Intriguing traces of DNA from algae, mosses and small animals have been found in hot caves carved by steam around Mount Erebus, an active volcano in Antarctica.
Ceridwen Fraser of the Australian National University is responsible for the find .
Ecosystems in hot caves
Fraser has pointed out that most of the DNA found in the caves of Mount Erebus was similar to the DNA of plants and animals found in Antarctica, but not all traces have been fully identified:
It can be very hot inside the caves, up to 25 degrees Celsius in some caves. You could wear a t-shirt and be quite comfortable. There is light near the cave mouths and deeper light filters in some caves where the ice coating is thin. The results of this study give us a tantalizing preview of what could live under the ice in Antarctica, there could even be new species of animals and plants
These intriguing traces of DNA did not conclusively prove that plants and animals are living in caves, but it is necessary to take a closer look at the caves and search for living organisms. If they exist, it opens the door to an exciting new world .