There may be life in the caves of Antarctica

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Although Antarctica is cold and inhospitable, it has its secrets, and it seems that the caves beneath it may contain life we are yet to find out. On Ross Island in Antarctica, there may be complex life, and all this is due to Mount Erebus, a volcano active in the region, which may be heating up the subterranean caves of the region, thus creating suitable conditions for the existence of animal life, and even plants.

According to Dr. Ceridwen Fraser from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society, analysis of soil samples from the site revealed traces of DNA from algae and small animals, and the temperature inside the subterranean caves reaches as high as 25 degrees celsius, a temperature that for the region is quite high, allowing even to be inside of these, having just dressed some shorts and a T-shirt, without feeling cold.

In addition, the caves are fairly well lit, either at their entrance, naturally, or in areas where the ice thickness is low, thus allowing light to enter through the walls and roof of these.

Although most of the DNA detected in these caves corresponds to creatures inhabiting the region, another part does not resemble any of the existing records in the database, even opening up the possibility of including new species of animals and plants in them until today unknown.

The next step will be a more in-depth exploration of these underground caves in order to better catalog the species that inhabit them, and also explore how many underground caves exist in the region and what interconnections they have with each other.

This discovery is indeed very interesting, and the possibility of discovering new species, that are maybe even quite different from all we know today, we will have to wait for more news, but these traces of DNA for now, seem rather promising.

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