Moss grows fat on rolling stones

Published May 29, 2020

Up there, in the Arctic, there are fields and glaciers with hundreds of balls of moss, not attached to anything, that roam the tundra … in herds.

Yes, you read that correctly. Tim Bartholomaus, a glaciologist at the University of Idaho, encountered just such a herd on trip to Alaska. So, like any good scientist, he dropped what he was doing to study the roaming balls of moss.

They do move in herds.

Your money quotes:

“They report that the balls can persist for years and move around in a coordinated, herdlike fashion.”

“They really do look like little mammals, little mice or chipmunks or rats or something running around on the glacier, although they run in obviously very slow motion,” says wildlife biologist Sophie Gilbert, also at the University of Idaho.

Tags: ,