The discovery appears to go against all previous theories of what kind of life could survive in such an extreme condition.(British Antarctic Survey)
The discovery appears to go against all previous theories of what kind of life could survive in such an extreme condition.(British Antarctic Survey)

Accidental discovery of extreme life beneath Antarctica’s ice shelves poses several questions

Dr Huw Griffiths, marine biologist and lead author of the study, said that the stationary animals are like sponges and potentially several previously unknown species.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 16, 2021 05:55 PM IST

Researchers accidentally discovered extreme life far underneath the ice shelves of the Antarctic during an exploratory survey, a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science said. At a distance of 260km away from the open ocean, the researchers found out the existence of stationary animals attached to a boulder on the seafloor as they drilled through 900 metres of ice in the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf with their cameras lowered down.

Dr Huw Griffiths, marine biologist and lead author of the study, said that the stationary animals are like sponges and potentially several previously unknown species. In a video shared by the British Antarctic Survey, Griffiths said it was a surprising discovery because they never expected animals that “filter feed their food from the water column to be found this far from a source of food or daylight.”

“This discovery is one of those fortunate accidents that pushes ideas in a different direction and shows us that Antarctic marine life is incredibly special and amazingly adapted to a frozen world,” the biogeographer said in a separate statement.

Read | Wallet lost in Antarctica found 53 years later

The first-ever record of a hard substrate community deep beneath an ice shelf throws up more questions than it answers since the researchers don’t know how did they get there, what they have been eating or how long they have been there. The researchers are wondering whether these are the same species seen outside the ice shelf or are they new species. There are also few questions around the survival of these species in case the ice shelf collapses.


The discovery appears to go against all previous theories of what kind of life could survive in such an extreme condition. The dependence on drilling and cameras mean, according to Griffiths, the area underneath the giant floating ice shelves is probably one of the least known habitats on Earth. But getting up close with these animals and their environment remains a challenge for polar scientists.

“We have no idea what species these animals are. We don't know how they are coping with these extreme conditions. And the only way we are going to be able to answer those questions is to come up with a new way of investigating their world,” added Griffiths.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics

Related Stories

The new species belongs to the genus Cyrtodactylus commonly known as bent-toed geckos. (Zeeshan Mirza)
The new species belongs to the genus Cyrtodactylus commonly known as bent-toed geckos. (Zeeshan Mirza)

Indian researchers discover new gecko species in Arunachal Pradesh

By Priyanka Sahoo, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 30, 2021 11:41 PM IST
A team of researchers from five institutes across India have discovered a new gecko species in Arunachal Pradesh
Close
For single and double-layered masks, the droplets have the potential to become aerosols, which can remain suspended in the air for a long time.(Pexels)
For single and double-layered masks, the droplets have the potential to become aerosols, which can remain suspended in the air for a long time.(Pexels)

Study reveals multilayer masks most effective at preventing aerosol generation

PTI, Bengaluru
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 10:50 AM IST
They found that single-layered masks could only block 30 per cent of the initial droplet volume from escaping. Double-layered masks were better (about 91 per cent was blocked).
Close
Due to these obstacles, some studies have shown clear separations between chimpanzee subspecies while others suggest a genetic gradient across the species as in humans.(Pixabay)
Due to these obstacles, some studies have shown clear separations between chimpanzee subspecies while others suggest a genetic gradient across the species as in humans.(Pixabay)

Researchers uncover subspecies of chimpanzees despite isolation events

ANI, Berlin [germany]
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 10:22 AM IST
A new large-scale study led by researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology uncovered recent genetic connectivity between chimpanzee subspecies despite past isolation events.
Close
Despite tremendous efforts over the past decades, the progress in developing non-hormonal male contraceptives has been very limited.(Unsplash)
Despite tremendous efforts over the past decades, the progress in developing non-hormonal male contraceptives has been very limited.(Unsplash)

Scientists discover new compound for male contraceptive pill

ANI, California [us]
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 10:05 AM IST
A new research by the scientists at The Lundquist Institute spells out an innovative strategy that has led to the discovery of a natural compound as a safe, effective and reversible male contraceptive agent in pre-clinical animal models.
Close
Karnataka deputy chief minister CN Ashwatha Narayana said the policy adds a new chapter in the enhancement of R&D in the state(Twitter/@drashwathcn)
Karnataka deputy chief minister CN Ashwatha Narayana said the policy adds a new chapter in the enhancement of R&D in the state(Twitter/@drashwathcn)

Karnataka launches engineering research and development policy

By Sharan Poovanna, Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 07:34 PM IST
  • Numbers Game: Bengaluru tops the chart in the number of multinational companies in India
Close
Speaking on the occasion of National Science Day, Vardhan said it is the problems of the people that should be guiding the intellectual acumen while pursuing research.(Wikimedia Commons )
Speaking on the occasion of National Science Day, Vardhan said it is the problems of the people that should be guiding the intellectual acumen while pursuing research.(Wikimedia Commons )

