Between the centuries of 1580 and 1850, glaciers were forming and expanding in the Atlantic and this resulted to many species getting covered and buried under the thick sheet of ice. At present day, most of these glaciers have melted away because of global warming, and these species that were buried hundreds of years ago have resurfaced once again.
At a recent exploration in Ellesmere Island located in Canada, biologists discovered some of the moss that was once covered in ice is now “free” from its icy burial grounds. They also saw signs of life.
Biologist and project leader Catherine La Farge, who was part of the exploration shared details about their first encounter with these patches of moss. It was a mind-boggling discovery how the mosses were mostly black in color, although there were some traces of green. It was also more than obvious in the scene that either the mosses have kept their original color throughout centuries, or that they are growing once again.
As explained by IFL Science, they said that permafrost happens when the soil’s temperature goes below freezing over a two year period. Until now, Bacteria is the only thing that has survived permafrost.
Within a few weeks after the discovery, the moss was revived and started to regrow by incubating it in portions to receive the correct lighting and temperature. This moss is around 1530 years of age.
With these new species resurfacing, it may turn out that climate change may have light at the end of the tunnel. There is greater hope that the change in temperatures will lead us to greater discoveries. Although climate change has caused irreversible damaged to the planet, knowing that some species are getting revived gives hope to the earth for more, albeit different life.
Scientists will not stop searching for more life forms that were buried under the ice – whether they come across extinct bacteria, or multicellular animals. Maybe this will lead to more species we can rediscover that have been under thick sheets of ice for far too long.
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