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The Making of Medicine

Scientists Revive Microbes That are Both Ancient and Freaky

This is amazing. Scientists have reported successfully reviving life forms that have been trapped in crystal for at least 10,000 years and possibly up to 50,000 years. The microbes were discovered in giant crystals inside Mexico’s Naica mountain caves, a place so inhospitable that it has been called Hell. But what makes this so interesting isn’t just that the ancient microbes have survived and been revived, but that the microbes are so, well, weird. “They are not very closely related to anything in the known genetic databases,” said Dr Penelope Boston, according to the BBC.

Temperatures in the abandoned mine range from about 100 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and the microbes must derive their energy by processing rock minerals. It’s freaky stuff that speaks to the diversity of life on Earth, and it may give us a hint of what life is like elsewhere in the universe, if it exists.


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