Professor Discovers New Species of Deep-Sea Fish that Predate Dinosaurs

Saint Mary's College professor Douglas Long was part of a team of researchers who this year identified two new species of deep-sea fish: unusual-looking shark ancestors that broke off on their own evolutionary path more than 320 million years ago, according to an article that ran in the Contra Costa Times and the San Jose Mercury News.

The creatures, named the Galapagos and whitespot ghost sharks, were found more than 1,200 feet underwater near the Galapagos Islands in 1995, sucked through a vacuum tube into a research submarine, according to the article. Long and his team spent more than a decade making sure they were new species before publishing their results in the journal Zootaxa in October and December.

"They've been on their own branch of the evolutionary tree since well before the dinosaurs," said Long, who has taught biology at Saint Mary's since 1994.