A group of marine scientists just got back from a science-type voyage with a bunch of totally bizarre, creepily beautiful new species. Wanna see 'em?

You want to know what is cool? The ocean, that's what's cool. A six-week trip in the Atlantic turned up tons of new species, some of which may be "close to the missing link in evolution between backboned and invertebrate animals," and all of which look like the kind of thing you encounter on serious psychotropics. Here are ten of them, beautifully photographed by David Shale. We named them all, to encourage you to be friendly!

(To view the gallery on a single page, click here.)


[University of Aberdeen via Discover; pics courtesy of David Shale]


This is Geoffrey, the acorn worm of the southern purple variety. He is a scavenger from the North Atlantic.

Like Geoffrey, Raoul here is an acorn worm, but of the northern pink variety. Raoul and Geoffrey, who lack brains or sense organs but have "the primitive body plan of back-boned animals," are thought to be close to the evolutionary link between vertebrae and invertebrae

Here is a comb jelly that anchors itself to the ocean floor with its tentacles. Its name is June.

A jellyfish named Keyshawn.

This basket star, which uses its tentacles to ensnare food, is named Frances.

Theo, a sea cucumber.

Another sea cucumber, coincidentally also named Theo.

Amit, our third sea cucumber.

This is Constance, a scale worm.

Hans, another acorn worm, is of the southern white variety.