It was a bonus Christmas present for marine scientists in Scotland who've announced that a handful of the array of deep ocean creatures found at the 'cold seep' methane gas vent in the North Atlantic - namely a large sea snail and two clams - have been confirmed as species new to science.
One of the clams, Thyasira scotiae, and the sea snail Volutopsius scotiae have been named after the research vessel MRV Scotia, while the clam Isorropodon mackayi is named in tribute to mollusc expert David Mackay. A marine worm also discovered is as yet unnamed pending examination.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Rockall vent and its surrounds were discovered by scientists last year and since explored on a number of occasions - their findings prompting the International Convention on the Exploration of the Seas to recommend a ban on fishing in the area around the Rockall basin, 260 miles west of the Hebrides.
The new discoveries come in the same year as Irish researchers celebrate the discovery of an amazing new undersea world in the Whittard Canyon on the Irish Atlantic margin, containing larger than average molluscs that may be up to 200 years old.