Satyapal and her colleagues analyzed observations of dwarf galaxies made by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer spacecraft, or WISE.
Dwarf galaxies have changed relatively little over time, and they resemble the types of galaxies that existed when the universe was young. So they're a good place to look for nascent supermassive black holes, researchers said.
WISE's all-sky survey picked out hundreds of dwarf galaxies, which appear to sport strikingly large black holes.
"Our findings suggest the original seeds of supermassive black holes are quite massive themselves," Satyapal said.
While the results are intriguing, follow-up study will be necessary to fully flesh them out, outside researchers said.
"Though it will take more research to confirm whether the dwarf galaxies are indeed dominated by actively feeding black holes, this is exactly what WISE was designed to do: find interesting objects that stand out from the pack," astronomer Daniel Stern, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement. Stern was not part of the study team.