Is there any Kind of Life in the Antarctic?

The Antarctic region is the area around the South Pole. It includes the continent of Antarctica, which is the fifth largest continent. It is almost as largest as Europe and the United State combined. This region is the coldest and bleakest part of the earth. It is surrounded by the world’s roughest seas. it has strong winds, blizzards, little rainfall, and such severe cold that the whole region is almost useless.

There is never enough sunlight to warm the land, and there is a year-round covering of snow. The coldest temperature ever recorded in the world was in Antarctica, more than –38 degrees Centigrade. Because of the extreme cold, nothing seems to spoil, for there is no rot, rust, or bacteria.

What is to be found under the icy blanket of Antarctica? Not enough of it has been explored to really known. A few coal layers and small mineral veins have been seen by explorers. Probably other minerals do exist, but it would be so hard and expensive to get at them that they remain untouched.

The only plants that exist there are the simplest forms—a few mosses, lichens, fungi, and algae—which are of no value and furnish no food. Only birds and animals that can find food in the sea live in the region. The most common birds are skua gulss, snowy petrels, and several species of penguins. The penguins live and nest near the edge of the continent.

They have underdeveloped wings and cannot fly on land, but in the water they are good swimmers. There are several kinds of seal in antarctic waters. The only industry in Antarctica is whale hunting. But so many whales have been caught there that there is now an international control to limit whale hunting.

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