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Revived Microbe May Hold Clues For ET Lifeforms

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the calling-agent-smilla dept.

Biotech 126

krou writes "Science Daily is reporting that a microbe, Herminiimonas glaciei, buried some 3 km under glacial ice in Greenland, and believed to have been frozen for some 120,000 years, has been brought back to life (abstract). The microbe, some ten to fifty times smaller than E. coli, was brought back over several months by slowly incubating it at gradually increasing temperatures. After 11.5 months, the microbe began to replicate. Scientists believe that it could help us understand how life may exist on other planets. Dr. Jennifer Loveland-Curtze, who headed up the team of scientists from Pennsylvania State University, said: 'These extremely cold environments are the best analogues of possible extraterrestrial habitats. ... [S]tudying these bacteria can provide insights into how cells can survive and even grow under extremely harsh conditions, such as temperatures down to -56C, little oxygen, low nutrients, high pressure and limited space.' She also added that it 'isn't a pathogen and is not harmful to humans, but it can pass through a 0.2 micron filter, which is the filter pore size commonly used in sterilization of fluids in laboratories and hospitals. If there are other ultra-small bacteria that are pathogens, then they could be present in solutions presumed to be sterile. In a clear solution very tiny cells might grow but not create the density sufficient to make the solution cloudy.'"

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Welcome! (4, Funny)

Captain Kirk (148843) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353537)

I for one welcome our new tiny frigid overlords. And for once I am not talking about my wife :(

Zeitgeist the Movie (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28353571)

Slashdot open your eyes to your corporate overlords! They are blinding you to the truth! Watch Zeigtgest, the Movie [zeitgeistmovie.com] and no longer be part of the sheeple!

Re:Zeitgeist the Movie (1)

Kuroji (990107) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353933)

Altruism. It's a good idea. Too bad it's about as likely to work as manifesting things through pure force of will. Go take an economics class.

Re:Zeitgeist the Movie (0, Offtopic)

MeatBag PussRocket (1475317) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354429)

i manifest a few loads of fecies every now and then, through sheer force of will... and i must say... its quite a gratifying act.

Re:Zeitgeist the Movie (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28354691)

Altruism: It's a plague, and it's ultimately just setting us up for TARP.

Re:Welcome! (4, Funny)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353591)

"Science Daily is reporting that a microbe, Herminiimonas glaciei, buried some 3 km under glacial ice in Greenland, and believed to have been frozen for some 120,000 years, has been brought back to life (abstract).

Jeeze, don't anyone learn from history? Last time they dug up a frozen creature from the ice it began killing its way through the Norwegian base and then the American one! Burn it! You have to burn it!

Det er ikke ei bikkje, det er en slags ting!

Re:Welcome! (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353803)

In unrelated news, team zoologist Dr. Hans Blitzen has reported that his prize alaskan malamute, Sparky, has begun acting very strangely.

Re:Welcome! (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354667)

Update: Dr. Hans Blitzen now reports that everything is fine, and there is nothing to worry about.

Re:Welcome! (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355455)

+1 rofl (no mod points left - I *always* have mod points apart from when I need them)

Re:Welcome! (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354043)

Well, humorous as "The Thing" reference was meant to be, one has to wonder how controlled the lab environment was when this thing was discovered passing thru filters.

And the fact that a bug not seen in 102,000 years is known not to be a pathogen (when virtually NOTHING else is known about it) seems of little comfort.

Its a bacteria. What viruses live inside it?

What could Possibly Go Wrong here?

Re:Welcome! (2, Insightful)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354145)

Not all bacteria cause us to get sick. In fact, the vast majority don't do anything (noticeable) to us. The fact that this is so old means our immune systems are probably more likely to be able to deal with it, and since they found it surviving in ice, I doubt our nice warm bodies are it's preferred climate.

Re:Welcome! (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354557)

> and since they found it surviving in ice, I doubt our nice warm bodies are it's preferred climate.

It was dormant in Ice. After 11 months of gradual warming it started to reproduce. Who knows what its optimal temperature is.

