Warm Antarctica Caves Show Signs of New Species, Study Says

Warm caves under Antarctica’s glaciers may be hiding previously undiscovered plant and animal species, scientists say. A new study led by Australian National University revealed an extensive network of warm caves around Mount Erebus, an active volcano. Soil samples taken from the caves turned up traces of DNA that could not be identified, lead researcher Ceridwen Fraser said early Friday. “The results from this study give us a tantalizing glimpse of what might live beneath the ice in Antarctica—there might even be new species of animals and plants,” Fraser said, according to Agence France-Presse. With more than 15 volcanoes in Antarctica, the study stressed the importance of investigating such cave systems, since scientists know “little about life in the continent's subglacial cave systems, which may harbor diverse and complex communities.”