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What animals live at the bottom of the Mariana Trench? © Getty Images

What animals live at the bottom of the Mariana Trench?

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It’s almost 11km down to the deepest point on the Earth’s surface so surely nothing can survive at that depth… surely?

Asked by: Claire Marshall, Reading
When Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard made the first expedition to the bottom in 1960, they reported seeing a flatfish but they didn’t take photographs, and other marine biologists now think this was probably a sea cucumber.

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No other survey has found fish deeper than 8,145m and the Mariana Trench reaches down to almost 11km. But there are shrimp-like amphipods the size of rabbits living there, and strange saucer-sized animals, called Xenophyophores. These look like coral but are actually a single cell with multiple nuclei, that feeds like an amoeba, by engulfing small particles of ocean debris.

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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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