Tiny Animal Is Thought To Have Survived The Last Ice Ages


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A tiny creature discovered in an enormous cave in Canada led to the environment being designated a globally significant Key Biodiversity Area in early 2023.

The creatures inside of the cave are known as Stygobromus canadensis, and it is believed that these tiny, almost translucent animals have survived since before the last major ice age, according to the BBC. The Stygobromus canadensis creature was found within the 21-kilometer Castleguard cave system in Banff National Park, and is not believed to exist anywhere else in the world at this time, Parks Canada wrote in a press release.

“Stygobromus canadensis is a very rare and mysterious creature,” Parks Canada ecologist Anne Forshner told the BBC. “It’s a tiny invertebrate that lives deep inside a cave. It’s about the size of an uncooked grain of rice. It’s blind, it has no pigment, and it lives in a freshwater environment.”

Despite the exterior of the cave system being “relatively new” in geological terms, roughly 10,000 years old, the environment inside of the cave is thought to have remained stable for some 700,000 years, the BBC noted. (RELATED: Camera Catches Mysterious Beast Roaming In Texas, Officials Ask For Public’s Help)

Access to the cave is a three-day round trip that has to occur in the winter months when the surrounding landscape is relatively dry. Climbers and cavers first uncovered the extent of the system in 1994, and went on to climb a 60-meter-tall shaft within the system in 2005, according to Gripped. Its interior structure was photographed many years later, with images shared on social media showing the strange formations within the system.