When I think about things lurking in the deep, deep sea, I'm thinking dragons. I'm thinking Gyrados from Pokémon slithering around or Godzilla sleeping in the depths or something similarly humungous that has adapted to survive the unthinkable pressure of living at the bottom of the ocean that will eventually rise up and eat us all for a light snack (herein lies my deep-seated fear of snorkeling). What very few of us were expecting to find was an unidentified species of fish five miles deep into the ocean that looks rather like a snail. In fact, it's downright adorable and I've already named it Gary (for obvious reasons).
Gary was found earlier this month in the Mariana Trench below the Pacific Ocean, by a team at the Oceanlab at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Scientists are almost certain that it is a type of snailfish, although what is more surprising than that is the mere fact that they found anything that deep in the water, where they previously suspected the amount of pressure would not sustain any life. Before they found this fish, the record was held at 7,700 meters by another snailfish in Japan; this little guy beats him out at a cool 8,145 meters, and doesn't seem to mind the water crushing down on him one smidge.
The reason fish can live that far under the surface is due to a protein called osmolyte, which can stabilize macromolecules turns these critters into certifiable badasses. Scientists have used the osmolyte to predict that the lowest depth a fish can survive is 8,200 meters, which puts this new species pretty close to the edge. The research team that found Gary is particularly set on finding another one of his species so that they can collect it and better understand the mechanisms that allow them to live at such depths. If you watch the video that they have of him, you'll see that he might not be all that hard to spot: the fish is white and translucent, and looks reminiscent of a ghostly crawfish.