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Science & Technology

Dinosaur-era microbes brought back to life

By T.K. Randall
July 31, 2020 · Comment icon 10 comments

Microbes can survive for an unimaginable amount of time. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Brocken Inaglory
Scientists have successfully revived microbes found in sediment samples that are over 100 million years old.
The samples, which date back to a time before even Tyrannosaurus rex roamed the Earth, were retrieved from the bottom of the Pacific ten years ago by the drill ship JOIDES Resolution.

The region in question, which is known as the South Pacific Gyre, descends to a depth of over 20,000ft and the microbes were found around 328ft beneath the sediment.

"Our main question was whether life could exist in such a nutrient-limited environment or if this was a lifeless zone," said study lead author Yuki Morono.

"And we wanted to know how long the microbes could sustain their life in a near-absence of food."
Incredibly, when the researchers provided the long-dormant microbes with nutrients, they came back to life, despite their extreme age.

To ensure that they were not being contaminated by modern microbes, the team placed the samples in a sterile environment and used a special tube to supply the nutrients.

Within 68 days, there were four times as many microbes as there had been at the start.

"At first, I was skeptical, but we found that up to 99.1% of the microbes in sediment deposited 101.5 million years ago were still alive and were ready to eat," said Morono.

Source: Live Science | Comments (10)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Jon the frog 4 years ago
What can go wrong...
Comment icon #2 Posted by Nnicolette 4 years ago
Coronavirus just isn't doing it lets try to revive whatever was around with the dinosaurs.... Brilliant.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Desertrat56 4 years ago
That's just what we need!
Comment icon #4 Posted by jethrofloyd 4 years ago
There is no need to panic, these are a microbes, not a viruses. 
Comment icon #5 Posted by Desertrat56 4 years ago
Will they eat oil or plastic?
Comment icon #6 Posted by jethrofloyd 4 years ago
They will only eat a plastic dinosaur toys. And inflatable rubber dinosaurs too. Since they are coming from the dinosaur-era, nothing else will be known to them.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Vox 4 years ago
Could this be extrapolated to finding life on Mars for example?  There was an almost total absence of food in this occasion and yet the microbes were still alive 100 million years later. If Mars had ever had life in the past 100 million years, could we find microbes in a similar situation?
Comment icon #8 Posted by Poncho_Peanatus 4 years ago
fascinating, any info on these bacterias?
Comment icon #9 Posted by Desertrat56 4 years ago
Comment icon #10 Posted by Swede 4 years ago
Bacteria are microbes. .

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