How did they get up there? Scientists discover 13 mummified MICE at the tops of three Andean volcanoes - and say they likely climbed the 20,000ft summits on their own

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From our attics to our room cabinets, galore of america person recovered mice hiding successful our homes.

But scientists were successful for a astonishment aft discovering nan mummified remains of 13 mice successful a very unexpected location - nan tops of 3 20,000ft Andean volcanoes.

With temperatures ne'er breaching freezing and astir half nan oxygen levels disposable astatine oversea level, these summits aren't for nan faint-hearted.

Initially, it was thought that nan mice had hitched a thrust up nan volcanoes pinch Incan pilgrims.

But a caller study led by experts from nan University of Nebraska claims that nan rodents sewage location connected their ain accord – though they person nary thought why.

Scientists were successful for a astonishment aft discovering nan mummified remains of 13 mice successful a very unexpected location - nan tops of nan 20,000ft Andean volcanoes

With temperatures ne'er breaching freezing and astir half nan oxygen levels disposable astatine oversea level, these summits aren't for nan faint-hearted

A fewer rodent cadavers were first recovered by archaeologists backmost successful nan 1970s and 80s, who initially suggested that nan mice were brought up by Incan pilgrims arsenic sacrifices.

'You can't responsibility nan archaeologists for reasoning this way, because what different mentation is there?' said Jay Storz, lead writer of nan study.

'Nothing could beryllium surviving up there, truthful they had to person been brought there.'

This mentation was called into mobility successful 2020, erstwhile mountaineer, Mario Perez Mamani, discovered a unrecorded leaf-eared rodent astatine nan apical of Llullaillaco – a 22,000ft volcano straddling nan Chile-Argentina border.

In nan caller study, nan researchers ventured up 3 volcanoes - Salín, Púlar and Copiapó – themselves, and discovered a full of 13 rodent cadavers.

'These are fundamentally freeze-dried, mummified mice,' Dr Storz said.

Having discovered nan rodent cadavers, nan researchers took them backmost to nan laboratory for analysis.

By measuring concentrations of carbon-14 – an atom that decays astatine a known complaint – nan squad was capable to find really agelong agone nan mice had died.

Eight of nan mice from Salin and 1 from Copiapo died nary much than a fewer decades ago, while 4 mummies connected Pular perished 350 years ago, according to nan researchers.

Eight of nan mice from Salin and 1 from Copiapo died nary much than a fewer decades ago, while 4 mummies connected Pular perished 350 years ago, according to nan researchers

In nan caller study, nan researchers ventured up 3 volcanoes - Salín, Púlar and Copiapó – themselves, and discovered a full of 13 rodent cadavers

'It now seems much and much clear that nan mice sewage location of their ain accord,' Dr Storz said.

Meanwhile, an study of nan mice's DNA confirmed that they were nary different to leaf-eared mice recovered astatine little altitudes.

'Our genomic information bespeak no: that nan mice from nan summits, and those from nan flanks aliases nan guidelines of nan volcanoes successful nan surrounding godforsaken terrain, are each 1 large happy family,' Dr Storz said.

The researchers are unsure why nan mice climbed nan volcanoes successful nan first place.

On nan ground, nan animals person respective predators, including foxes, upland lions, smaller cats, and birds of prey.

'Certainly, if you're hunkering down connected apical of a 6,000-meter volcano, you're astatine slightest safe from that,' Dr Storz said.

'You conscionable person different things to interest about. But why they're ascending to these utmost elevations is still a mystery.'

While it mightiness sound for illustration a leap, nan researchers dream nan findings could beryllium useful for early missions to Mars.

'Even astatine nan guidelines of nan volcanoes, nan mice are surviving successful an extreme, Martian environment,' Dr Storz added.

'And then, connected nan summits of nan volcanoes, it's moreover much so. It feels for illustration outer space.

'It conscionable boggles nan mind that immoderate benignant of animal, fto unsocial a warm-blooded mammal, could beryllium surviving and functioning successful that environment.

'When you acquisition it each firsthand, it moreover further impresses upon you: How successful God's sanction is thing surviving up there?'

Hard astatine work: NASA's Perseverance rover and Ingenuity chopper are searching for life connected nan Red Planet

NASA's Mars 2020 ngo was launched to hunt for signs of ancient life connected nan Red Planet successful a bid to thief scientists amended understand really life evolved connected Earth successful nan earliest years of nan improvement of nan star system.

Named Perseverance, nan main car-sized rover is exploring an ancient stream delta wrong the Jezero Crater, which was erstwhile filled pinch a 1,600ft heavy lake.

It is believed that nan region hosted microbial life some 3.5 to 3.9 cardinal years agone and nan rover will analyse ungraded samples to hunt for grounds of nan life.

Nasa's Mars 2020 rover (artist's impression) is searching for signs of ancient life connected Mars successful a bid to thief scientists amended understand really life evolved connected our ain planet

The $2.5 cardinal (£1.95 billion) Mars 2020 spaceship launched connected July 30 pinch nan rover and chopper wrong - and landed successfully connected February 18, 2021.

Perseverance landed wrong nan crater and will slow cod samples that will yet beryllium returned to Earth for further analysis.

A 2nd ngo will alert to nan satellite and return nan samples, possibly by nan later 2020s successful business pinch nan European Space Agency.

This conception creation shows nan Mars 2020 rover landing connected nan reddish satellite via NASA's 'sky-crane' system


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