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Science & Technology

Evidence of life found in deep Antarctic lake

By T.K. Randall
January 19, 2019 · Comment icon 8 comments

The organisms had been down there for thousands of years. Image Credit: SALSA
Scientists have discovered the remains of several types of organisms in a lake over 1km beneath the ice.
The discovery was made by researchers at the Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) project who recently drilled down to Lake Mercer - a subglacial body of water in Antarctica.

Incredibly, by carefully sampling the water, they were able to find the remains of tardigrades, algae, diatoms and small crustaceans that had seemingly been down there for thousands of years.

It is unclear how the land-dwelling tardigrades and fungi managed to get there, however it has been speculated that they may have subsisted on bacteria in the water.
According to project leader John Priscu, every effort was made to prevent contamination of the lake or the samples and an independent expert was also brought in to verify the findings.

The next step will be to date the organisms and sequence their DNA.

The discovery adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that subsurface lakes on icy worlds such as Europa and Enceladus could potentially harbor extraterrestrial life forms.

As things stand however, further research will be needed to fully confirm the team's findings.

Source: Gizmodo | Comments (8)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by freetoroam 5 years ago
So much still to learn about past life on our planet.    Would be interesting to see if they can find out how long they were on this planet for, many creatures have become extinct on this fine planet, humans could also be on the cards, we need not even need to wipe ourselves out, nature could do that for us.  
Comment icon #2 Posted by susieice 5 years ago
If Adams could have examined more of the muck, he says, “it’s possible that you could still find things that are alive”. It would be really amazing if they found something still alive down there.
Comment icon #3 Posted by third_eye 5 years ago
Somebody get Kurt Russel on the phone, just in case ... ~
Comment icon #4 Posted by freetoroam 5 years ago
You called?
Comment icon #5 Posted by third_eye 5 years ago
I feels so much better already ~
Comment icon #6 Posted by freetoroam 5 years ago
Yep, Kurt has always had that 'thing' about him. 
Comment icon #7 Posted by third_eye 5 years ago
Aye ... ever the charming rogue    
Comment icon #8 Posted by EBE Hybrid 5 years ago
If Antarctica used to be a green continent covered in forests and life (which I'm sure I've read before, but I can't remember when or where so I'm sorry, but I can't provide references), it shouldn't be such a great surprise to find the remains of life in a subglacial lake. The lake may once have been dry land and the lake may have been formed by glacial motion. Finding living organisms would be great, and if Kurt could be on standby to deal with anything untoward that would be super cool, especially if it was Kurt circa Stargate/Soldier!

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