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Discovery of life beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet

After discovering sea life on a boulder beneath the Antarctic ice shelf, scientists face challenges in understanding their existence.

The 900-meter thick Filchner-Ronne ice shelf was drilled through by the team who dropped a camera into the hole. The ultimate motive was to look for mud on the seabed; however, .a boulder was revealed ringed by animals. According to the video footage, the team could find 16 sponges accompanied by 22 unidentified animals.

Huw Griffiths at the British Antarctic Survey analyzed the video and said, “There are all sorts of reasons they shouldn’t be there.” Based on his knowledge, the animals survive on the nutrients carried in the -2 Degree Celsius water. The boulder is located 260 kilometers beneath the open water, where the nutrient source, sunlight, is missing. It is surprising how these species are surviving so deep under the water in Antarctic ice.

There is not much clarity about the animals found around the rock in the Filchner Ronne ice shelf. It is unknown whether these species are new to science, how long they have lived, what they feed on, etc. However, the video captured seemed to show life around other nearby rocks as well. The video also captured other similarly surrounded stones nearby Antarctic ice.

“We’ve discovered this isn’t some graveyard where a few things cling on. It’s more complicated than we thought,” says Griffiths. With the warming challenges and the ice sheets collapsing, it is doubtful that these species may prove unable to adopt these changes.

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