Reviews and syntheses: the first records of deep-sea fauna – a correction and discussion
- Naturhistorisches Museum, Augustinergasse 2, 4001 Basel, Switzerland
Abstract. The soundings in deep waters of Baffin Bay, together with the recovery of a basket star by John Ross in 1818, was a milestone in the history of deep-sea research. Although the alleged water depths of up to 1950 m were by far not reached, these were nevertheless the first soundings in deep bathyal (to perhaps uppermost abyssal) depths. Furthermore, the recovery of a benthic animal proved that animal life existed at great depths. Yet this was not the first published record of deep-sea fauna as it is often portrayed. This merit goes to accidental catches of the stalked crinoid Cenocrinus asterius that were recovered with fishing lines from upper bathyal environments near Antillean islands. In addition, the description of several deep-sea fishes considerably predated the John Ross episode.