Scientists “accidentally discover” life far below the ice shelves of Antarctica

Scientists have discovered life beneath the Antarctic ice shelf, where it was previously thought that no living thing could survive. The discovery was made by scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) who stumbled upon immobile animals while collecting sediment samples. The sponge-like animals, including several potentially unknown species, were found in complete darkness and at temperatures of -2.2 degrees Celsius at a distance of about 260 km from the open ocean.

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“Our discovery raises so many more questions than it answers, for example, how did they get there? What do they eat? How long have they been there? How common are these boulders in life? Are they the same species we see outside the ice shelf or are they new?” species? And what would happen to those communities if the ice broke? ” Huw Griffiths of BAS said in a press release.

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‘Rebuts previous theories’

The floating ice shelves of the Southern Ocean represent the largest unexplored habitat because only the area the size of a tennis court, of 1.5 million square kilometers of the continental Antarctic shelf, has been studied so far. This is the first recorded existence of a community of hard ground (boulders) deep under an ice shelf and seems to contradict all previous theories about what types of life could survive there.

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Life under Antarctic ice shelves came as a surprise when scientists discovered strange creatures wrapped around rocks as living organisms become rare away from the open ocean due to insufficient sunlight. The discovery of the sponge, which is an organism that feeds on a filter and survives only in open waters, was even more surprising when found beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, as it depends on food from above, which it then randomly drains from the water.

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