From subglacial lakes to polynyas to petrified fossils, each of the discoveries made from beneath the thick layers of permafrost that have covered entire regions of our modern world can tell scientists everything they need to know about the ever-changing climate and the state of the environment throughout the different periods of history.
In some cases, they’ve been able to get their hands on the microorganisms found within fossils and other items recovered to dig more into the makeup of the environment over time. And other times, they have even been able to turn those windows into doors by bringing some of the sleeping flora back to life!
Another unfortunate discovery of some adorable Ice Age big kitties that met their untimely doom at the hands of Mother Nature was made when the bodies of two 10,000-year-old cave lions were found in Siberia.
Eurasian cave lions are said to be one of the largest species of lions to have ever existed. Parts of these animals have been found in the area before, mainly bones, but this was the first time that their full, well-preserved carcasses had been discovered. The bodies were reportedly in such good condition that they still had blood in their veins, and the meat was fresh.
Numerous tests have shown that humans are actually the number one cause of climate change. Since 1977, every year has gotten progressively warmer. Computer programs being used by scientists to track the data reported that 2016 was the hottest year in known history.
10,000 years ago, when the last ice age occurred, the temperature of the Earth was nearly 13 degrees cooler than it was at the beginning of the 2000s. Researchers have noted that at the rate the glaciers are disappearing, some mountain ranges might be completely free of the remains of these glaciers within the current century. However, it has also been reported that, for some reason, 19 major glaciers in southwest Asia seem unaffected by the rising temperatures.
Prehistoric Plant Life
Although most of the flora from hundreds of millions of years ago eventually died off, scientists have been able to determine that while it was here – it fought the good fight. Conditions in those days often meant that these plants would spend a consecutive 5 months in the sun and another with consistent sunlight.
They still are not entirely sure how they were able to survive it, just that they did. Today, plants take a much longer time to transition between the seasons, whereas millions of years ago, they could seemingly do so overnight! Ultimately, nature finds a way to survive.
The fossils found in 2017 in Antarctica were petrified, which means the plants had basically turned to stone from the inside out. They were able to teach scientists a lot, but they weren’t able to revive the plants since they were long dead. But this fossil of the Wollemi Pine – a tree that was alive hundreds of millions of years ago when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth – is alive.
One of the lead researchers on the team handling the discovery has called it the “equivalent of finding a living dinosaur.” Let's face it - it is a living thing from a long time ago. So we guess they're kind of right.