Re:Welcome! (2, Informative)

MeatBag PussRocket (1475317) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354823)

Microbes are found in almost every habitat present in nature. Even in hostile environments such as the poles, deserts, geysers, rocks, and the deep sea and have been known to survive for a prolonged time in a vacuum, and can be highly resistant to radiation, which may even allow them to survive in space. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microorganism#Habitats_and_ecology [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia]
it is very likely that even though we ingest huge ammounts of disgusting fast food this would not make your body an environment hostile enough to kill any given microbe. perhaps parts of your immune system or bodily produced acids may kill such a thing but certainly no gaurntee

Re:Welcome! (2, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#28357469)

"Microbes are found in almost every habitat present in nature."

The bacteria found in a human body outnumber the cells, however they only weigh a few kg's in total. Many of these bacteria live in a symbiotic relationship with our cells, we would die without them. Citation [kovideo.net]

Re:Welcome! (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354189)

The vast majority of microbes are not harmful to us. There are thousands of different species in a gram of dirt, and thousands of yet more species in another gram of dirt. If a significant fraction of them were harmful it would be impossible to stay healthy. I think our odds are plenty safe in assuming this microbe won't hurt us.

Re:Welcome! (2, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354503)

> There are thousands of different species in a gram of dirt,

And we are exposed to these daily, and have built up immunity.

> I think our odds are plenty safe in assuming this microbe won't hurt us.

I hope you are right, because we have no exposure to this one, and no immunity.

Re:Welcome! (4, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28356203)

> I hope you are right, because we have no exposure to this one, and no immunity.

The immune system does not rely exclusively on previous exposure. Your body has many different defenses against bacteria.

Disease-causing bacteria have evolved to survive in the extremely hostile environment inside living animals.

Re:Welcome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28357487)

We also had no exposure to most of the ones in dirt when we were born, and that didn't stop us.

Re:Welcome! (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354555)

The first thing that could go wrong is some yahoos on /. without on real knowledge or experiences start saying clueless speculation.

Re:Welcome! (1)

MeatBag PussRocket (1475317) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354833)

/. ? clueless speculation?

you _must_ be new here

Re:Welcome! (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28356553)

Well, humorous as "The Thing" reference was meant to be, one has to wonder how controlled the lab environment was when this thing was discovered passing thru filters.

And the fact that a bug not seen in 102,000 years is known not to be a pathogen (when virtually NOTHING else is known about it) seems of little comfort.

I felt a need to lighten the mood seeing as this is definitely a remnant of the Star Spawn and it heralds the awakening of the sleeper! ai! ai! ai!

Re:Welcome! (4, Informative)

ignavus (213578) | more than 5 years ago | (#28357111)

Its a bacteria. What viruses live inside it?

It's a bacterium. If there are two or more, then they are bacteria.

If we are to be killed by resurrected ancient bacteria, at least let us be grammatically correct when we die!

The earth is only 10,000 years old (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28357353)

102,000 is more like 10,000. Carbon dating is the largest lie in history.

Re:Welcome! (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354185)

Jeeze, don't anyone learn from history? Last time they dug up a frozen creature from the ice it began killing its way through the Norwegian base and then the American one! Burn it! You have to burn it!

Or even worse, it might become a lawyer.

Re:Welcome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28353843)

I saw a movie like this once, it didn't end well for us...

Here's a scene from that movie. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28354067)

It's a .gif file of one scene while two castaways were trying to choke the monster. [4chan.org] Great stuff, better than Into The Blue.

Re:Welcome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28353913)

She's not so frigid for me.

-Picard

Re:Welcome! (1)

ormondotvos (936952) | more than 5 years ago | (#28357597)

Sounds like this is happening in many places right now as we melt old ice in our carbon hubris. And that wicked old sun keeps irradiating genomes with UV, doo dah...

This doesn't look good (4, Interesting)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353547)

but it can pass through a 0.2 micron filter... If there are other ultra-small bacteria that are pathogens, then they could be present in solutions presumed to be sterile.

Okay, I'm sufficiently worried enough to get my tin hat.

Re:This doesn't look good (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353593)

I don't think your tin foil hat will help. Then again with a bug that can be brought back to life after 120000 years and slide through a 2 micron filter. Not much would help if it were to turned out to be dangerous.

