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Antarctica's Elusive Residents.
#1
Scientists thought it was 'bonkers' that life should be down there in the cold, but it gives Bigfoot Researchers
food for thought!



Quote:Researchers rethink life in a cold climate after Antarctic find

'Scientists surprised by marine organisms on boulder on sea floor beneath 900 metres of ice shelf.
The accidental discovery of marine organisms on a boulder on the sea floor beneath 900 metres (3,000ft) of Antarctic ice
shelf has led scientists to rethink the limits of life on Earth.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=9101]
Look... they're not wearing mittens. Stupid life-forms!

Researchers stumbled on the life-bearing rock after sinking a borehole through nearly a kilometre of the Filchner-Ronne
ice shelf on the south-eastern Weddell Sea to obtain a sediment core from the seabed.

While the boulder scuppered their chances of obtaining the core, footage from a video camera sent down the hole captured
the first images of organisms stuck to a rock far beneath an ice shelf.

“It’s slightly bonkers,” said Dr Huw Griffiths, a marine biogeographer at the British Antarctic Survey.
“Never in a million years would we have thought about looking for this kind of life, because we didn’t think it would be there.”

Ice shelves form when frozen water from the continent’s interior flows to the coast and floats on to the surrounding sea.
As the ice flows over the land, it can pick up boulders that become embedded in the base of the ice shelf before dropping
out on to the sea floor.

While surveys of Antarctic marine life have found some small mobile organisms –such as fish, worms, jellyfish and krill
–far beneath ice shelves, they have never previously found stationary filter-feeders, which survive by ingesting food that
falls down on them.

Their absence led many scientists to suspect that the total darkness, the lack of food and the -2C temperature was too
hostile for them. Photos and video footage of the boulder show that it is home to at least two types of sponge, one of
which has a long stem that opens into a head.

But other organisms, which could be tube worms or stalked barnacles, also appear to be growing on the rock.
Details on the discovery have been published in Frontiers in Marine Science.

The isolated boulder community lies 500 metres under the base of the ice shelf and 160 miles (260km) from the nearest
open water. Because of the strong currents in the area, the food they ingest –perhaps dead plankton –is thought to be
carried between 370 and 930 miles before reaching them.

“This is by far the furthest under an ice shelf that we’ve seen any of these filter-feeding animals,” said Griffiths.
“These things are stuck on a rock and only get fed if something comes floating along.
“It was a real shock to find them there, a really good shock, but we can’t do DNA tests, we can’t work out what they’ve been
eating, or how old they are.

We don’t even know if they are new species, but they’re definitely living in a place where we wouldn’t expect them to be
living,” he said...'
Archived Guardian Article:


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"They watch from behind complacent smiles whilst polishing their cutlery. Yet, with egg between the prongs"
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#2
The Earth formed 4.6 billion years ago. Life took hold on it's surface pretty quickly in geological terms, around 3.9 to 4 billion years ago, in what was then a hostile, oxygenless environment, hellishly hot.

But life kept on plugging along ever since, becoming increasingly complex as it went.

Around 750 million years ago, the entire planet froze over solidly in an episode dubbed "Snowball Earth", and it stayed that way for a good long time.

But then it thawed out again... and when it did, life was still there. it had somehow survived under all that ice on a frozen planet. Around 540 million years ago, that  life that had survived the Snowball Earth cataclysm suddenly expanded and diversified in what is called "the Cambrian Explosion".

Given the history of the tenacity of life on Earth, I cannot understand what it was about finding these organisms that surprised the purveyors of scientific thought!

.
“The nature of psychological compulsion is such that those who act under constraint remain under the impression that they are acting on their own initiative. The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him the walls of his prison are invisible, and he believes himself to be free. That he is not free is apparent only to other people.”

-Aldous Huxley

-- Got mask? Just sayin'...




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#3
Pretty cool stuff! Thanks for posting. 

Amazingly tough little critters. Just making their way for however many millions of years. Then a scientist comes along and is shocked to see them there. Dude, we've been here the whole time. Only your preconceived notions kept you from catching up.
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