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We actually know very little about the ocean depths that cover 70% of our planet. The deepest, darkest depths of the oceans still hold 95% of their secrets. That far down, it is hard to believe there could be anything actually alive down there.
But way down in the cold and dark, where the hydrothermal vents spout superheated water into frigid depths, living creatures live and thrive. One of these creatures, a type of snail known as Chrysomallon squamiferum,is carefully guarding its survival superpowers.
This little scaly-footed gastropod has adapted some remarkable tools for surviving in his world, way down in the bottom of the oceans.
His shell is actually covered in a layer of iron. The frilly scales extending from beneath his iron helmet are made of mineralized iron sulfide. He is wearing a suit of armor, just like a knight of old.
The remainder of his shell is made of pyrite, a mineral commonly known as fools gold. His shell is MAGNETIC. He gets the metals used for the shell from the mineral-rich hydrothermal undersea vents where he makes his home.
The suit of armor these guys sport is so impressive that the United States military is studying it. It is hoped that these supersnails can help develop a new protective technology for soldiers and vehicles.
These snails were first discovered in 2001. They live about 1.25 miles down in the Indian Ocean.
It is hard to believe the U.S. Military would take advice from a snail on how to build a better protective system for their soldiers. But you have to admit, these little snails are amazing. The fact that they exist begs the question:
What else is down there that we don't know about?