Researchers think Shackleton's ship is still intact

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Legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton's famous ship, the Endurance, which he had to abandon in 1915 on his ill-fated Antarctic expedition, is probably still in very good condition on the ocean floor.

That is one conclusion from research that studied how sunken wood degrades in southern polar waters, according to a report by BBC News.

Experiments that submerged planks for more than a year found they returned to the surface in near-pristine condition and scientists point to the absence in the region of wood-boring "ship worms” as the likely reason. Anywhere else in the world these mollusks normally would devour sunken wood rapidly.

It means the remains of old wooden shipwrecks, such as the oak- and pine-constructed Endurance, which was pierced by ice, may be remarkably well preserved in their watery graves at the bottom of the sea, according to Adrian Glover of London's Natural History Museum.

"I think it's a reasonable hypothesis to suggest Endurance is still in good condition, certainly based on our experiments and what we know about low microbial rates of degradation in the cold Antarctic deep sea," Glover told BBC News.

Click here for the full report.

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