This story was first published on January 12, 2005
Perhaps because the creatures depicted are so interesting and unusual, this set of images continues to circulate many years after it first appeared online.
As noted below, the images are genuine. However, the descriptions that usually accompany the images is untrue.
The original version of the message, which began circulating in January 2005, claimed that the creatures were washed ashore as a result of the Southeast Asian tsunami of December 2004.
A later version of the message claimed that the strange deep-sea creatures featured in the accompanying photographs were brought to the surface as a result of the devastating tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011.
However, neither claim is true. In fact, the photographs were circulating online months before the 2004 tsunami struck.
The creatures depicted in the photographs are real but they have no connection whatsoever to either tsunami.
The pictures were taken during the NORFANZ scientific research voyage undertaken during May and June 2003.
Information about the voyage published on Australia’s Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities explained:
NORFANZ was a joint Australian-New Zealand research voyage carrying leading Australian, New Zealand and other international scientists to explore deep sea habitats and biodiversity in the Tasman Sea.
The scientists explored deep sea habitats around seamounts and abyssal plains around Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands through to northern New Zealand. Australia’s National Oceans Office (now part of the Marine Division of the Department of the Environment and Heritage) and the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries each committed half a million dollars to the four-week voyage.
The voyage collected biodiversity samples, DNA tissue samples, seabed habitat data, photographs and video on seamounts at depths between 200 metres and 1.2 kilometres, and surveyed free-swimming animals that live in the water masses above and around these seamounts.
The main objective of the expedition was to provide baseline information on the nature and potential vulnerability of these unique habitats and their biodiversity.
The results have given us a much better understanding of the species that live on and around the deep seamounts and ridges throughout the Tasman Sea.
The photographs can be viewed in their original context by visiting the NORFANZ Creature Feature pages.
Subject: Phuket Deep Sea Creatures – Found At Seaside After TSUNAMI
As everyone knows, the tsunami in Southeast Asia was devastating both in the loss of life and economically to the region. However now that the clean up is underway in the region, deep sea creatures that live too deep to be studied are being found scattered throughout the wreckage. These creatures were washed up on shore when the waves hit.
Amazing what lives so far below the surface isn’t it? It is ironic how terrible human tragedy and natural disaster can lead to unprecedented expansion of scientific knowledge.
The theory is the tsunami created enough vertical currents to sweep these deep living creatures to the surface quickly. The gases in their blood expanded rapidly causing death (like divers ascending too quickly).
Subject: Creatures Found At Seaside After JAPAN TSUNAMI
Everyone knows, the tsunami in Japan was devastating, both in the loss of life and economically to the region. However, now that the cleanup is underway in the region, deep sea creatures that live too deep to be studied are being found scattered throughout the wreckage. These creatures were washed up on shore when the waves hit.
Editor’s Note: The message came with the same series of photographs that are shown in the example above.