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Antarctic Caves Could Be Home to 'New World' of Plants, Animals

Image: Antarctic Caves Could Be Home to 'New World' of Plants, Animals
Antarctic ice caves could hold unknown species, scientists say. (Jocrebbin/Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 08 Sep 2017 04:33 PM

The caves located underneath Antarctic ice could be inhabited by yet-unknown species of plants and animals, experts say.

Scientists collected soil samples from subglacial caves in Mount Erebus as well as from three volcanoes in the Victoria Land region of Antarctica, according to Newsweek. They found moss, algae, arthropods and nematodes at the sites, but also found unknown DNA at the Mount Erebus site.

There are many subglacial caves and volcanoes underneath Antarctic ice, and geothermal heat from the volcano brings their temperatures up to as high as 25 degrees Celsius (77F) in some of the caves, Newsweek reported.

“You could wear a T-shirt in there and be pretty comfortable. There’s light near the cave mouths, and light filters deeper into some caves where the overlying ice is thin,” lead researcher Ceidwen Fraser said in a statement, Newsweek reported.

The scientists want to study the caves more closely to see whether they can find any new species.

“We don’t yet know just how many cave systems exist around Antarctica’s volcanoes, or how interconnected these subglacial environments might be,” co-researcher from the University of Waikato Dr. Charles Lee said, Business Insider reported.

Twitter followers imagined what the species might be, just for fun.

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The caves located underneath Antarctic ice could be inhabited by yet-unknown species of plants and animals, experts say.
antarctic, caves, new, species, plants, animals
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2017-33-08
Friday, 08 Sep 2017 04:33 PM
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