Heavenly Mysteries: Three Exceptional Frozen Discoveries
“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.”
~ Anaïs Nin
Ice is the most incorruptible time machine we have claim upon - it halts the present and saves it, if undisturbed, for perpetuity.
To find a flawlessly preserved specimen of any living being means to scientist both a dream and a nightmare, for it provides the world with as many answers as it presents challenges - and, in many occasions, inconceivable enigmas. These are only three of the several intriguing and majestic frozen discoveries.
A 25-million-year-old lake filled with life
Deep within 2 miles of ice, beneath the frozen landscapes of Antarctica, lays one of the greatest wonders of biology; a subglacial lake sheltering life extinguished in earth since 25 million years.
The Russian research team accountable for this discovery pulled samples from the lake and found creatures that, to the eyes of modern zoology, came into view as quite alien-like. Lake Vostok has existed in complete isolation for dozens of millions of years, holding living bacteria we, in all the centuries of investigations, are entirely unfamiliar with.
Under the fear of unleashing a plague which our current knowledge is unable to battle, the lake and it's uncoverings are treated with the highest security and sanity. In 2016, New Scientist announced there's another lake buried under the Antarctic ice sheet, similarly isolated and similarly harboring lives unlike anything else on Earth.
The biggest danger here is simple; global warming melting these lakes and exposing us to potentially hazardous prehistorical-tiny-beings of which we know nothing about. Exciting?
An Iron Age communal wardrobe
Once more I must bring global warming to the conversation. During the year 2015 - due to the melting of Norway's glaciers - archaeologists begun to find thousand objects of clothing and personal use that, Iron and Stone Age people, dropped along the way.
The area was once a major thoroughfare, witnessing countless quantities of people walk back and forth as the seasons passed by - either moving livestock or simply exploring. Everything a stylish Iron Age dude would own; from arrowheads to mittens, has been found here - dated to between A.D. 230 and A.D. 390.
This also kind of means that us homo sapiens folks have never really cared much about littering.
32,000-year-old seeds (capable of sprouting)
The tender flower you see above is unique in the planet; her sisters and brothers have all deceased, her mother blossomed and died in the throes of an Ice Age - when the sabertooth had still twenty thousand years ahead to live before its extinction.
The 32,000-year-old seeds hid in the Kolyma River, for half our time as civilized beings, inside... well, inside a Russian ice-age squirrel.
Scientist germinated them, encountering after a few days white flowers of soothing beauty. Flowers which, on their own, produced a whole new crop of seeds and reincarnated a long perished delight.