Looking for Life in an Ancient Subsurface Lake

Lake Vostok (cross-section) prior to completion of drilling. Credit: National Science Foundation

Okay, this may not have anything to do with animal physiology...but then again maybe it does...

Russian scientists have just retrieved a core sample of frozen ice from the subsurface Lake Vostok in Antarctica that has been isolated from the outside world for at least 100,000 if not millions of years. The lake was protected by 4,000 meters of ice. The scientists drilled a hole that reached the surface of the lake and allowed the pressure from the lake to raise the water into the hole, where it froze allowing them to collect a core sample. Scientists will now be working hard to assess the water's chemical and physical properties as well as look for signs of microbial life. It would be nothing short of amazing to me if they found life in this ancient lake.

Scientific American

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