Researchers have discovered stunning signs of ancient life in a buried Antarctic lake located 600 kilometres from the South Pole, according to the Nature magazine.
Slawek Tulaczyk, a glaciologist at the University of California, touted the discovery of the crustaceans and a tardigrade, or "water bear", which are all smaller than poppy seeds, as "really cool" and "definitely surprising".
He was echoed by micro-palaeontologist David Harwood, a member of the Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) team, who described the finding as "fully unexpected".
Researchers said that DNA samples from the carcasses of the crustaceans will help them determine if they were marine or freshwater species. This, in turn, is expected to shed more light on the history of Antarctica's glaciers.