Strange Creatures Discovered Deep in Antarctica’s Ice
A group of UK scientists have found strange creatures living in the depths of Antarctica. These are organisms that inhabit a rock 900 meters below the ice. The discovery seems to contradict all theories about the types of life that could survive there.
The discovery was made by accident, while researchers were collecting a core of sediment from the seafloor. “Never in a million years would we have thought to look for this kind of life, because we didn’t think it would exist there,” said marine biologist Huw Griffiths of the British Antarctic Survey. According to the researchers, this is the first time that immobile life forms have been found under an Antarctic ice sheet.
During previous surveys of marine life in Antarctica, small mobile organisms (such as fish, jellyfish and krill) had already been found far below the ice shelves. But stationary creatures, which survive by eating food that falls on them, had never been located. The absence of these beings in the region has led many biologists to suspect that total darkness, lack of food and temperatures of -2°C were too hostile for their survival, a theory that has just been overturned with the new discovery.
Photos and videos of the rock show that it is inhabited by at least two types of sponge, one of which has a long stem. But other organisms, which could be tube worms, also seem to live there. According to the scientists, the floating frozen blocks form the largest unexplored habitat in the Southern Ocean, covering more than 1.5 million square kilometers of the continental shelf. To date, only a total area similar in size to a tennis court has been surveyed during eight previous drills.