Home Glaciers Flock of fuzzy green ‘glacier mice’ baffles scientists

Flock of fuzzy green ‘glacier mice’ baffles scientists

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Ok, I can’t be the first person who saw this 2020 NPR coin and I immediately thought of the trolls of Frozenright?

Anyway, those glacier moss balls are still a bit of an enigma. Scientists have been tracking their movements and lifespan more closely over the past two decades to get a better idea of ​​how they fit into the ecosystem as a whole. And while there’s no satisfying answer yet, they’ve been able to rule out a few explanations.

In 2006, while hiking around Root Glacier in Alaska to set up scientific instruments, researcher Tim Bartholomaus encountered something unexpected.

“What is that thing!” Bartholome remembers thinking. He is a glaciologist at the University of Idaho.

Scattered across the glacier were balls of foam. “They’re not attached to anything and they’re just resting there on the ice,” he says. “They are bright green in a world of white.”

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