In 2010, a Japanese scientific expedition went to the South Pacific Gyre, a place widely seen as one of the most lifeless places on Earth. The water here is nearly empty, as evidenced by the fact that one meter of sediment takes … a million years.
This small number of organisms in this area is the result of the action of ocean currents, through which very little food gets here. Researchers were able to collect samples from the sea floor up to 6,000 meters below the surface. The 100-meter core contains sediments that have accumulated over a period of 100 million years.
And sampling tests took many years and it was not until the end of February this year. Public Their results have been published. Scientists were able to confirm the existence of prehistoric bacteria, but there were very few of them. Subsequent experiments only brought surprising results.
It turns out that after eating, bacteria have woken up from inactivity for millions of years. Soon after, they began to multiply very slowly and in 5 days they doubled their number (bacteria Coli In laboratory conditions it takes 20 minutes.)
After 68 days, there were already 10,000 of them. Times more than the original. It was also surprising that the bacteria found using oxygen and the sediments collected were full of it. This reassured the researchers that the small amount of organisms in the South Pacific vortex was due to a lack of food, not oxygen.
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Biology prehistoric Living things are an astonishing feat, considering that bacteria have waited dormant for 100 million years and survived four geological eras buried at the bottom of the ocean.
Scientists doubt that bacteria They survived all this time and significantly slowed down their life cycle. This, in turn, may mean that they are… immortal. Another surprise was the discovery of a living group in the sediments Cyanobacteria Of the genus Chroococcidiopsis, which need light to survive.
Researchers are not sure how they would have survived for 13 million years on the sea floor at a depth of 6000 meters. Scientists think this is just the beginning of such discoveries. Given that 70 percent. Planets are covered with marine sediments, and scientists can discover many hitherto unknown microorganisms.