Re:This doesn't look good (4, Insightful)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353701)

I don't think your tin foil hat will help. Then again with a bug that can be brought back to life after 120000 years and slide through a 2 micron filter. Not much would help if it were to turned out to be dangerous.

Pathogenity requires extensive adaptive mechanisms from a microbe, otherwise it isn't able to live in an organism with an immune system. Microbes that cause human illnesses have through countless generations developed traits that enable them to grip molecules on human cells, thrive in tissues, and resist the immune cells' attempts to destroy them. The odds of a 120,000-year-old bacteria turning out to be dangerous are minuscule.

Re:This doesn't look good (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353759)

The odds of a 120,000-year-old bacteria turning out to be dangerous are minuscule.

Agreed, however, that doesn't mean there aren't pathogens out there that small that we just haven't found yet.

My tin foil hat stays on.

Re:This doesn't look good (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353853)

Agreed, however, that doesn't mean there aren't pathogens out there that small that we just haven't found yet.

Yeah, that's the danger. Not that this microbe could be infectious (an extreme long shot), but it is an existence proof for microbes smaller than what we filter for.

Re:This doesn't look good (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354477)

I don't see that as a danger though. On the contrary, it sounds like a very beneficial thing for medical researchers to be aware of.

Re:This doesn't look good (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354637)

Er, yes. Tiny microbes that we don't filter are the danger. Learning about their existence is not dangerous, it's the opposite of dangerous. This is just the "Oh shit, we've been exposed and didn't know it" moment.

Re:This doesn't look good (5, Funny)

TinFoilMan (1371973) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353949)

My tin foil hat was just fitted with a 0.1 micron filter.

Re:This doesn't look good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28354467)

ohgodohgodthat'sthat'sgoinggoingtotocausecausefeedbackfeedback

Re:This doesn't look good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28356673)

try a plastic bag over your head. That will protect you for sure.

Re:This doesn't look good (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353779)

The odds of a 120,000-year-old bacteria turning out to be dangerous are minuscule.

The odds of any particular bacterium being dangerous are low.

FWIW, 120,000 years is not that long ago from a biological perspective. Some pathogens can pass from pigs, rabbits, or other mammals to humans... it's not like mammals didn't exist 120 millenia years ago.

The bigger tipoff is that the bacteria survived in ice. It's not likely that a bacterium adapted to live in ice will also be able to live (and thrive) in humans.

Re:This doesn't look good (3, Informative)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354243)

FWIW, 120,000 years is not that long ago from a biological perspective. Some pathogens can pass from pigs, rabbits, or other mammals to humans... it's not like mammals didn't exist 120 millenia years ago.

Really? I would say it's an eternity. The Flu changes sufficiently to render itself impervious to our vaccines on a monthly and in some cases daily basis. Multiply that by 120,000 years, and I think we would have seen this bacteria before if it had any staying power as a mammalian pathogen.

Re:This doesn't look good (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354425)

The flu is a virus, not a bacteria, and it requires a host organism to survive.

Apples to orangutans. There are bacteria that can infect humans but also exist free of a host, though these are rare and typically not a threat as a pathogen except for the immuno-compromised.

Multiply that by 120,000 years, and I think we would have seen this bacteria before if it had any staying power as a mammalian pathogen.

Why? If it infects arctic land creatures, it could possibly exist in an isolated population for some time. Or it could be extremely virulent and have killed off its host population, in which case we wouldn't have seen it.

There are several possibilities for a pathogenic organism to be able to remain undiscovered for a long time. Of course, none of those are likely. But possible? Yes.

But I'll stick to my first conclusion, which is that a bacteria adapted to survive in ice is only infinitesimally likely to also be a human pathogen.

Re:This doesn't look good (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354617)

He didn't say low, he said miniscule. as it a better chan ce of winning every lottery for a year, while being struck by lightning are mor likely to happen.

And if it does happen, then it isn't adapted to get anything from our body, so it will be harmless. It will be destroyed or ignored.

And crossing species is only done when 2 or more virus have evolved the abilities interact to share genes in those species.

for bacteria 120,000 years is a huge amount of time and many, many, many generations have based and they may ahve evolved significantly. Unless they found a host that adds no addition evolutionary pressuers...even then random mutations may have cause enough changfe that thet are different.

