Some strange 50,000-year-old microbes were recently discovered inside enormous crystals that lie underground in Mexico’s Naica Mine. The ancient microorganisms laid dormant in small liquid pockets inside the crystals for thousands of years and scientists were able to extract and, astoundingly, revive them.
The Naica Mine is full of crystal structures. The sight is breathtaking but do not let such beauty fool you. The place is actually among the most inhospitable places on the planet, with temperatures ranging from 113 to 149°F or 45 to 65°C, and humidity levels greater than 99 percent. The underground environment is also extremely acidic plus light cannot penetrate further than around 1000 feet to 300 meters below the surface.
Since sunlight cannot penetrate the depths of the crystal cave, the microbes were not able to photosynthesize. As such, they performed chemosynthesis, a process where organisms convert inorganic compounds into food using chemical energy. The microbes utilized minerals such as sulfur and iron found in the gypsum crystals.
Some of the crystal structures are estimated to be about half a million years old.
Penelope Boston, an astrobiologist and the director of National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Astrobiology Institute, said that:
“These organisms are so extraordinary.”
Boston and her team of scientists obtained liquid from the small pockets in the crystals and sent them for analysis. Right then and there, they realized that what they were looking at were life forms that have not been previously known to man. They believe that the microorganisms have existed in the crystals for approximately 10,000 to 50,000 years and are still very much alive, despite being in a seemingly “shutdown” state.
In an interview with BBC, Boston stated that:
“Other people have made longer-term claims for the antiquity of organisms that were still alive, but in this case, these organisms are all very extraordinary – they are not very closely related to anything in the known genetic databases.”
What we find astonishing is the fact that scientists were able to “revive” some of the microbes that they found. They were even able to grow cultures from it in the laboratory.
In another interview, Boston said:
“Much to my surprise we got things to grow.”
“It was laborious. We lost some of them – that’s just the game. They’ve got needs we can’t fulfill.”
Columns of gypsum or selenite crystals in the cave measure as huge as 4 feet in diameter and 50 feet in length.
However, it must be emphasized that this discovery has not been published yet in a peer-reviewed journal, hence their findings cannot be considered definitive yet. Also, the team must be able to convince other scientists that the microorganisms that they extracted were not mere contaminants from the materials that they used; the possibility that the microbes came from the drilling equipment and not from the crystals have yet to be ruled out.
In a 2013 expedition in Naica, scientists were also able to discover microbial life in the cavern walls and in the nearby crystals. Purificación López-García, a French scientist from the French National Centre for Scientific Research and part of the 2013 expedition team, said that:
“I think that the presence of microbes trapped within fluid inclusions in Naica crystals is in principle possible.”
“[But] contamination during drilling with microorganisms attached to the surface of these crystals or living in tiny fractures constitutes a very serious risk,” she says. I am very skeptical about the veracity of this finding until I see the evidence.”
On the other hand, Brent Christner, a microbiologist from the University of Florida, begs to differ. He said that the researchers’ findings are not as bizarre as some scientists believed it to be.
“[R]eviving microbes from samples of 10,000 to 50,000 years is not that outlandish based on previous reports of microbial resuscitations in geological materials hundreds of thousands to millions of years old,”
Scientists were able to “revive” microorganisms extracted from the gypsum crystals.
Boston and her team of scientists claim that they made sure that the materials that they used to obtain the samples were sterile.
Undoubtedly, what Boston and her team found in the cave provide us interesting knowledge on how life can be sustained despite extreme conditions, given the hostile environment in the subterranean environment. Plus the fact that they were able to revive the microbes add to the wonder, just like how these scientists attempted to revive a 30,000-year-old virus.
We just hope that these newly-resurrected microbes are not back to haunt mankind with another deadly disease without a cure.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed.
Follow On Facebook
TikToker Shares How She Tricked Invaders Who Tried Opening The Hotel Door While She Was Alone
5-Year-Old Artist Already Getting Commissioned For Her Paintings
Hiker Discovers Creepy Alien-Like Creature That “Smells Like Rotting Flesh”
New York Store Is Selling ‘Wet Pants Denim’ For $75
Burglary Victim Writes Heartbreaking Note Begging Robber To Return Last Photos Dog
Meet The Gorgeous Actress Who Portrayed Zombie Queen In ‘Army Of The Dead’
Florida School Sparks Outrage After Editing 80 Female Students’ Photos To Cover Their Cleavage
McDonald’s Recruitment Poster Offers New Employees With Free iPhone After Working For 6 Months
Horrific Video Shows Lioness Attacking Circus Trainer In Russia
Taking 4,500 Steps A Day Could Help You Live Longer, Says Research
Man Iced Neighbor Who Repeatedly Asked Him “When Are You Getting Married?”
Do You Live in One of These 15 Countries With The Most Beautiful Women on Earth?
The Secret Meaning of Anklets And Why Some Wives Wear Them
Waking Up Between 3 to 5 AM Could Mean You’re Experiencing Spiritual Awakening
Divorced Man Wrote 20 Epic Marriage Advice He Wished He Could Have Had
Haunting Photos of Two Tourists Snapped Just Before They Mysteriously Disappeared
“Chastity Cages” is the Latest Thing for Men
Pork Fat Is Officially One of the World’s Most Nutritious Foods
Some Stranger Padlocked This Guy’s Earlobe And Ran Away With The Key
Three-Month-Old Baby Left Blind in One Eye After Family Friend Took His Picture
Interesting9 months ago
20 Countries With The Most Beautiful Women In The World
News6 months ago
Mexican Residents Tie Mayor To Tree After He Failed To Fulfill His Campaign Promise
OMG9 months ago
Savage Moment Husband Exposes Cheating Wife During Their Baby Shower
Travel10 months ago
The Circular Gardens of Brøndby Haveby