Tuesday, 27 November 2012

extinct species returns more than once and alien life may not be so far fetched

Ice Age warmth wiped out lemmings, study finds
By Michelle Warwicker BBC Nature
Lemmings became "regionally extinct" five times due to rapid climate change during the last Ice Age, scientists have found. Each extinction was followed by a re-colonisation of genetically different lemmings, according to the study. It investigated how Europe's small mammals fared during the era when large numbers of megafauna became extinct. Previously, experts believed that small mammals were largely unaffected during the Late Pleistocene. But when the international research team analysed ancient DNA sequences from fossilised remains of collared lemmings (Dicrostonyx torquarus) from cave sites in Belgium, they were surprised by the results."What we'd expected is that there'd be pretty much just a single population that was there all the way through," said research team member Dr Ian Barnes from the school of biological sciences at Royal Holloway University in Surrey. Instead the tests revealed that genetically distinct populations of lemmings were "present at different points in time" during the Late Pleistocene, 11,700 to around 126,000 years ago, meaning that the lemming population had been wiped out multiple times and then re-colonised some time after, possibly from populations in eastern Europe or Russia
This is interesting for cryptozoologists as if one creature can be extinct and return so could cryptids. Could be the answer to plesiosaur sightings, who knows?

Antarctic lake's clue to alien life
By Paul Rincon Science editor, BBC News website
The discovery of microbes thriving in the salty, sub-zero conditions of an Antarctic lake could raise the prospects for life on the Solar System's icy moons. Researchers found a diverse community of bugs living in the lake's dark environment, at temperatures of -13C.Furthermore, they say the lake's life forms have been sealed off from the outside world for some 2,800 years. Details of the work have been outlined in the journal PNAS. Lake Vida, the largest of several unique lakes found in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, contains no oxygen, is acidic, mostly frozen and possesses the highest nitrous oxide levels of any natural water body on Earth. A briny liquid that is approximately six times saltier than seawater percolates throughout the icy environment. Dr Cynan Ellis-Evans, from the British Antarctic Survey (Bas), who was not involved in the recent research, told BBC News: "There are various lakes that are very salty down there... but this is a really freaky one.
This is so exciting..maybe there is life on frozen planets.

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