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Science News

Many New Species Found Under Antarctica 173

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the natures-basement dept.
gt_mattex writes to tell us The Globe and Mail is reporting that quite a few new species have been found in the ocean beneath the Antarctic ice. From the article: "It is too early to say exactly how many new species were discovered in the Antarctic, many in the Weddell Sea, where ice crushed the ship of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton in 1915. The scientists saw more strange creatures than familiar ones, says Ron O'Dor, an expert in octopuses and squid from Halifax's Dalhousie University and the chief scientist in charge of producing the first marine life census of the planet by 2010."
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Many New Species Found Under Antarctica

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  • Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sneakernets (1026296) on Monday December 11, 2006 @09:37PM (#17202804) Journal
    It's been millenia and we still don't know all the life on our planet. I always look forward to articles like this, they really tell us how little we do know.
  • by chabotc (22496) <(chabotc) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday December 11, 2006 @09:37PM (#17202808) Homepage
    "A school of fish the size of Manhattan off the New Jersey coast. About 20 million herring were travelling together."

    That soon we'll find ways to make ocean life go extinct in those parts which so far relativly are protected from our interferance.. With our normal area's of fishing drying up quickly, how long will it take before we go and do our thing there too ... *sigh*
  • shouldn't it be... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wealthychef (584778) on Monday December 11, 2006 @09:42PM (#17202846)
    "octopi and squids"? :-)
  • by clifgriffin (676199) on Monday December 11, 2006 @09:43PM (#17202854) Homepage
    I get suspicious whenever a creature purported to have gone extinct X million years ago is discovered alive and well.

    It seems to happen with some regularity.

    It seems to me, if you find a fossil of an animal you believe to be extinct, you will probably test it with the assumption it is of relatively old age.

    I think you probably find what you're looking for.

    Anyway, not trying to start a flame war. But that's probably going to happen anyway. ("YOU IGNORANT BASTARD DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW DATING WORKS!!!")
  • by wellingj (1030460) on Monday December 11, 2006 @10:24PM (#17203168)
    I'm not sure enough people get the NGE allusion
  • by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Monday December 11, 2006 @10:29PM (#17203192) Homepage Journal
    that little nugget of news was reason to find cheer, i think

    a colossal school of herring? off new jersey? isn't that good news?

    why the despondent reaction to that news item? there are certainly tons of news items to find depressing reactions to about ocean life and man's hungry stomach... but that particular nugget of news is reason to cheer, don't you think?
  • New...? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by djupedal (584558) on Monday December 11, 2006 @10:31PM (#17203204)
    As in just fell out of the tree of evolution?

    ...bah....

    Those critter are most likely checking out the mini-subs and shaking their heads and thinking "Oh, look! A new species!"
  • by TapeCutter (624760) on Monday December 11, 2006 @10:47PM (#17203312) Journal
    What point are you trying to make, should they give up because their ultimate goal will never be reached?
  • by node 3 (115640) on Monday December 11, 2006 @10:49PM (#17203326)
    It's like finding a pocket of air in a sinking ship. The good news is far overshadowed by the bad news.
  • by Detritus (11846) on Monday December 11, 2006 @11:39PM (#17203610) Homepage
    It isn't such great news if the herring are filling an ecological niche left vacant by the destruction of another species, or are present in large numbers because their natural predators have been wiped out.
  • by hywel_ap_ieuan (892599) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @12:02PM (#17208916)
    I get suspicious whenever a creature purported to have gone extinct X million years ago is discovered alive and well.It seems to happen with some regularity.It seems to me, if you find a fossil of an animal you believe to be extinct, you will probably test it with the assumption it is of relatively old age.I think you probably find what you're looking for.Anyway, not trying to start a flame war. But that's probably going to happen anyway. ("YOU IGNORANT BASTARD DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW DATING WORKS!!!")
    You've hit on the first objection to your suspicion already - dating isn't based on anything so trivial as believing an organism is extinct. It's based, typically, on knowing the approximate age of the sediment the fossil is found in. That in turn is based on things like radiodating of overlaying igneous rock, index fossils [wikipedia.org] in the same or nearby layers, and similar techniques. Due to stuff like that, the general age of most sediments is pretty well known. Geologists who are familiar with a given area can tell you what era a particular formation dates from. If your fossil came from a well-known formation, you probably know the date of a given fossil plus or minus a few percent as soon as you locate it.
    As to how you know the critter is extinct: You don't, not with 100% certainty. But if it's over a few million years old, it's a pretty good bet. Most species don't last all that long, geologically speaking. And you're probably also rather misled by the popular reporting. The "Jurassic Shrimp" is actually a new species within a genus (Neoglyphea) with only one previously-known member, which genus is part of a family (Glypheidae)that was previously thought to be extinct. As one of the discoverers said, "the group is less completely extinct than was thought."

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