*NEWS*UNKNOWN CREATURES FOUND IN CAVE

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*NEWS*UNKNOWN CREATURES FOUND IN CAVE

 user 2006-06-02 at 11:42:00 am Views: 70
  • #15766

    Unknown creatures found in cave
    Eight
    previously unknown invertebrate creatures have been discovered in an
    underwater cave in central Israel.The largest is a white shrimp-like
    crustacean. Another resembles a species of scorpion and is blind.The
    cave was uncovered during drilling at a quarry close to Tel
    Aviv.Scientists say it is a unique ecosystem that has been sealed off
    from the world for five million years and could contain other ancient
    lifeforms.”The uniqueness is of the environmental conditions and of the
    palaeohistory,” said Dr Hanan Dimantman, a biologist at the Hebrew
    University of Jerusalem.”The result of this is that the ecosystem is
    unique. We are sure that the eight species that were found are only the
    beginning of the story of this ecosystem.”
    Ancient ecosystem
    The
    cave is connected to a lake and a network of passageways that extend
    for more than a mile (1.6km) some 400ft (120m) underground.The
    creatures have yet to be given a nameIt is thought to date back
    millions of years to a time when the area was part of the Mediterranean
    Sea.Scientists believe the ecosystem has been isolated since then,
    creating a unique environment in which new species have evolved.Two of
    the crustaceans are adapted to seawater and two others live in fresh or
    brackish water, suggesting they may be descended from ancient sea
    creatures.They have lost their eyes over the course of evolution in the
    gloom of the cave.All of the species were found alive, except for one
    species of blind scorpion, but scientists are confident that a complete
    set of living specimens will be found.Samples have been sent to experts
    in Europe and Israel to be named and classified.Paul Pearce-Kelly,
    senior curator of invertebrates at London Zoo, said the organisms would
    give clues to how life can evolve in the absence of sunlight.”They can
    give a very good insight into how robust life, and the evolutionary
    process driving it, can be,” he said