Scientists Study Baffling Movements of Glacier Mice : Short Wave In 2006, while hiking around the Root Glacier in Alaska, glaciologist Tim Bartholomaus encountered something strange and unexpected on the ice — dozens of fuzzy, green balls of moss. It turns out, other glaciologists had come across before and lovingly named them "glacier mice."
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Meet The 'Glacier Mice.' Scientists Can't Figure Out Why They Move.

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Meet The 'Glacier Mice.' Scientists Can't Figure Out Why They Move.

Meet The 'Glacier Mice.' Scientists Can't Figure Out Why They Move.

Meet The 'Glacier Mice.' Scientists Can't Figure Out Why They Move.

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/868027341/868032205" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Glacier mice in Iceland. Ruth Mottram/Ruth Mottram hide caption

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Ruth Mottram/Ruth Mottram

Glacier mice in Iceland.

Ruth Mottram/Ruth Mottram

In 2006, while hiking around the Root Glacier in Alaska, glaciologist Tim Bartholomaus encountered something strange and unexpected on the ice — dozens of fuzzy, green moss balls. It turns out, other glaciologists had come across glacial moss balls before and lovingly called them "glacier mice."

NPR science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce and Short Wave reporter Emily Kwong talk about glacial moss balls and delve into the mystery of how they seem to move as a herd.

Read more of Nell's reporting on glacier mice here.

Follow Emily Kwong on Twitter @emilykwong1234 and get the latest tweets from Nell Greenfieldboyce @nell_sci_NPR.

Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

This episode was produced by Abby Wendle, edited by Geoff Brumfiel, and fact-checked by Emily Kwong.