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.
Not all of the findings necessarily revolve around hunting because the early humans were of course gatherers, too. Among all of the artifacts found within the Yukon area was an intricately carved birch basket. Scientists dated the basket to nearly 650 years ago, and believe it was used to gather berries, and for carrying food and other items.
The container, which was discovered back in 2003, was meticulously woven. The dimensions of the basket were 2.3 inches high and nearly 10 inches wide. These baskets could be so tightly woven that they were even used to transport water. They would also use them for arts and crafts purposes, at times.
The remains of the ancestors of modern elephants, woolly mammoths, have been discovered all over the world, from Alaska to Siberia. These gentle giants had tusks that could reach up to 15 feet in length and could weigh up to 15 tons, although they weren’t necessarily the largest species. Remains of these creatures date back between 39 and 40,000 years ago.
In 2013, researchers discovered perhaps the most well-preserved woolly mammoth to date, deep in Siberia in a tomb of ice. They believe that the female mammoth lived nearly 40,000 years ago. The body was still so intact that it still had some blood. Scientists want to create a new hybrid species using the DNA of mammoths and elephants.
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.
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.