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View Full Version : Is there much unexplored ocean (or land)?



Fruitbat
06-11-2014, 01:10 PM
So, don't laugh at my question. Or okay, do laugh at it then. :)

Wondering if there's much of the ocean depths that haven't been explored (or remote places on land, although that seems less likely).

How possible do you think it is that there are a few large creatures around? Maybe ones we thought were extinct or that some legends are based on, like the Loch Ness monster, etc.?

J.Emerson
06-11-2014, 02:30 PM
More than 90% of the ocean is unexplored. That figure is much higher obviously for land, though there are definitely places scientifically unexplored in deserts and jungles and Greenland/Antarctica.

Koschei
06-11-2014, 03:20 PM
We've explored about 5-7% of the ocean. I'm a marine biologist so I can't really say for land but it is entirely possible that there are species lurking in the deep that were thought to be extinct. It has even been hypothesised that Megalodon might still be down there somewhere (but there's barely any evidence to support this; it's just speculation, really). To my knowledge, no one has ever seen a giant squid first hand but we know they're down there.

Helix
06-11-2014, 03:24 PM
People have seen giant squid -- both Architeuthis and Mesonychoteuthis. There are specimens all over the place.

waylander
06-11-2014, 03:25 PM
Isn't there a legend about a large swamp-living creature in Congo?

Ken
06-11-2014, 03:25 PM
a recent quote from the news summed it up nicely
"we have better maps of the moon and Mars than of the ocean floor"

williemeikle
06-11-2014, 03:41 PM
Up until 2008 it was thought there were only around 100,000 Western Lowland Gorillas left. Then they went into a new area of the Congo and found 125,000 more of them. So the potential for big finds is still there, even on land.

Koschei
06-11-2014, 03:44 PM
People have seen giant squid -- both Architeuthis and Mesonychoteuthis. There are specimens all over the place.
Sorry, should have specified, I meant no one had seen it live in its own habitat. After looking into it, though, that's no longer the case as one was captured on film in 2012.
My bad.

King Neptune
06-11-2014, 04:31 PM
How possible do you think it is that there are a few large creatures around? Maybe ones we thought were extinct or that some legends are based on, like the Loch Ness monster, etc.?

Mokèlé-mbèmbé may still be in and around Lake Teele in the Congo. There have been attempts to catch one, but no one has brought one back alive; although there is a great deal of indirect evidence that it is there.

Search "crypto zoology", and you will find inform about other animals that may exist.

Just recently it was announced that some number of hundreds or thousands of previously undescribed species had been found along the Mekong River.

Fruitbat
06-11-2014, 05:07 PM
How wonderful! Thanks everyone so far. :)

buirechain
06-11-2014, 05:15 PM
Wikipedia has a list of recently discovered megafauna, check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_megafauna_discovered_in_modern_times
It includes sublists for animals once believed either to be hoaxes or to be extinct.

The most recent example of land megafauna is a nearly 2 foot long monkey (unless you could the tail, then its 4 1/2 feet) called the Myanmar Snub nosed monkey, discovered in 2010. Okay, so that's not exactly Nessie size, but it's not small either.

I'm guessing the list is incomplete, but I bet just checking out some of the stories behind those discoveries would give you some good ideas.

Helix
06-11-2014, 05:17 PM
Very few large species have been described recently, especially mammals. There was a flurry of new large mammals from South America (particularly Brazil) last year -- most notably a tapir, but also the olinguito. There were some other species, but I can't remember what they were!

But these weren't unknown. They were known both to the local people and to biologists, but they were very similar to described species, so had gone unrecognised.

New species of small animals are being discovered every day.

Alessandra Kelley
06-11-2014, 05:17 PM
Isn't there a legend about a large swamp-living creature in Congo?

Possibly.

There is a massive peat bog in Congo-Brazzaville -- a bog the size of England! -- discovered only earlier this year: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-27492949

Bing Z
06-11-2014, 05:44 PM
"Godzilla? Huge shark eaten by mystery sea monster, according to scientists" (06/09/2014)

http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/godzilla-huge-shark-eaten-by-mystery-sea-monster-according-to-scientists/story-fnjwkt0b-1226947396017

Helix
06-11-2014, 05:59 PM
"Godzilla? Huge shark eaten by mystery sea monster, according to scientists" (06/09/2014)

http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/godzilla-huge-shark-eaten-by-mystery-sea-monster-according-to-scientists/story-fnjwkt0b-1226947396017


Well, probably another shark (http://deepseanews.com/2014/06/what-ate-a-3-meter-long-great-white-probably-a-wereshark/), which is what they say in the article too.

Shadow_Ferret
06-11-2014, 06:03 PM
I thought I recently read where they've just discovered the runes of some lost ancient cities in either central or south America.

williemeikle
06-11-2014, 06:10 PM
I thought I recently read where they've just discovered the runes of some lost ancient cities in either central or south America.

"runes of some lost ancient cities" has given me a story idea, so thanks for that typo...

Kylabelle
06-11-2014, 06:15 PM
:D

I read a number of years ago that there are valleys in the Himalayas which are so unapproachable that no human had ever set foot there. I am not sure if this is still true, but how wonderful, if so!

WeaselFire
06-11-2014, 09:15 PM
How possible do you think it is that there are a few large creatures around? Maybe ones we thought were extinct or that some legends are based on, like the Loch Ness monster, etc.?
No new land mammal over 10 pounds has been discovered in recent times. Many have been "discovered" by reclassifying what were thought to be known species, but nothing new has been found.

One indicator that any new discoveries are unlikely is the lack of supporting habitat. Sure there are tons of spaces we've never been. But similarly, those places are not interesting because they have no known ability to support larger life forms.

Now, what do you need for your story?

Jeff

wendymarlowe
06-11-2014, 09:59 PM
Depends on what you mean by "unexplored." There are certainly plenty of places on land (and most of the ocean) where no human that we know of has ever actually physically been, but that doesn't mean we don't have a pretty good idea what is there - we've got satellite imagery as well as various magnetic/geologic/etc. kinds of ways to "see" large swaths of the Earth. In story terms, this means you might be able to get away with finding an undiscovered animal or having a small nomadic tribe living somewhere hard to find, but suddenly finding Atlantis or Shangri-La is a bit more implausible :-)

bellabar
06-13-2014, 03:43 PM
And sometimes even when we think we've explored it, things change and it all gets unexplored again.
"Australian scientists un-discover pacific island"
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-22/australian-scientists-un-discover-pacific-island/4387012

King Neptune
06-13-2014, 04:19 PM
And sometimes even when we think we've explored it, things change and it all gets unexplored again.
"Australian scientists un-discover pacific island"
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-22/australian-scientists-un-discover-pacific-island/4387012

That's not surprising. There are a fair nyumber of atolls that have slipped beneath the waves within historical times, and the is the normal fate of atolls.

ajaye
06-13-2014, 04:34 PM
A lot of New Guinea is still unexplored by scientists.