A team of researchers with the California Academy of Sciences discovered a brand new species of fish — and somehow missed a huge shark swimming right on top of them. The whole underwater encounter was caught on video. And the best part? The divers speak exclusively in chipmunk voices.
That’s because the divers use a gas mixture that lets them dive deeper than a recreational diver can, Hudson Pinheiro, an ichthyologist with the California Academy of Sciences and one of the two divers in the video, tells The Verge in an email. And that gas mixture contains helium, which is why the voices sound so squeaky. If Alvin and the Chipmunks decided to become scientific divers, this is what it would sound like.
Now, we Verge reporters are partial to a good fish video. But this one is especially charming because the researchers are so engrossed by their discovery that they completely miss their colleague and camera operator Mauritius Bell desperately trying to get them to just look at the nearly 10-foot-long sixgill shark swimming by. It was the first time a sixgill shark had been spotted in the area, and the presence of a top predator like a shark “is a sign that the ecosystem is still in a good shape,” Pinheiro says.
To be fair to Pinheiro and Luiz Rocha, the two researchers who missed the shark that was right there, they were busy nabbing a brand new species of fish — Tosanoides aphrodite — in that deep, dark reef. The team discovered it more than 400 feet underwater smack in the middle of the Atlantic. It’s a pretty cute fish with its neon pink and yellow stripes, but it’s hard to get more adorable than that chipmunk voice squeaking into the void, “Look at the shark!”
Update September 30th, 2018 5:30PM ET: Updated with comments from Hudson Pinheiro.