Okay, sorry for the provocative article title, but we couldn’t resist. However, it’s true enough, but don’t go outside looking for UFO’s and spaceships. The aliens invading Antarctica are getting where they are going in a much more conventional manner. Antarctica is a very harsh living environment, and for years, scientists have regarded it as as the most pristine place on the Earth as far as being unaffected by life in general. Only the true survivors of Earth’s bountiful life can make a living in Antarctica’s insane conditions. However, scientists have discovered that species from all over the Earth are invading Antarctica at a much faster pace than originally thought, and a lot of them are making a pretty good go of it.
The concept of the study conducted by scientists from South Africa’s Stellenbosch University was simple enough. They wanted to know what species not native to Antarctica could survive there and where on the immense continent they could thrive. To their surprise, what they found was that plants especially have already found their way to the southern reaches of the planet in an all-out invasion. So how do plants make the trip to Antarctica? Easy. They piggyback rides with humans. The scientists vacuumed the clothing of a group of people who journeyed to the final frontier of Earth recently. What they found was that the average person was carrying around 9 or 10 plant seeds without having any knowledge of it. The study uncovered over 2800 seeds in all. These seeds make the voyage in people’s clothing, shoes, and baggage, only to be deposited in an alien land far from home. Surprisingly enough, many are surviving just fine. Poa annua, a very common grass that grows all over the United States, often treated as an annoyance, has already completed its invasion of the peninsula jutting out from the Antarctic mainland.
As is so often the case, scientists blame the “invasion” on global warming. They say that Antarctica is the heating up faster than anywhere else on Earth, making it more inhabitable by the year. Opponents of this theory say that the Earth is just going through its normal cycles, which take place over millions of years and not mere decades, and the process has little or nothing to do with anything human beings have done. This debate continues to rage on, but one thing is for certain. Very average plants are finding the Antarctic lifestyle to be much more comfortable than anyone could have imagined.