It survived frozen in ice. A lot of bacteria will do that, they are pretty simple machines in that respect.

Re:This doesn't look good (1)

verbalcontract (909922) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354689)

Obviously you haven't seen Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer [wikipedia.org] .

Re:This doesn't look good (1)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#28356853)

The bigger tipoff is that the bacteria survived in ice. It's not likely that a bacterium adapted to live in ice will also be able to live (and thrive) in humans.

Note, it survived in ice, not necessarily adapted to live in ice. Note that it did not replicate until it was incubated at 5C (41F). </nitpick> Though it was explicitly mentioned as non-pathogenic. I imagine cold-blooded creatures would have more to worry about.

Re:This doesn't look good (2, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#28357551)

"I imagine cold-blooded creatures would have more to worry about."

Don't tell the politicians they will pull the funding.

Re:This doesn't look good (1)

pz (113803) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353785)

Pathogenity requires extensive adaptive mechanisms from a microbe, otherwise it isn't able to live in an organism with an immune system. Microbes that cause human illnesses have through countless generations developed traits that enable them to grip molecules on human cells, thrive in tissues, and resist the immune cells' attempts to destroy them. The odds of a 120,000-year-old bacteria turning out to be dangerous are minuscule.

You're saying this because you're asserting that mammalian immune systems are radically different now than they were 120,000 years ago? Our genus (Homo, as in Homo sapiens) has been around for something like 2.5 million years. A bacterium from 120,000 years ago could well be infectious to humans.

Re:This doesn't look good (1)

eli pabst (948845) | more than 5 years ago | (#28358015)

Pathogenity requires extensive adaptive mechanisms from a microbe, otherwise it isn't able to live in an organism with an immune system. Microbes that cause human illnesses have through countless generations developed traits that enable them to grip molecules on human cells, thrive in tissues, and resist the immune cells' attempts to destroy them.

I don't know if I really agree with that. Some of the more dangerous pathogens are those that have recently jumped from other species and have had little time to evolve into coexistence with their new host. SIV infections are symptomless in their natural host, but deadly in related primate species (including HIV in humans). Same thing with herpesviruses, relatively minor symptoms in their natural host, but often deadly when they make a zoonotic jump (herpes B amd AlHV are good examples). Plus 120,000 years ago is not very long at all on an evolutionary time scale and it could have easily been exposed to other primates/mammals (even humans) at that time. In fact the age of it really only guarantees that a human host would have zero protective immunity against it, so it would be like smallpox blowing through native American populations.

Re:This doesn't look good (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28353761)

From TFAbstract, the bacteria are 0.043 um^3 in volume. I know they're rod-shaped, but a sphere of that volume has a radius of 0.22 um; depending on the aspect ratio of the rod, they could be narrow enough to pass through 0.2 um pores (eg, if the rod is 0.2 um in diameter, it would have to be 1.4 um long). And yes, I know the pore size is nominal. Either way, there are far tighter filters that could be used if pathogenic bacteria on this scale are discovered. Membranes with 0.1 um nominal pores are used to clear mycoplasma, for example.

wasn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28353557)

this posted yesterday?

Any chance we're going to get a dinosaur? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28353605)

Any chance we're going to get a new dinosaur out of this? I don't know about you, but I've been preparing to go to Jurassic park since I was 13.

Re:Any chance we're going to get a dinosaur? (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353741)

Any chance we're going to get a new dinosaur out of this? I don't know about you, but I've been preparing to go to Jurassic park since I was 13.

Yeah, there's a chance, but I wouldn't be pre-ordering my tickets to Jurassic Park if I were you since the last time we got a dinosaur from a microbe it took about 1.5 billion years.

Re:Any chance we're going to get a dinosaur? (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354235)

Yeah, there's a chance, but I wouldn't be pre-ordering my tickets to Jurassic Park if I were you since the last time we got a dinosaur from a microbe it took about 1.5 billion years.

Oh well, I guess I can wait.

Re:Any chance we're going to get a dinosaur? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355563)

What to do in the meantime is the question. I've got a deck of cards and a frisbee.

