Scientists discover prehistoric cave with unknown lifeforms

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Scientists in Israel say that a cave containing an ecosystem with unknown life forms have been discovered in the Israeli city of Ramle. The cave was found when miners were drilling in a rock quarry.

"Until now eight species of animals were found in the cave, all of them unknown to science," said a biologist at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dr Hanan Dimantman. He also said that all of the life forms were found alive except for one.

At least eight species of unknown life forms were found to closely resemble scorpions. Dimantman also said that the cave has been sealed off from the outside world, receiving no sunlight for at least 5 million years, when parts of Israel were under the Mediterranean Sea. The life forms consist of four freshwater and seawater species and at least four terrestrial species. Scientists believe that they are related. Bacteria were also found, which scientists say served as food for the life forms. DNA tests have shown these life forms to be "unique" and unknown in science.

"Every species we examined had no eyes which means they lost their sight due to evolution," added Dimantman. "This is a cave of fantastic biodiversity."

The cave has been closed off to the public so researchers can examine it further.

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