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Two hundred millennia: unknown ancient fish species found in arctic lakes

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Biologists discovered more than a dozen new species of fish while traveling in remote corners of Chukotka and the Kamchatka Territory. As scientists have found, these species appeared two hundred thousand years ago.

The discoveries were reported by Grigory Markevich, a senior researcher at the Kronotsky State Reserve, who participated in the expedition. The information was announced at a lecture in the St. Petersburg branch of the Russian Geographical Society.

“The first find was a relic whitefish, previously unknown to science. Fish was found in reservoirs that” drain “into the Arctic. We believe that this species settled [in the lakes] before the last ice age (more precisely, the ice age – approx. Ed.), and at the time of its onset, the reservoir did not freeze completely, so the species remained there for about 200 thousand years in such a form adapted to lake life,” the scientist reports.

The expedition covered dozens of previously unexplored lakes in the territory of Chukotka, the former Koryak Autonomous Region and the north of the Kamchatka Peninsula. The surveyed water bodies are scattered over an area of ​​40 thousand square kilometers (!).

The length of the expedition route was eight thousand kilometers. Scientists have done part of the journey with the help of aviation.

It was the inaccessibility of these lakes that caused them to never be studied before.

“The results of this work are of great importance for understanding the origin of various fish species. Now we are analyzing genetic samples of unknown species. These data will help to understand the evolutionary mechanisms of living organisms in arctic conditions,” Markevich concludes.

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