Faunal remains on the Ross Ice Shelf in McMurdo Sound

In February 1902, members of Scott's Discovery expedition found the remains of a fish 18 in. long on the surface of the “pinnacled ice” near the ice front of the Ross Ice Shelf in McMurdo Sound. In 1903, a party under Wilson found three Nototheniid fishes, sponges, shells, and seaweeds among similar ice on the floating section of the Koettlitz Glacier. The fishes, which were up to 48 in. in length, were all headless. They resembled a specimen caught in a seal blow-hole near the Discovery winter quarters, whose head was bitten off by a seal before it could be landed, but whose body weighed 40 Ib. and was 46 in. long. This fish was a Notothenia, close to N. colbecki Boulenger. In 1911, a party under Taylor found another large headless fish, which may have been as much as 4 ft. long, embedded in the ice of the Lower Koettlitz Glacier some 5 miles from its seaward end, and among the pinnacled ice near the Dailey Islands the same party found corals, shells, sponges, patches of sediment, and about a dozen small fish. The ice in this region was so rich in sponges that it was difficult to get spicule-free ice for cooking.


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Authors: Holdgate, M.W.

1 January, 1962
Polar Record / 11
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