Re:Any chance we're going to get a dinosaur? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28355621)

The damn line to get into the park is 1.5 billion years? How much are the skip-the-line passes?

Re:Any chance we're going to get a dinosaur? (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 5 years ago | (#28358085)

Any chance we're going to get a new dinosaur out of this? I don't know about you, but I've been preparing to go to Jurassic park since I was 13.

Since you were 13? Wow. You must be very good at running and screaming by now.

l4d (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28353645)

two weeks after first infection...

Don't want to be a party pooper (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353735)

But I hope they're being very careful with these things. Excited Chrichton-like sci-fi visions notwithstanding, we could easily get ourselves into a lot of trouble with things like these. And I'm not thinking about dinosaurs, but rather things like our collective genomes losing resistance to things that are supposed to have disappeared from our ecosystems.

Re:Don't want to be a party pooper (1)

yenne (1366903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353833)

Now all we need is a novel whose climactic ending details the heroic efforts of quack scientists to destroy the proliferating microbes with tiny black holes from the LHC.

Re:Don't want to be a party pooper (1)

pwfffff (1517213) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353961)

So you're telling me I shouldn't have licked the samples when I was working as a lab assistant there?

Seriously, they aren't shooting them up or anything, and it's just as likely that we've evolved some super-effective method of removing these microbes in the meantime. Maybe that's even what caused them to seek out the safety of the frozen north!

Re:Don't want to be a party pooper (2, Interesting)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354631)

but rather things like our collective genomes losing resistance to things that are supposed to have disappeared from our ecosystems.

Hopefully that's not the way it works.. I mean, isn't the genome mostly stuff which 'appears' to have no value? Maybe this is the archive of things useful from past ages.

*touches plastic-covered glue-and-wood-chips*

tiny bacteria (4, Funny)

rev_sanchez (691443) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353765)

Not to question her qualifications as a scientist or anything but I suspect that being a woman she forgot to account for shrinkage.

Re:tiny bacteria (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28354391)

women are highly qualified to find things that are smaller than advertised.

Great! Glacier water... (0, Troll)

PoolOfThought (1492445) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353775)

Now bottled water from glaciers is suspect. I feel for these folks:

http://www.free-press-release.com/news/200906/1244408897.html [free-press-release.com]
and these folks
http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Luxury-Water-Utilities-Llc-864814.html [marketwire.com]

From the second one:
"Glacier water is superior to common water sources, because it is not filtered through the ground where a variety of dissolved solids and organic particles such as rocks, sand, metals, chemicals and underground pollutants can attach to each water molecule. It is essentially an exclusive worry-free water source â" clear of heavy chemicals, drug residues, jet fuel, toxins, dust particulates, etc. â" unlocked from glaciers that are over 10,000 years old. Not only will our clients be able to drink and bathe in this premium untainted water, they can also breathe indoor air that is hydrated or humidified with pollution-free water."

Drink up!

Re:Great! Glacier water... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28353887)

It's just filtered tap water, so they're OK. All water supply companies lie about their source being some wonderful well, stream, or glacier, they really just buy it from the municipal supply water.

What Could Possibly... (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353805)

So it begins.

The Plague 2.0 (3, Interesting)

curtix7 (1429475) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353811)

I can't wait until "is not harmful to humans" turns into "wasn't supposed to be harmful to humans"

Re:The Plague 2.0 (2)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355653)

Fortunately this isn't a movie, so this is what's going to happen:






(Absolutely nothing)

Watch out! (2, Funny)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353839)

We should probably send their little frozen cousins on the moon a quick warning about the incoming NASA rocket!

Re:Watch out! (3, Interesting)

yenne (1366903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353865)

... assuming of course that the microbes didn't revive themselves in order to prevent the launch in the first place.

Dead? Not so much,,,, (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353859)

If this was 'brought back to life' (assuming the process was done by mere mortals), then it was never truly dead. It may have been dormant, in suspended animation, or beyond modern sciences' ability to detect life, but it certainly was not dead. Dead is what something is when it doesn't come back. And don't talk about 'my uncle died on the operating table three times...'. That's clinically dead, an altogether different thing.

