1 million year old bacteria live under the Antarctic ice sheet in ancient lakes


Nature presents a team formed of Brent C. Christner, John C. Priscu and other researchers that drilled 800 meters into the Wstern Antarctic ice sheet, right where Subglacial Lake Whillans (SLW) is, and were able to find 1 million old bacteria living in there.

Well, the ecosystem in there is 1 million years old in any case, not the bacteria themselves. The researchers were able to conclude that the microbial life from that ancient lake has lived just fine over the eons and that they may also influence Southern Ocean geochemical and biological systems7.

Their paper can be read here: doi:10.1038/nature13667. Journalist Douglas Fox was with them and he explains what happened when they discovered those bacteria.

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