A few kilometers from the Black Sea RomaniaThe Mobile Cave, which has been sealed for the past 5.5 million years. By then, life has evolved in isolation from the rest of the planet, which is why it is considered a biological treasure trove.
This site was discovered in 1986 Soviet Union They looked for new land to build a nuclear power plant. However, they could not access its deep chamber, blocked by a series of limestone tunnels and vertical shafts.
One of the first attempts to explore this chamber is documented in a published article Science In 1996, a team of biologists from the University of Cincinnati managed to access it A never before seen environment.
When they entered, they found that there was air in it Less than half the oxygen Compared to externals. Likewise, high levels of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide were recorded, air toxic to most life on Earth.
As if all this wasn’t hostile enough, the cave is inside Total darknessSo it hasn’t received a single sunlight in the last million years.
In a study conducted by a team of biologists, 48 species were identified, 33 of which are completely new to science and have unique characteristics.
Unpublished organisms are included Spiders, Pseudoscorpions, Centipedes, Wasps, Leeches, Snails Others were discovered in subsequent studies.
Because of the lack of light, most of these animals He has no vision Y Non-pigmented.
A characteristic that many species have in common is long limbs and antennae that help them navigate in the dark.
A unique ecosystem on Earth’s surface
The research also determined that the first known ecosystem based on microbes belongs to this cave. Chemistry.
What do you say to this?
Most ecosystems are based on photosynthesis, where organisms use sunlight for energy. However, in a completely dark environment, bacteria derive their energy from similar chemical reactions Ammonium oxidation or sulphide oxidation.
For this reason, Cueva de Movile has a terrestrial ecosystem. Hydrothermal ventsLocated in the deepest parts of the ocean, where microbes do not have access to sunlight and resort to chemical compounding.
Decades have passed since humans entered the area, but experts believe there are many more species yet to be discovered. This is an attractive possibility for biology because we have the opportunity to continue to observe the effects of evolution in a small dark world.
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