Bacteria, like any animal, grows and evolves, and it can actually evolve much, much faster. So, scientists probably had a field day when they discovered bacteria specimens in some of the oldest ice that’s known to exist on Earth. They dated the samples back to 8 million years ago. That’s way older than anything else we’ve come across so far!
Unfortunately, for bacteria to survive in an arctic climate like that for so long, it means it’s the type that’s able to spore, which acts like a hibernation mechanism for the unicellular organisms. Scientists now have those samples in a lab. But even if ancient diseases can come back, they aren’t likely to affect modern-day humans very much.
The Real Encino Man
Remember "Encino Man?" The goofball comedy about Brendan Fraser as a caveman discovered in the ice? As silly as the movie might be, it’s actually based on truth. Of course, the real body that was found didn’t come back to life, but it was found in a block of ice.
The body was discovered in Canada in 1999, and scientists dated the corpse to be between 300-600 years old. Aside from the well-preserved body, the hunters that discovered him also found his walking stick and a fur coat. What’s interesting is that through DNA testing, they were able to find over 15 living relatives of the man in the ice, who had simply been dubbed “Canadian Ice Man.”
Kermit on Ice
It’s amazing that frogs could survive in arctic and sub-arctic areas, even in the summertime, as you’d think they wouldn’t even be found there. However, they apparently do, as this little guy was found frozen on top of a pond in Canada. He must have gotten trapped when temperatures dropped rather suddenly.
Interestingly, some frogs are able to survive in freezing cold temperatures – as long as they are able to dig down deep enough that the surface temperature won’t kill them, as was the case with this unfortunate amphibian. In North America, there are currently 5 known species of frogs that are able to live through extremely cold winters, but this one obviously wasn’t one of them.
The Prehistoric Moose
This poor European Elk, also known as a moose, ran into some seriously troubled (and frigid) waters. The animal was found underneath a frozen lake in Alaska by a pedestrian who was out for a leisurely skate. Scientists believe that the animal tried to cross the lake and fell in. Since the moose had nothing underneath him (or her) to kick off of, it either froze or drowned to death.
All jokes aside, this frozen beast revealed a lot to scientists. Among these things is an understanding of ancient creatures. First off, it shows that these ice-age beasts were similar in phenotype to a few of the animals that live today. This is because it has fur and antlers.
When people talk about the “inner Earth” conspiracy theory, they may be referring to an underground civilization living somewhere within…well, the crust of the Earth, or something like that. But in reality, there are actually entire ecosystems underneath the surface of the planet as we know it. Enter Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska.
You see, a glacier actually has the ability to swallow forests and spit them back out again when the ice starts to melt. This effect has come to be known as “moraine,” and is actually more common than you may think. So, in some areas, such as Juneau, scientists are beginning to notice more and more tree tops being uncovered from underneath the ice.