Four New Tiny Sea Monster Species Found Off Scotland

It's no giant squid, but what the latest discovery in marine biology lacks in excitement for the layperson it makes up for in sheer quantity. Researchers studying the deep waters off the coast of Scotland have discovered four new species. Spoiler alert: they're all pretty slimy.

It's hard to get too excited about the mere existence of sea snails (Volutopsius scotiae), marine worms (unnamed, but from genus Antonbrunnia), and two kinds of clam (Thyasira scotiae and Isorropodon mackayi), even if they are totally new to human knowledge. But even if the creatures themselves are a little mundane, it's hard not to get excited about what they mean.

The species were all found near a "cold seep" on the ocean floor, where methane and other hydrocarbons emerge from the earth into the freezing depths. The gases appear to have resulted in habitats remarkably similar to those found near hot hydrothermal vents. Said the director of Scotland's World Wildlife Foundation branch, if speculation about the similarities is true, "this is no less important a discovery as the much better known hydrothermal vents found in other parts of the world."

So, have scientists finally found the two opposing forces keeping the powers of the earth in check, or is it all just a coincidence? Whichever answer proves to be true, look forward to more slimy sea creatures in the near future.

[image, of a different species of clam, via AP]