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Greener Diet
Food Web Woes
When Fungi and Algae Marry
The Oily Gulf
Finding the Past
Big Woman of the Distant Past
The Taming of the Cat
Of Lice and Old Clothes
A Grim Future for Some Killer Whales
Electric Ray
Food and Nutrition
A Taste for Cheese
Healing Honey
Allergies: From Bee Stings to Peanuts
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Human Body
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Invisibility Ring
Echoes of a Stretched Egg
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Sweet, Sticky Science
A Change in Leaf Color
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Box Turtles
Space and Astronomy
Chaos Among the Planets
No Fat Stars
Gravity Tractor as Asteroid Mover
Technology and Engineering
Searching for Alien Life
Weaving with Light
Roll-Up Computer Monitors to Go
The Parts of Speech
Adjectives and Adverbs
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Flying the Hyper Skies
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Life under Ice

Deep below a thick slab of floating ice off Antarctica, an astounding community of creatures has surprised scientists who had expected to find nothing there. In December 2003, researchers drilled a hole through the Amery ice shelf in Antarctica. They picked a spot that was 100 kilometers (62 miles) from open ocean. And they had to dig through 480 meters (1,575 feet) of ice just to get to Once the drill broke through, a camera took pictures of a patch of seafloor that spanned 2 square meters (22 square feet). No one expected to see much that far from open ocean. Scientists didn't think that currents under the ice were strong enough to deliver food and nutrients to support life in such an environment. Creatures that live in the ocean's depths often filter food out of the water or pick food off the seafloor. In the photographs, however, the team identified more than two dozen species of sponges, mollusks, sea urchins, and other invertebrates, including a sea snail. "These creatures are no different from those that live in open water at that depth," says Martin J. Riddle, a marine biologist at the Australian Government Antarctic Division in Kingston, Tasmania. the ocean underneath. A probe measured the currents under the shelf, which were strong enough to deliver tiny creatures called microplankton to the area. Microplankton are at the bottom of the food chain. In the future, the scientists say, paleontologists shouldn't rule out the possibility that ancient communities of sea life were once covered with ice, too. It's a cold but bustling world down there.—E. Sohn

Life under Ice
Life under Ice

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