Sealed for over 5 million yearsa mysterious cave known as moving cavenative to Romania, revealed an ecosystem and species never seen before.
Exactly 5.5 million years ago, the cave was sealed by a landslide, isolate him from the world. Despite this, and from the toxic air that has accumulated inside, the cave of Movile has developed an ecosystem with various forms of life different from everything that lives outside.
In fact, man barely entered the cave just over 30 years ago, discovering a totally unknown world.
A different world inside the moving cave
The cave is located a few kilometers from the western black sea, In Romania. It was discovered in 1986 by workers looking for land to build a nuclear power plant.
At present, passage to the place is prohibited and it can only be accessed with a special permit. Even so, the caves in the area have a natural protection; a series of vertical shafts and narrow limestone tunnels, dangerous for any human being.
Inside the cave, the air has less than half the amount of oxygen which is out in the open, is teeming with high levels of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. Moreover, light has not penetrated its interior for millions of years, so it is totally dark.
The combination of these factors made it a place of great biological value. This led to several attempts to document it, which can be found in a 1996 paper written by a trio of biologists from the University of CincinnatiUnited States, which was published in the magazine Science.
Some time later, new studies have confirmed the exceptional character of this ecosystem which literally looks like another world.
Despite the extreme conditions, life seems to continue to develop. A first study identified up to 48 speciesof which 33 were unique to the cave.
Strange insect found in the cave.
In addition to a spider, a pseudoscorpion, a woodlouse and a centipede. Later, a leech, snails and other unique species were found.
Unknown and unique species
Some of the species found in the cave. Credit: Science.
Most of these species they have neither vision nor pigments. Another characteristic is that its appearance is lanky, with long limbs and hypersensitive antennae that help it move around in the dark.
the microbiologist J. Colin Murrellfrom the University of East Anglia, England, said the most normal thing is that the bacteria that exist in the cave were already living inside long before the cave was isolated.
The largest specimen found inside the cave, a giant centipede. Credit: Mihai Baciu/Gess Lab, Mangalia.
The rest of the insects must have been trapped, when the limestone ground collapsed and sealed the cave. Later, invertebrates reproduced and adapted to the extreme and hostile habitat of 100 square kilometers practically inaccessible.
Another aspect, as strange as disturbing, is that it is the first terrestrial ecosystem discovered, based on chemosynthetic bacteria. Most ecosystems need photosynthesis to harness solar energy, but due to lack of light in the cave, bacteria have to get their energy and carbon directly from chemical reactions, such as sulfide oxidation or ammonium oxidation.
The Movile cave could help experts understand what life was like in the primordial past of the planetas well as giving us some ways to fight against greenhouse gases.
You might also be interested in: Mysterious caves built with high technology over 2000 years ago.
At the beginning of the world, the sunlight was obscured by a ambient soup of carbon dioxide, methane and ammonia, so it is likely that the first living cells were Similar those that exist in the cave.
The Movile Cave mystery continues to be awaited, decades after its discovery. Experts believe that we still don’t know all the puzzles lurking in its depths, therefore investigations will continue.
References: The Republic / Science.
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