"It was a real shock": Researchers have for the first time detected sedentary life forms under a layer of ice hundreds of metres thick.
Do the previously assumed limits of life need to be reconsidered?
A drill core had fought its way almost a kilometre through the so-called Filcher-Ronne Ice Shelf - the second largest permanent ice sheet in Antarctica. Then came the unexpected discovery. A camera that researchers had sent all the way down the borehole showed strange-looking formations on a rock. However, for all they knew, it should not be there at all.
The round heads seemed to be connected to the rock by thin stalks. For the researchers, there was no doubt. The images showed marine life
The discovery is surprising because sedentary life was actually considered impossible under these conditions. It is true that marine life forms such as small fish, worms, jellyfish or krill also cavort in Antarctica - sometimes deep under layers of ice. But sedentary life seemed impossible in view of eternal darkness, water temperatures around two degrees Celsius and a lack of food sources.
Frontiers in Marine Science: Breaking All the Rules: The First Recorded Hard Substrate Sessile Benthic Community Far Beneath an Antarctic Ice Shelf