DNA found in warm Antarctic caves could mean new plant and animal discoveries

Australian researchers studying glacial caves in Antarctica say they are so warm they could support plant and animal life.

This hypothesis comes after researchers have explored caves that could be as warm as 25 degrees Celsius or about 77 degrees Fahrenheit and found DNA that leads them to believe there could be living within the glaciers.

RELATED: Argentinian glacier breaks apart, Chile

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NTP: Argentinian glacier breaks apart, Chile
Ice cracks from the wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier located at Los Glaciares National Park, southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina, on March 10, 2016. With 250 km2 ice formation, and 30 km in length, the Perito Moreno is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes mountain range. AFP PHOTO / WALTER DIAZ / AFP / Walter Diaz (Photo credit should read WALTER DIAZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Ice cracks from the wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier located at Los Glaciares National Park, southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina, on March 10, 2016. With 250 km2 ice formation, and 30 km in length, the Perito Moreno is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes mountain range. AFP PHOTO / WALTER DIAZ / AFP / Walter Diaz (Photo credit should read WALTER DIAZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Ice cracks from the wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier located at Los Glaciares National Park, southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina, on March 10, 2016. With 250 km2 ice formation, and 30 km in length, the Perito Moreno is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes mountain range. AFP PHOTO / WALTER DIAZ / AFP / Walter Diaz (Photo credit should read WALTER DIAZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Ice cracks from the wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier located at Los Glaciares National Park, southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina, on March 10, 2016. With 250 km2 ice formation, and 30 km in length, the Perito Moreno is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes mountain range. AFP PHOTO / WALTER DIAZ / AFP / Walter Diaz (Photo credit should read WALTER DIAZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Ice cracks from the wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier located at Los Glaciares National Park, southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina, on March 10, 2016. With 250 km2 ice formation, and 30 km in length, the Perito Moreno is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes mountain range. AFP PHOTO / WALTER DIAZ / AFP / Walter Diaz (Photo credit should read WALTER DIAZ/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Sequence of images of the collapse of huge masses of ice from the wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier located at Los Glaciares National Park, southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina, on March 10, 2016. With 250 km2 ice formation, and 30 km in length, the Perito Moreno is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes mountain range. The most recent rupture was in March 2012 and the one before that was in 2008. AFP PHOTO / WALTER DIAZ / AFP / Walter Diaz (Photo credit should read WALTER DIAZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Ice cracks from the wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier located at Los Glaciares National Park, southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina, on March 10, 2016. With 250 km2 ice formation, and 30 km in length, the Perito Moreno is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes mountain range. AFP PHOTO / WALTER DIAZ / AFP / Walter Diaz (Photo credit should read WALTER DIAZ/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - An ice bridge cracks from the wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier located at Los Glaciares National Park, southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina, on March 10, 2016. With 250 km2 ice formation, and 30 km in length, the Perito Moreno is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes mountain range. AFP PHOTO / WALTER DIAZ / AFP / Walter Diaz (Photo credit should read WALTER DIAZ/AFP/Getty Images)
View of a glacier cave (R) of the Perito Moreno Glacier located at Los Glaciares National Park, southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina, on March 9, 2016. With 250 km2 ice formation, and 30 km in length, the Perito Moreno is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes mountain range. AFP PHOTO / Walter DIAZ / AFP / Walter Diaz (Photo credit should read WALTER DIAZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Picture taken at the Serrano Glacier, located in the Bernardo OHiggins National Park in the Chilean Patagonia, about 1,960 km south of Santiago, on February 21, 2016. Patagonia is a sparsely populated region located at the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes mountains as well as the deserts, steppes and grasslands east of this southern portion of the Andes. Patagonia has two coasts; a western one towards the Pacific Ocean and an eastern one towards the Atlantic Ocean. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BERNETTI / AFP / MARTIN BERNETTI (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
Picture taken at the Serrano Glacier, located in the Bernardo OHiggins National Park in the Chilean Patagonia, about 1,960 km south of Santiago, on February 21, 2016. Patagonia is a sparsely populated region located at the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes mountains as well as the deserts, steppes and grasslands east of this southern portion of the Andes. Patagonia has two coasts; a western one towards the Pacific Ocean and an eastern one towards the Atlantic Ocean. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BERNETTI / AFP / MARTIN BERNETTI (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
Picture of a waterfall at the Serrano Glacier, located in the Bernardo OHiggins National Park in the Chilean Patagonia, about 1,960 km south of Santiago, on February 21, 2016. Patagonia is a sparsely populated region located at the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes mountains as well as the deserts, steppes and grasslands east of this southern portion of the Andes. Patagonia has two coasts; a western one towards the Pacific Ocean and an eastern one towards the Atlantic Ocean. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BERNETTI / AFP / MARTIN BERNETTI (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
Picture taken at the Serrano Glacier, located in the Bernardo OHiggins National Park in the Chilean Patagonia, about 1,960 km south of Santiago, on February 21, 2016. Patagonia is a sparsely populated region located at the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes mountains as well as the deserts, steppes and grasslands east of this southern portion of the Andes. Patagonia has two coasts; a western one towards the Pacific Ocean and an eastern one towards the Atlantic Ocean. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BERNETTI / AFP / MARTIN BERNETTI (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
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The focus of the work has been on Mt. Erebus, an active volcano on Ross Island. Steam from the volcano has actually hollowed out complex cave systems under the glacier and DNA from algae, mosses, and small animals have been found.

The next step is to explore these caves more in depth, but co-researcher, Dr. Charles Lee says, “They’re really difficult to identify, get to, and explore."

After scientists last month released findings of over 90 volcanoes in the icy continent, it could mean a complex system of interconnected cave systems underneath the ice.

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