "a real crossroads in terms of the vent species".
As of right now, there are two known species of yeti crabs (Related: How the yeti crab farms food) and Copley said the one they found at the South West Indian Ridge was unlike either of them. He also said they found sea cucumbers that are usually found near Pacific Ocean vents.
The Australian reports that the team found 17 different species at the vent 2.7 kilometers below the ocean surface and will be analyzing their DNA and making other anatomical observations of specimens in the lab. According to BBC, the scientists have been surprised by the diversity found at this vent.