Science should be solution-based, people-centric: Vardhan

PTI, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2021 05:02 PM IST
Fundamental and translational science is important but it has to be solution-based and people-centric, Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday.
Close
Muscle is the largest organ that accounts for 40% of body mass and plays an essential role in maintaining our lives. Muscle tissue is notable for its unique ability for spontaneous regeneration.(Unsplash)
Muscle is the largest organ that accounts for 40% of body mass and plays an essential role in maintaining our lives. Muscle tissue is notable for its unique ability for spontaneous regeneration.(Unsplash)

Scientists discover bioengineered hybrid muscle fiber for regenerative medicine

ANI, Washington [us]
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 01:25 PM IST
Researchers claimed that regeneration of muscle tissue can be achieved by joining direct cell reprogramming with natural-synthetic hybrid scaffold as structural support for the medication.
Close
ISRO's PSLV-C51 carrying Amazonia-1 and 18 other satellites lifts off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on Sunday.(ANI Photo)
ISRO's PSLV-C51 carrying Amazonia-1 and 18 other satellites lifts off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on Sunday.(ANI Photo)

PM Modi’s image, Gita sent to space aboard PSLV

PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 06:24 AM IST
The PM’s picture was engraved on the top panel of the spacecraft Satish Dhawan Sat (SD-SAT) from Chennai-based Space Kidz India (SKI). “This is to show solidarity and gratitude for his (PM’s) Aatmanirbhar initiative and space privatisation,” SKI had said earlier.
Close
Nobel laureate Sir CV Raman the Nobel laureate physicist.(Photo courtesy: Google)
Nobel laureate Sir CV Raman the Nobel laureate physicist.(Photo courtesy: Google)

On National Science Day, here’s all about Raman Effect or Raman Scattering

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Shivani, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 04:34 PM IST
The discovery was significant in the field of physics as it gave proof of the quantum nature of light. It revolutionised multiple different domains of science and still forms the basis of varied applications in these fields.
Close
Isro's PSLV-C51, carrying Brazile's Amazonia-1 and 18 other satellites, lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, on Sunday.(PTI Photo)
Isro's PSLV-C51, carrying Brazile's Amazonia-1 and 18 other satellites, lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, on Sunday.(PTI Photo)

'Historic moment': Isro launches 19 satellites with Bhagavad Gita, PM’s photo

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Kanishka Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 28, 2021 03:49 PM IST
The Isro mission was built around sending Brazil's 637-kg Amazonia-1 satellite into space, which is the first Brazilian satellite to be launched from India.
Close
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe had an up-close view of Venus when it flew by the planet in July 2020. Some of the features seen by scientists are labeled in this annotated image. The dark spot appearing on the lower portion of Venus is an artifact from the WISPR instrument.(NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Naval Research Laboratory/Guillermo Stenborg and Brendan Gallagher)
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe had an up-close view of Venus when it flew by the planet in July 2020. Some of the features seen by scientists are labeled in this annotated image. The dark spot appearing on the lower portion of Venus is an artifact from the WISPR instrument.(NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Naval Research Laboratory/Guillermo Stenborg and Brendan Gallagher)

Nasa's solar probe sends stunning image of Venus and its terrain

By hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 01:25 PM IST
  • The picture shared by Nasa of the onboard Wide-field Imager inside the Parker Solar Probe (WISPR) was originally clicked in July 2020.
Close
PSLV-C51 undergoing a launch rehearsal on Wednesday. (ISRO/Twitter)
PSLV-C51 undergoing a launch rehearsal on Wednesday. (ISRO/Twitter)

ISRO to launch Brazilian satellite on Sunday; first in 2021

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Shankhyaneel Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:47 PM IST
  • The 637-kg Amazonia-1 will provide remote sensing data to scientists who will need the data from the satellite to monitor deforestation in the Amazon region.
Close
In 2019, Mary Jackson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal(www.nasa.gov)
In 2019, Mary Jackson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal(www.nasa.gov)

NASA renames Washington headquarters to honour 'hidden figures' scientist

ANI, Washington
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:03 AM IST
Mary Jackson worked at NASA for 34 years, starting as a research mathematician, and eventually became the agency's first Black female engineer.
Close
In order to infect cells, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, needs to insert itself into the membrane of human cells.(Pixabay)
In order to infect cells, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, needs to insert itself into the membrane of human cells.(Pixabay)

New study uncovers new details of SARS-CoV-2 interactions with human cells

ANI, Washington [us]
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 05:25 PM IST
A new study published in Biophysical Society, introduces new molecular models to show what parts of SARS-CoV-2 are critical for that interaction, revealing new potential drug targets for the infection.
Close
In January, the US government said it will buy 1.25 million additional doses of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals' Covid-19 antibody cocktail.(AP)
In January, the US government said it will buy 1.25 million additional doses of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals' Covid-19 antibody cocktail.(AP)

Regeneron to stop giving placebo in Covid-19 drug trial after 'clear efficacy'

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 05:45 PM IST
The Regeneron treatment is part of a class of drugs known as monoclonal antibodies.
Close
The panorama is composed of 142 individual images stitched together on Earth, NASA said.(NASA/AFP)
The panorama is composed of 142 individual images stitched together on Earth, NASA said.(NASA/AFP)

NASA releases panorama taken by Mars rover

AFP
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 03:02 AM IST
The panorama shows the rim of the Jezero Crater where the rover touched down last week and the cliff face of an ancient river delta in the distance.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP