As the world warms up, melting ice sheets across the globe are exposing everything from trapped methane gas to Viking remains.
Having discovered what initially appeared to be fresh Adélie penguin remains at Cape Irizar on the Antarctic coastline, researchers were surprised to discover that carbon-dating put the carcasses at a minimum of 800 years old.
The site was originally identified by the pebble mounds used to build penguin nests, with penguin chick bones scattered on the surface. That didn't make sense – there's no record of a penguin colony in this spot since records began in the early 1900s.
After further excavation and the recovery of penguin bone, feather, and eggshell, subsequent analysis revealed this was in fact a long-abandoned penguin habitat.
"Overall, our sampling recovered a mixture of old and what appeared to be recent penguin remains implying multiple periods of occupation and abandonment of this cape over thousands of years," says marine biologist behind the discovery Steven Emslie, from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.