Octopuses help solve a long-standing mystery of West Antarctica demise

December 21, 2023


Washington Post


Turquet’s octopuses, a species of cephalopod found in the Southern Ocean, were able to move around a melted West Antarctic Ice Sheet as recently as 125,000 years ago, according to new research published Thursday in the journal Science. That timing is key, because it’s also the last time temperatures on Earth matched today’s exceptional heat. It could suggest another ice-free period in the region may be nigh, signaling a coming collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

The research is timely, as Van de Flierdt and her colleagues are currently in Antarctica searching for the first direct geological evidence revealing when the ice sheet collapsed during the Last Interglacial — a similar objective to the new study, though a different approach.

Original article