Fish Found Living Deep Below Antarctic Ice (Video)

January 23, 2015 Updated: January 23, 2015

The water below the Antarctic ice sheet is as cold and dark as ever, but it turns out it’s not as desolate as scientists thought.

Researchers recently discovered that there’s a whole ecosystem down there, complete with fish, crustaceans, and various invertebrates. The unexpected discovery came during a drilling expedition, the purpose of which was to break through the Ross Ice Shelf and for the first time, gain access to the water and seafloor below.

Equipment successfully bore a hole through the 25 hundred-foot frozen mass and collected some samples. None of them turned up any evidence of significant life.

That find came later and thanks to a specially designed remote operated vehicle. Once it was lowered into the chilly depths it beamed images of rocks and sand, but also caught a glimpse of a moving shadow.

Before long the robotic investigator was sharing images of all sorts of marine animals, including one very curious fish, which swam right up to the camera.

Scientists are thrilled with the find, but are still trying to figure out how the underwater community thrives. In addition to the frigid temps and complete lack of sunlight, there’s no identifiable sufficient food source.