Scientists discovered life buried beneath 3,000 feet of ice in Antarctica, calling into question the belief that nothing could thrive in such conditions.
Details about In Antarctica, scientists discovered life by chance beneath 3000 feet of ice
On February 15, 2021, the findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Marine Science.
Previously, scientists believed that Antarctica’s cold temperatures, lack of light, and scarcity of food made it impossible for living species to exist.
Under the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf in the northern seas, the critters were discovered clinging to a boulder. Before making the discovery, British Antarctic Survey specialists had to drill through 2,860 feet of ice.
In a Twitter video, one of the researchers, Huw Griffiths, claimed that the region beneath these ice shelves is likely one of the least well-known environments on Earth.
“We didn’t expect to find these kinds of critters there, like sponges.”
A vast floating ice sheet extends from Antarctica called the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf.
It covers more than 579,000 square miles, yet the underside of the ice has not been thoroughly studied.
Occasionally, enormous icebergs break off of ice shelves and drift away. One of these icebergs was in danger of colliding with a sea lion and penguin breeding colony in December 2020.
According to the scientists, they didn’t go looking for life.
To gather samples from the ocean floor, they were digging through the ice sheet. Instead, a boulder struck their camera. The revelation was uncovered after they watched the camera’s footage.
Griffiths told The Guardian, “Never in a million years would we have thought of looking for this kind of life, because we didn’t think it would be there.”
Two different kinds of unnamed immobile animals are shown in the footage, which was produced by the British Antarctic Survey. Animals marked in red appear to have long stalks, whereas those in white more closely resemble circular sponges.
About 160 miles away from the open sea, these animals were discovered.
“How did they get there?” is just one of the numerous questions that our discovery poses. According to Griffith’s news release. “What do they consume? They have been there for how long?”
The next stage, according to the researchers, was to determine whether the animals belonged to a previously undiscovered species.
Griffiths stated, “We will have to discover a way of getting near to these animals and their surroundings in order to answer our questions.