Interview with Yevgeny Gavrikov about Antarctica: https://youtu.be/rQ7-UmoaAB8
Think we all know that Antarctica is a huge continent covered with ice. Yes, but it's not that simple. In this video, we collected 10 truly amazing facts about this coldest place on earth that few people know.
Life under many kilometers of ice
In the subglacial lakes of Antarctica, there may be life that has evolved millions of years completely apart from the whole Earth.
In total, more than 140 subglacial lakes were found in Antarctica. But the most famous of them is lake Vostok, located near the Soviet, and later the Russian Antarctic station "East", which gave the lake its name. Above the lake there is a four-kilometer thickness of ice, but it itself, thanks to underground geothermal sources located under it, does not freeze. The water temperature in the depth of the lake is at 10°C. It is this thickness of ice on the assumptions of scientists could serve as a natural insulator that has preserved the unique living organisms that all these millions of years have evolved and evolved quite apart.
On the topic of who exactly lives under the ice between the station "East" and the lake of the same name, there are two points of view. One of them is American, the other is Russian. The first is based on the results of less deep drilling, which the United States conducted in the area in the 90s. Then managed to get only the ice above the lake that was formed from its waters, gradually rising up and freezing. According to the results of analysis of samples of group Scott Rogers metagenomic method found there the gene sequence 1623. Of these, six percent were quite complex creatures — eukaryotes, creatures with a dedicated core surrounded by a wall. Something so complex least expected to be seen at a depth of several kilometers.
Moreover, one of the species of bacteria, presumably found in this way, lives only in the intestines of fish — it simply does not occur separately from them. Gene sequences typical for rotifers and mollusks are also found. From this American group concluded that among the inhabitants of lake Vostok can be extremely complex creatures, even fish and crustaceans. According to one hypothesis, the lake in the form of an open reservoir existed for tens of millions of years and only the last 14-15 million is hidden by ice.
So, researchers believe, local fish and crustaceans had a lot of time to gradually adapt to the ice conditions. In addition, if they are there, they can make the extreme conditions of the East not so extreme. Oxygen-breathing organisms could consume excess oxygen entering the lake with ice. Then, in the depths of the lake, the excess of this gas — a strong oxidizer, next to which life is not easy — may not be.
Russian scientists have made this discovery have responded very cold. They rightly pointed out that drilling was carried out using technical fluids contaminated with conventional soil and other bacteria. It is almost impossible to distinguish external pollution from "local residents" without the use of "clean drilling". Domestic researchers believe that in such conditions it is possible to speak about the real "Eastern" life only if genetic sequences are found, absolutely not similar to anything.
And specialists from the St. Petersburg Institute of nuclear physics of the RAS managed to find DNA of bacteria, which did not coincide with any of the known species. It is so alien to them that even put it in some group of bacteria failed. 14 percent of its genes are not found in any other known species. As said then Sergei Bulat, this DNA is so unlike anything else that "if it was found on Mars, of course, would say that this is life from Mars. Though it is terrestrial DNA".
However, it is bacteria, simple, single-celled, without "bells and whistles" and excessive complexity. Genes for something unexpected and even more complex, but different from terrestrial species, ice samples have not yet been found. So that eukaryotes and even multicellular like fish, in the opinion of our scientists, there is still canceled. That might not be a bad thing. Fish living without light and nutrients from above should be so alien to everything that we know that, in fact, would not be much different from any "green men" from the stories of creative ufologists.
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