Re:Dead? Not so much,,,, (2, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353943)

You're playing with semantics. It no longer exhibited any of the characteristics of life. It had no metabolic function, no internal chemical reactions. It was dead. If you have a definition from a dictionary that defines dead to include someone who is irretreviably dead but not clinically dead, bring it forth. Otherwise, please realize such things are not so cut and dried.

Re:Dead? Not so much,,,, (2, Interesting)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354143)

That's just the point. It have had some metabolic function and internal chemical reactions. I am pretty sure that's required for all carbon based life, no matter how simple. It's like saying that the Sea Monkeys I had as a kid were dead and 'brought them back to life' at home. They were not dead.

Re:Dead? Not so much,,,, (2, Interesting)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354291)

That's just the point. It have had some metabolic function and internal chemical reactions.

Is that true though? If the bacteria's temperature is dropped low enough, all metabolic functions would stop (it's hard to say that all chemical reactions would stop, but that's the case for nearly everything, living or not). When the temperature is raised, the reactions would start occurring again and metabolism would start up.

Re:Dead? Not so much,,,, (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354713)

What you are describing is not death, but extreme hibernation or suspended animation. Many lifeforms will slow to a deathlike state when temperatures are lowered enough. Centuries ago, scientists thought many of those creatures actually were dead. Now, with more advanced instruments, they know they are not dead at all but in extreme hibernation. Death is when nothing (beyond a crit roll on a d20) can bring the lifeform back.

Re:Dead? Not so much,,,, (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354753)

Death is when nothing (beyond a crit roll on a d20) can bring the lifeform back.

Wait, you have to roll a 20 when you cast Raise Dead now? Man, I must be a few editions behind.

Re:Dead? Not so much,,,, (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28356805)

Wait, you have to roll a 20 when you cast Raise Dead now? Man, I must be a few editions behind.

Naw, that goes back to the 1st Edition magical item the Staff of Healing (aka the Heal Stick), which you used to heal someone by beating them with it. On a critical hit, it could even heal the dead. In the universes with such an item, the term "beating a dead horse" referred to the inordinate amount of time a martially unskilled but greedy rancher would spend bludgeoning a valuable deceased horse with a Heal Stick attempting to bring it back.

Re:Dead? Not so much,,,, (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354701)

No, you can have death. And then be brought back. It is archaic to define death as 'a irreversible coma'.

I have seen people with no response in there brain or heart be brought back.
It's only a matter of time were death will be reversible for hours after the fact.

If someone has been lying on the slab for 3 days, and I figure out how to bring them back, were they dead?

Re:Dead? Not so much,,,, (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354751)

It's only a matter of time were death will be reversible for hours after the fact.

Possibly I suppose. But once cell death goes cascade and massive (i.e. decomposition), then bringing them back would require rebuilding their vital organs' cells via nanomachines (or some such). That would not really be 'bringing them back' as much as 'we can rebuild it, we have the technology'; really a entirely new life form.

Re:Dead? Not so much,,,, (3, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354311)

Go ahead and mod me troll, but...

Something that is dead has no potential of becoming alive again. Otherwise it is not truly dead, but only mostly dead. The question is, what does the bacteria have to live for?

Now take this pill and don't go swimming for a half hour. And have fun cytokine-storming the castle.

No no, he's not dead (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28357519)

ah well, he's probably pining for the fjords.

Remarkably, a python quote which is actually topical! //Lovely plumage!

Re:Dead? Not so much,,,, (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 5 years ago | (#28356211)

In other words...

- I wish to complain about this bacterium, what I thawed out not 'alf an hour ago from this very block of ice.

- Oh yes, the, ah, the Herminiimonas glaciei... What's, ah... W-what's wrong with it?

- I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. It's dead, that's what's wrong with it.

- No, no, 'e's ah... he's resting.

- Look, matey, I know a dead bacterium when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

- No no, h-he's not dead, he's, he's restin'!

- Restin'?

- Y-yeah, restin.' Remarkable microbe, the Herminiimonas glaciei, isn't it, eh? Beautiful ribosomes!

- The ribosomes don't enter into it. It's stone dead!

- Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!

