Scientists shocked to find strange creatures deep under ice

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Researchers accidentally found a life-bearing rock after sinking a borehole through Antarctica's Filchner-Ronne ice shelf to obtain a sediment core from the seabed.

While the rock spoiled their chances of obtaining the core, footage from a video camera captured unexpected images of organisms living far beneath an ice shelf.


RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Scientists sinking hole in ice, lowering cable, camera's view as it descends
2. Map view of region then area, zoom sequence
3. Camera continues down, enters dark water under ice, sees rock and strange creatures
4. Plankton from up close, individual organisms, from far away, as marine snow
5. Plankton falls like snow on ocean bottom, rock with creatures, x-ray of sponge sucking plankton
6. Zoom out to show rock under wide ice shelf, 600km from open sea, plankton dispersion

VOICEOVER (in English):
Scientists are rethinking the limits of life on Earth after stumbling on a group of strange organisms living deep under a 900-meter-thick ice shelf.

The Guardian reports that researchers accidentally found a life-bearing rock after sinking a borehole through the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf to obtain a sediment core from the seabed.

While the rock spoiled their chances of obtaining the core, footage from a video camera captured unexpected images of organisms living far beneath an ice shelf.

Surveys of Antarctic marine life have never previously found such stationary filter-feeders, which survive by ingesting food that falls down on them.

It was assumed that the total darkness, the lack of food and the freezing water was too hostile for them.

Footage of the boulder shows that it is home to at least two types of sponge, one of which has a long stem that opens into a head.

Organisms that look like tube worms, or stalked barnacles, also appear to be growing on the rock.

Scientists theorize the animals feed on dead plankton that is carried more than 600 kilometers by currents before reaching them.

SOURCES: The Guardian, Wired, Phys.org, Sky News, CNN
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/feb/15/researchers-rethink-life-in-a-cold-climate-after-antarctic-find
https://www.wired.com/story/scientists-discover-strange-creatures-under-a-half-mile-of-ice/
https://phys.org/news/2021-02-strange-creatures-accidentally-beneath-antarctica.html
https://news.sky.com/story/scientists-accidentally-find-life-beneath-ice-shelves-in-the-antarctic-12218906
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/02/15/world/antarctic-ice-shelf-sponge-discovery-scn/index.html