Many New Species Among Those Found In Surprising Polar Census

February 16, 2009

Thailand (ChattahBox) – A new census has shown that there are over 7,500 species within the Antarctic, and 5,500 in the Arctic, debunking theories that the polar regions are wastelands of ice.

The numbers have not only surprised scientists, but also created hopes that some may possibly be new species, so far unknown to the biologist world. They also hope to discover more in the future.

“The textbooks have said there is less diversity at the poles than the tropics, but we found astonishing richness of marine life in the Antarctic and Arctic oceans,” Australian Antarctic Division researcher, Victoria Wadley, explained.

“We are rewriting the textbooks.”

They are hoping that genetic tests will show whether or not the species, especially those formerly unknown, are the same, or differ on both polar ends, as 235 were discovered that seemed nearly identical in both the Antarctic, and the Arctic.

“Painstaking work by geneticists investigating both nuclear and mitochondrial genes will only be able to confirm this. It may be they separated sometime ago but similar selective pressures have meant they have not changed much,” David Barnes, of the British Antarctic Survey, said.

Most of the new discoveries were simpler life forms known as invertebrates, or animals without backbones.

Researchers found scores of sea spider species that were as big as a human hand, and tiny, shrimp-like crustaceans in the Arctic basin that live at a depth of 9,850 feet (3,000 meters).


One Response to “Many New Species Among Those Found In Surprising Polar Census”

  1. Raquel on February 17th, 2009 11:43 am

    Those are some big spiders!

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