Mysterious Life Forms Found Under the Antarctic Ice Sheet

Suara.com – The waters beneath Antarctica are one of the most inhospitable environments on Earth.

However, when the scientist drilled a 900 meter long hole inward icing Antarctica, a team of experts discovered seabed rock, which is home to several species that humans may not have seen before.

Some organization seen in similar locations, but this discovery marks the first time a single, clinging creature, such as a sponge, has been found in such a hostile environment.

This was an accidental discovery because scientists weren’t looking for marine life at all in the first place. The team are biologists planning to collect sediment samples from the ocean floor.

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The discovery of mysterious life below the Antarctic ice sheet. [Eurekalert]

The scientists set up camp on the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, a large chunk of floating ice southeast of the Weddell Sea, where a team of experts spent hours shoveling snow and using hot water to punch narrow holes through the ice.

After the hole was completed, the scientists lowered the camera with a sediment separator to reach the seabed more than 300 meters below the bottom of the shelf.

The team hopes to find mud, but instead the camera hits the rock where the mysterious unknown life was found.

Some creatures have squat, round bodies, while others have thin trunks that stretch out into the surrounding water.

Rock passages are also lined with a thin layer of fine hair, which may contain tiny, thread-like organisms.

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Findings published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science It also found several stationary filter-feeder species in the rock that were deemed unlikely because they were so far from the area that photosynthesis might be.

In the rock, the team of experts found one sponge on the stalk, 15 other sponges without stalks, and 22 unidentified organisms that could be sponges, ascidians, hydroids, barnacles, cnidarians, or polychaetes.

“Our findings raise more questions than they answer, like how did they get there?” said Huw Griffiths, a biogeographer from the British Antarctic Survey, as quoted from Science Alert, Wednesday (17/2/2021).

Most of life on Earth depends on the Sun for survival.

Photosynthesis is at the very bottom of the food chain, with organisms such as plants and algae using sunlight to make sugar.

The drilling location of the discovery of mysterious life under the Antarctic ice sheet. [Frontiers in Marine Science]
The drilling location of the discovery of mysterious life under the Antarctic ice sheet. [Frontiers in Marine Science]

But in the dark ocean depths where there is never any sunlight, living things use a different strategy.

Around ocean thermal vents that give off heat and volcanic chemicals, bacteria rely on chemosynthesis to make sugars, forming the basis of similar food chains.

Recent research has found that organisms living beneath glaciers carry out chemosynthesis of hydrogen.

The boulder that Griffiths and his team investigated is thought to be between 625 and 1,500 kilometers from the nearest photosynthetic region, so it appears that living things there depend on some form of chemosynthetic food chain.

The only way to know for sure is to carry out a more detailed study of the organism and its environment.

Scientists must find new and innovative ways to study these animals and their environment, given their difficult location.

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