Oil Spill May Wipe Out Just Discovered Species

Little pancake batfish could be first victim
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jun 17, 2010 1:25 AM CDT
The pancake batfish could be the first species to bite dust in the BP oil spill   (?Thespis377)

(Newser) – Just months after scientists celebrated the discovery of a bizarre new ocean species it's already facing being obliterated by the BP oil spill. The Louisiana pancake batfish, or halieutichthys aculeatus, could be the first victim of the Gulf catastrophe. The tiny blob of a fish, with bulbous eyes and foot-like fins that the creature uses to hop across the sand, lives 1,500 feet beneath the ocean's surface. "They're like a pancake with feet. They're bizarre for what they look like and how they behave," ichthyologist Prosanta Chakrabartyone tells CNN.

The loss of even one small species to the spill is rattling scientists worried about massive environmental destruction. "All of life on earth is a big book. All the extinct things are pages that are torn out of that book that muddle our history," Chakrabarty said. "If we lose the pancake batfish, we're losing a big part of evolutionary history."

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