Strange Microbes have been found inside Naica Mine in Mexico. It appears these ancient creatures have actually been dormant for thousands of years.
Researchers seem to believe that these microbes have been living in these enormous subterranean crystals for up to 50,000 years if not more. They have managed to survive in pockets of liquid within these crystal structures and are without a doubt an amazing find. Scientists have recently managed to extract these microbes and wake them up.
The Cave of Crystals in Mexico’s Naica Mine are beyond captivating, however, the temperatures ranging inside the cave make it inhospitable. Temperatures range from one hundred and thirteen Fahrenheit and one hundred and forty-nine Fahrenheit making the crystals searing hot. Humidity levels usually stay around ninety-nine percent and the environment is overly acidic and completely engulfed in darkness.
Because of these things the microbes living in the cave cannot photosynthesise, they have to perform something called chemosynthesis which uses minerals inside the giant crystals. These crystals are about thirty-six feet long and are dated back half a million years.
While the bodies of these microbes had mostly shut down they are still alive. Some of these microbes were revivable and have been used to grow cultures in the lab. Currently, this discovery has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal so we cannot consider this discovery as definitive.
Penelope Boston, the director of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute and her team have spent many years researching and exploring this cave. Boston says that finding life like this is really showing us what can happen as far as manipulating materials goes. Boston announced their findings on February 17th, 2017 at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
She told the Telegraph:
“These guys are living in an environment where there’s not organic food as we understand it. They’re an example at very high temperatures of organisms making their living essentially by munching down inorganic minerals and compounds. This is maybe the deep history of our life here.”
According to Boston these microbes are not very closely related to anything in the known genetic databases and were quite the task to grow. If these results are confirmed they will significantly increase hope when it comes to finding life in extreme environments elsewhere as well, including on other planets. For more information on the Naica Crystal Cavern and Boston’s exploration of it until now please take the time to watch the video below.