Sunday, 25 December 2011

1,000 Hidden Species Revealed in Aussie Outback Underground

The Australian Outback is hot, dry and desolate. But just under the surface it is teeming with life.

A team of researchers in Australia has been looking for invertebrates in small underground cavities beneath the desert. So far the team, including scientists from the University of Adelaide, the South Australian Museum in Adelaide and the Western Australian Museum in Perth, has found more than 1,000 new species. They estimate there are another 3,500 beneath the arid topsoil.

"When the discovery was first made, we didn't really believe it,"said team leader Andy Austin, professor of biology at the Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology & Biodiversity at the University of Adelaide. "We thought maybe it was unique to just three or four locations."

Instead, they have found the tiny creatures, including small crustaceans, spiders, beetles and worms, in nearly every bore hole they've looked down.

Read more here ...

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