- All right then, if he's resting, I'll wake him up! 'Ello, Flaggie! Mister Flaggie Bacterium! I've got a lovely fresh host organism for you if you wake up, Mr. Flaggie Bacterium...

- There, he moved!

- No, he didn't, that was you pushing the Petri dish!

- I never!!

- Yes, you did!

- I never, never....

Re:Dead? Not so much,,,, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28353983)

It's not clinically dead if you "die" on an operating table and are revived. It's ambiguous and, essentially, meaningless.

Re:Dead? Not so much,,,, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28354181)

It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead.

There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.

Re:Dead? Not so much,,,, (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354345)

No, it was dead dead. And now that it's alive and going to have to start paying taxes again, it's going to be really pissed off.

Re:Dead? Not so much,,,, (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354643)

No, I've seen people brought back to life, in one case after almost 5 minutes.

Clinically dead, is dead.
Go to a graveyard, all those people underground? there clinically dead to.

Re:Dead? Not so much,,,, (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28358069)

No, I've seen people brought back to life, in one case after almost 5 minutes.

I assure you, you have not. You've seen people in deathlike states resuscitated. Children who fall through an icy pond can be underwater for 20 minutes and still be resuscitated. These children are not dead, but rather in an extremely minimal metabolic state.

The term 'clinically dead' refers to people who have no detectable signs of life (i.e. detectable heartbeat, breathing). That would included anyone who is truly dead as well, but not the other way around. So a truly dead person is also clinically dead, but a clinically dead person is not truly dead. True death starts when cell death cascades and becomes massive, also called decomposition. Once the body begins to decompose, there is no coming back.

Re:Dead? Not so much,,,, (2, Funny)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355191)

I just assumed that, given its location, it was really just pining for the fjords.

Do they know how an immune system would respond? (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 5 years ago | (#28353981)

[disclaimer] I don't have much knowledge in this area [/disclaimer], but is it possible (not probable) that there is a danger that it could provoke an immune reaction? The article says it's not a pathogen, so I'm not worried that it's a threat, or that it would get in hollywood fashion out even in the very tiny tiny chance it was dangerous in anyway.

Is this the Oldest Living Thing? (1)

popo (107611) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354683)

So ... does this mean that this bacterium is now the "oldest living thing"?

Re:Is this the Oldest Living Thing? (1)

Ada_Rules (260218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355239)

So ... does this mean that this bacterium is now the "oldest living thing"?

No, that distinction still applies to Democratic Senator and former KKK member Robert Byrd.

Re:Is this the Oldest Living Thing? (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355595)

Democratic Senator and former KKK member Robert Byrd

Lol. Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-V95eGgZbrU [youtube.com]

I've never heard of the guy before so thought I'd google him. I was watching; noticed a pattern and hoped it might repeat. Then, the gods smiled upon me at 00:32 - *Awesome*

Re:Is this the Oldest Living Thing? (2, Informative)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355299)

A couple orders of magnitude too young to claim that crown, according to this site [extremescience.com]

consider this (1)

KingPin27 (1290730) | more than 5 years ago | (#28354761)

Anyone ever think there might be a good idea that this little microbe was buried beneath the ice at an abnormal depth and frozen to almost complete immobility for so long? Seriously why wake an unknown microbe before we even have anything that can protect us from its potential spread. I'm going to go lock myself in 2 ziplock freezer bags and wait for the destruction.

there are things worse than goblins in the depths of the world.M

Reviving things buried in ice (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28355113)

Hmm (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 5 years ago | (#28356005)

Whatcouldpossiblygowrong?

Origins of Life (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28356461)

These things are now some of the smallest known biological systems. They're still too big to give us sufficient hints to the origin of life. It is hard to believe that there are not smaller biological systems out there waiting to be found. It has been suggested that Mars may still have some life on it deep underground and these may be more likely to be "closer" to the origin of life.. but maybe not. If not, that might imply that life didn't originate in our solar system and both Mars and Earth were seeded by extra-solar asteroids.

Chaos Will Ensue (1)

Flere Imsaho (786612) | more than 5 years ago | (#28356871)

Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that's how it always starts. Then later there's running and screaming
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