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New Animals Discovered in Cave Sealed Off for 5.5 Million Years

Science By
A waterscorpion attacks its crustacean prey (Patrick Landmann/SPL)
A waterscorpion attacks its crustacean prey (Patrick Landmann/SPL)

Deep below the surface of Romania’s Constanta County lies Movile Cave, which remained cut off from the outside world for 5.5 million years. After Soviet workers stumbled upon it in 1986, researchers discovered a whole new ecosystem of organisms living inside the cave, feeding on methane and carbon dioxide from flowing geothermal waters. Of the 48 species identified, 33 were new additions to the planet. Because of the poisonous gasses and the precariousness of the cave itself, Romanian authorities have only let about 100 people inside it since its discovery. To learn more about Movile Cave, watch the video below. View photos of the creatures by Patrick Landmann and Thierry Berrod underneath the video.

A centipeded, the biggest organism found inside Movile Cave (Patrick Landmann/SPL)
A centipede, the biggest organism found inside Movile Cave (Patrick Landmann/SPL)
 A waterscorpion (Thierry Berrod, Mona Lisa Production/SPL)

A waterscorpion (Thierry Berrod, Mona Lisa Production/SPL)
An unidentified pseudoscorpion (Thierry Berrod, Mona Lisa Production/SPL)
An unidentified pseudoscorpion (Thierry Berrod, Mona Lisa Production/SPL)
An unidentified leech (Thierry Berrod, Mona Lisa Production/SPL)
An unidentified leech (Thierry Berrod, Mona Lisa Production/SPL)
A cave woodlouse (Patrick Landmann/SPL)
A cave woodlouse (Patrick Landmann/SPL)