“Underground Australia” (6August 2005) from New Scientist is an interesting and striking scientific article about the fauna in the underground area of Australia. The article’s field is biology which is the scientific study of the natural processes of living things. I found the article very interesting because it focuses on a new area of biology- stygobilogy. I have checked this word in the latest dictionary 🙂 but this word hasn’t been updated yet showing that this is really a new field of science. It explores the creatures that inhabit the watery regions of the underworld. Without science, may be till the end of my life, I wouldn’t have known that there actually were creatures that can survive under the ground where no light can reach, lack of food, harsh living conditions (there could be seismic waves, seismic activities or even earthquakes).
The article can tell me why in Australia-such an arid area can be a destination for stygofauna. That’s because underground Australia are hundreds of limestone deposits honeycombed with small holes filled with water, which are the ideal places for the stygofauna.
The article also describes how these creatures look like which is really amazing, enriching and interesting to know: eyeless, no pigmentation and wings, flattened, flexible bodies…etc. But that’s not the most amazing thing: each calcrete is a sort of underground island of water cut off from the others, which means each group of animals has evolved in isolation and therefore incredible diversity evolves.
Not merely listing all these characteristics, the article also explains why these creatures have such characteristics. For example: flexible bodies to squeeze through tight spaces. If it hadn’t been for science together with careful observations and analysis, we wouldn’t have known about these creatures and their amazing lives.
The article also put forward some hypothesis about the origin of the creatures down in the ground and gave some predictions about the so-called ancestors of these creatures. For example: it hypothesizes that the drying out of the continent 30 million years ago might have triggered an exodus from the surface, which is why there are water deposits under the ground nowadays.
Or the article also predicts that there are stygobites deep beneath the ground which might be “ghosts”, rare survivors that have long vanished from the world above. I find this a very interesting fact because if indeed there are such ghosts, by studying them, we can know about what actually happen millions of years ago, how their extinction comes about or even knows about the evolution of man which is still a myth to human beings. The articles also puts forward some of the interesting fields that scientists are still puzzled and need to explore further, for e.g. Why a single population should have evolved 2 species? What do they eat? How do they reproduce? …etc. Science is trying to answer a question of life here.
We human beings are always inspired and feel curious about the life around us and try to explain and predict it. This particular article has introduced to us about the life beneath us-a place which we rarely pay attention to and where darkness prevailed. Life is amazing; it can spring from and develop beneath the earth and soil, especially in different kinds of ways!!! The article is indeed amazing and intriguing, helping one to improve his knowledge about things that human beings have never seen or hear of before! It really helps improving my knowledge.