University professor living underwater discovers ‘new species’

The scientist plans to live underwater for 100 days.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Joseph Dituri.jpg

Last month, we reported on a University of South Florida associate professor who planned to live underwater for 100 days in order to break a world record while attempting to make himself super-human. Now, Joseph Dituri is claiming he discovered a “brand new species” during his underwater stay.

This is according to an article published by The Independent Saturday.

The former naval officer was just 30 days into his experiment when he made the striking discovery.

“We found a single-cell ciliate, a single-celled organism that we believe is a brand new species to science,” Dituri told The Independent via video chat. “People have dived in this area thousands and thousands of times – it’s been here, we just didn’t look.”

Now, the specimen will have to be examined by microbiologists to confirm whether or not it is indeed a new species. If it is, it would mark an impressive discovery for the scientist just a month into his mission.

Feeling wonderful

For the time being Dituri says he “feels wonderful” living underwater.

He is currently testing out the hypothesis that the increased pressure experienced in such conditions could lead to health improvements.

“We know for sure that when you’re exposed to about half the pressure that I am right now, you double the number of circulating stem cells,” he said. “I will have longer telomeres – potentially reversing ageing – and I will also gain bone density and muscle when I’m down here.”

The previous world record for living underwater was 73 days. But Dituri said breaking that record is not his main goal.

“Everyone keeps focussing on the world record but I don’t care about the world record. I just want to live underwater – I’d do it for 200 days if I could afford it,” he explained.

“This is where we find the next great cure… It’s the coolest science in the world right now," the scientist told The Independent.

Dituri is being followed by several medical professionals who analyze urine and blood samples brought up to the surface to ensure he remains safe and in good health. He is also undertaking psychological and psychosocial testing, as well as ultrasound, electrocardiogram and stem cell tests.

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