Thursday, March 18, 2010

species of shrimp found 600 feet under ice in Antarctica

Last year, the world got news of an ancient colony of microbes thriving without oxygen, warmth or light that was found underneath Taylor Glacier, in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Scientists marveled at how it was possible they survived for 1.5 million years, guessing at their nourishment having been the heavy deposits of iron that now bleed red from the gushing Taylor Glacier Blood Falls.

As March of 2010 rolled around, NASA scientists drilling for water in an Antarctic ice sheet brought to us the news of discovering not one, but two species living over 600 feet beneath ice, equally harsh conditions as the Blood Falls microbes. Oddly enough, this discovery at Pine Island Glacier took place not too far Blood Falls. One of the species, Lyssianasid Amphipod, is a close relative of the shrimp; the other a tentacle from a foot long jellyfish.

The discovery of these life forms living in these conditions may just allow for scientists to gain insight as to what type of life could potentially be sustained under the seas of Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, which have similarly harsh, cold, dark conditions. Now blogs all over the net are buzzing about the possibilities of extraterrestrial life and I'm wondering, what the heck is going on under Antarctica??

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