Analysis of ice cores obtained from the basin of Lake Vostok, the subglacial lake that Russian scientists drilled down to in 2012, have revealed DNA from an estimated 3,507 organisms.
While the majority were found to be bacteria, many of which were new to science, there were also other single celled organisms and multicellular organisms found, including from fungi.
The diversity of life from the lake has surprised scientists as many had thought the lake would be sterile due to the extreme conditions.
Lake Vostok was first covered by ice more than 15 million years ago and is now buried 12,000 feet beneath the surface, creating huge pressures. Few nutrients were expected to be found.
However, samples of ice that had formed as water from the lake froze onto the bottom of the glacial ice sheet above have revealed it is teeming with life.