The circumstances in which the life forms in Lake Vostok were found are being treated as if they’re alien beings from another world, and in some ways, they are. After all, these creatures were able to survive under conditions that would surely kill any animal on the face of the Earth.
Whether or not you consider the forms of life found in the subglacial lake to be alien largely depends on what you consider to be “our world.” Sure, technically, they exist on the same planet, but they had no sunshine, and the temperatures were insanely low, so it’s far from the same type of existence as life on Earth!
The Icy Pyramid
Scientists first stumbled upon what they thought was another pyramid buried deep in the icy mountains of Antarctica between 1910-1914, but they did not reveal the discovery to the general public until several decades later. Imagine that. Did the Egyptians reach the south pole? Surely not.
The secretive nature of the findings led to several conspiracy theories about the formation to arise. But as it turns out the “pyramid” was simply a part of the mountain range, and there is nothing extraterrestrial about it. Technically, the peak is called a “nunatak,” which basically just means the point of a rock poking up from a subglacial mountain range.
Lyuba: The Baby Mammoth
This poor baby woolly mammoth did not stand a chance against the frozen tundra of Russia. She was discovered near the Yuribei River in 2007 by a reindeer herder that happened to be passing by the area. Researchers dated her perfectly preserved body to more than 40,000 years old, believe it or not.
After scientists performed an autopsy of the mammoth, they found that it was not the ice itself that killed her but rather the mud around the banks of the river. Apparently, her trunk was full of mud, which leads them to believe that she suffocated. Poor thing.
The Pithovirus was first discovered only a few short years ago, in 2014, and was found in Siberia in ice that’s more than 30,000 years old. The virus can latch on to its victims and cause them to literally burst wide open. Luckily, Pithovirus is only known to affect amoebas, so you do not have to worry about some ancient virus coming back to wipe out the human population…at least, not this virus, anyways.
But its discovery has also brought other concerns to light, such as there might be another virus hidden deep within the permafrost that can kill humans.
Some bacteria found in the permafrost in different areas of the world are thought to have originated several million years ago. Scientists recently pulled out some samples, frozen in an enormous ice block, that were over 700,000 years old.
These Stone Age cells have been able to give researchers a peek into the climate of the world as it was way back when. But scientists fear that as more of the world’s ice melts away and releases more bacteria, more ancient diseases could return to wreak havoc upon certain parts of the world. Of course, they also can’t say for certain, so there’s no reason to worry about a zombie virus outbreak just yet.