Scientists have just made a major discovery about animal life. While they believed that no marine life was possible beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, an accidental discovery seems to prove they are wrong.
A discovery that leads them to understand how living organisms can evolve in environments as hostile as Antarctica. But it also proves that the earth still hides many secrets from us and that there will not be a shortage of scientific work anytime soon! This unprecedented discovery was made possible by a 900 m deep borehole! Explanations.
Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey recently published a study in Frontiers in Marine Science. This study concerns a well on the 900 meter thick Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf. A camera lowered into the borehole was supposed to examine the mud on the seabed.
“We were expecting to recover a sediment core from under the ice floe. So it was a bit of a surprise when we hit the rock and saw on the video that there were animals living there.” says Dr. James Smith, geologist at BAS.
However, this camera accidentally took a picture of a rock on which various “animals” had perched. Researchers say 16 sponges have been identified, but 22 other people have yet to be! This would be the first time a life form has been discovered under the ice cap!
Photo credit: British Antarctic Survey (YouTube screenshot)
One meal every 10,000 years!
According to one of the scientists, Huw Griffiths, these creatures shouldn’t have been there! Indeed, these filter-feeding animals would be survivors transported by nutrients in these waters. The boulder is more than 260 km from the “open water”. The potential food is 600 km from the drilling point!
“To answer our questions, we have to find a way to get closer to these animals and their environment – and that’s less than 900 meters of ice, 260 km from the ships on which our laboratories are located,” says Huw Griffiths.
However, the animals discovered are very much alive. Researchers don’t know what species it is or how it feeds. However, they do know that some sponges can live to be over 10,000 years old and some of them only eat once a century!
This discovery, essential for science, shows that animal life remains possible even in the most hostile environments! As long as there is life there is hope, right?