IN 1866 Charles Wyville Thomson (1830-1882), professor of Natural History at Queen's College, Belfast, travelled to Norway to visit Michael Sars (1805-1869), one of the leading marine biologists of the time.1 Sars showed him specimens of marine fauna from Norwegian waters including some which had been dredged by his son, George Ossian Sars, from depths of up to 450 fathoms near the Lofoten Islands.2 Furthermore, one of them bore a strong resemblance to a creature known otherwise only as a fossil in the chalk and earlier rocks.