Scientists from the Natural History Museum have revisited the spot where Scott and his team took samples to make a comparison
They look like shrivelled pieces of leather – in fact they are dried communities of microbes scooped up by Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s team of polar explorers. And they could help scientists keep tabs on how Antarctica is changing.
While perhaps most famous for the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition from 1910-13, Scott also led the 1901-4 Discovery Expedition to Antarctica that was proclaimed a success, largely due to the pioneering scientific studies carried out on the trip. Among the research carried out during this earlier mission, the team collected a host of specimens including samples of microbial mats – layered, sheet-like structures that can grow in lakes and ponds.