‘Alien-Looking’ Creatures Found Deep in the Arctic
Scientists have discovered a surprisingly rich ecosystem on the peaks of extinct underwater volcanoes
When researching the depths of the Arctic Ocean, a group of scientists discovered a surprisingly rich and densely populated ecosystem on the peaks of extinct underwater volcanoes. Among the life forms found there are some that have been described as having “alien appearance”. A study on the subject was published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
“Blooming on top of the extinct volcanic seamounts of the Langseth Range, we found huge gardens of sponges, but we didn’t know what they were feeding on,” said Antje Boetius, head of the Deep Sea Ecology and Technology Research Group at the Max Institute. Planck. After more detailed analyses, it was possible to identify how these beings adapted to an environment so poor in nutrients.
The results suggest that the creatures feed on the remains of an extinct fauna. “Our analysis revealed that sponges have microbial symbionts capable of using ancient organic matter. This allows them to feed on the remains of extinct seamount inhabitants, such as tubeworms composed of protein and chitin and other debris,” explained Teresa Morganti, a sponge expert at the Max Planck Institute and lead author of the study.
The research is further proof that there are many mysteries to be unraveled about Earth’s life forms. “There is so much alien-looking life, especially in the ice-covered seas where we barely have the technology to go in and look around and make a map,” said Antje Boetius.