The oceans surrounding Antarctica may be littered with buried shipwrecks in pristine condition, new research suggests.
Researchers came to that conclusion, detailed today (Aug. 13) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, after burying wood and bone at the depths of the Antarctic oceans and analyzing the handiwork of worms and mollusks more than a year later.
"The bones were infested by a carpet of red-plumed Osedax worms, which we have named as a new species — Osedax antarcticus — but the wood planks were untouched, with not a trace of the wood-eating worms,” study co-author Adrian Glover, an aquatic invertebrates researcher at the Natural History Museum in London, said in an email. “The wood was hardly degraded either, after 14 months on the seafloor.” Read more.
Norwegian Roald Amundsen and Englishman Robert Falcon Scott were the explorers who led teams of their countrymen on grueling journeys across the frigid continent in an effort to be the first to go where no man had gone before. Amundsen won the race, reaching the pole on Dec. 14, 1911. Scott also made it there, on Jan. 17, 1912, but perished with the remainder of his crew on the arduous trek back to the edge of the continent.
Scott and his team camped on the slopes of Mount Erebus, the southernmost volcano, during their journey. The spot was known as “the highest camp,” according to a National Science Foundation release.
Clive Oppenheimer, a volcanologist at Cambridge University in England and working at Erebus as part of an NSF team, found what he thinks is the same camp site using written accounts and historic images from the Scott Polar Research Institute in Great Britain, the NSF release said. Read more.
Fossils from the oldest known Antarctic “sea monster” have been found, a new study says.
The discovery of an 85-million-year-old plesiosaur has pushed back the marine reptile’s presence in Antarctica by 15 million years.
"The fragments we found don’t belong to any group registered on the continent before, which indicates a greater diversity of the plesiosaurs in Antarctica than previously suspected," said team leader Alexander Kellner, of the National Museum of Brazil at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
Fragments of the vertebrae, head, and flippers suggest the newfound plesiosaur was 20 to 23 feet (6 to 7 meters) long. The bones weren’t, however, enough to identify the species of the plesiosaur.
Plesiosaurs roamed the seas worldwide between about 205 million to 65 million years ago, reaching the Southern Hemisphere by the mid-Jurassic. The animals had a range of different sizes and features, but mostly shared small heads, long necks, and big bodies.
"If the Loch Ness monster ever existed, this would be its best representation," Kellner said. Read more.