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New record-holder for deepest-swimming fish: a tissue paper snot-thing

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'It's so weird-looking; it's up in the air in terms of what it is'

A fish that scientists say they've never seen before now holds the title of "deepest-swimming fish," reports the BBC. Researchers filmed the creature at a depth of about 26,700 feet (8,145 meters) beneath the ocean's surface in the Mariana Trench — a depth that's dangerously close to the limit at which scientists think fish aren't able to survive.

"We think it is a snailfish, but it's so weird-looking; it's up in the air in terms of what it is," Alan Jamieson, a deep-sea researcher at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, told the BBC. The researchers saw it in the Mariana Trench "at more than 8,000 meters," he said, "and we think it's a new species."

University of Aberdeen / YouTube

Prior to the researchers' expedition, the deepest-swimming fish was a gelatinous snailfish from Japan. It was recorded at a depth of about 25,000 feet. But the video produced by scientists in the Mariana Trench shows a "weird-looking" creature at an even greater depth around the 1:45 mark, swimming among small shrimp-like amphipods.

"it looks like it has wet tissue paper floating behind it."

Because the researchers didn't manage to capture the specimen, it'll be some time before we know if it belongs to a new species. But the fact that they have footage of this odd-looking "deepest-swimming fish" is pretty fortunate; scientists can use it to characterize it superficially before it ever makes it out of water.

"It is unbelievably fragile, and when it swims, it looks like it has wet tissue paper floating behind it," Jamieson told the BBC. "And it has a weird snout — it looks like a cartoon dog snout."