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Evidence of 100,000-Year-Old Life Found In Antarctic Subglacial Lake

Soulskill posted 1 year,5 days | from the too-bad-they-were-just-looking-for-jimmy-hoffa dept.

Earth 63

Researchers taking advantage of retreating ice shelves in Antarctica have discovered evidence of life that's been sealed away for nearly 100,000 years. Lake Hodgson on the Antarctic Peninsula, once covered by over 400 meters of ice, is now obscured only by a thin layer three to four meters thick. Scientists carefully drilled through the ice and took samples (abstract) from the layers of mud at the bottom (as much as 93 meters below the lake's surface). "The top few centimetres of the core contained current and recent organisms which inhabit the lake but once the core reached 3.2 m deep the microbes found most likely date back nearly 100,000 years. ... Some of the life discovered was in the form of Fossil DNA showing that many different types of bacteria live there, including a range of extremophiles which are species adapted to the most extreme environments. These use a variety of chemical methods to sustain life both with and without oxygen. One DNA sequence was related to the most ancient organisms known on Earth and parts of the DNA in twenty three percent has not been previously described."

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Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,5 days | (#44813793)

and like avian bird flu can take down humans, as well.

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | 1 year,5 days | (#44813811)

Please please please

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (1)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,5 days | (#44813863)

You first.

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814147)

Only if I transform into a hideous monstrosity like in resident evil. Then I'de be more then happy.

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44816905)

Oh dear, my mother in law is already infected.

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44813909)

hopefully itll be like obesity and AIDS - mostly just the trash of society doing stupid things that get it. hopefully itll kill much faster than AIDS and obesity.

apparently nature doesn't think all "lifestyle choices" are equal!

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814473)

...trash of society doing stupid things...

Like going to Antarctica and digging up microorganisms?

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44821481)

...trash of society doing stupid things...

Like going to Antarctica and digging up microorganisms?

Since when has that caused obesity or AIDS? Thanks for proving the Troll's point, I guess. Despite him being marked to -1, he was correct. Note that he used the word "mostly", he's not claiming everybody gets AIDS or becomes fat based on their lifestyle choices. But he IS correct in that the majority of people with those ailments have only themselves to blame.

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44813867)

The planet works best when is rebooted every 60-70 millon years, you know, cruft gets accumulated.

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (0, Troll)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,5 days | (#44813901)

SteggoCare didn't save the dinos, will ObamaCare save us?

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (4, Funny)

Iniamyen (2440798) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814489)

*I* voted for Brontosaurus.

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44815643)

You DO know he never existed, he was a dummy thrown together.

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44815733)

You DO know what a joke is, right?

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44820231)

Okay, so he broke a few major promises, that's hardly a reason to pretend that he was a candidate that was completely fabricated by marketing drones.

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44817349)

:D

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (3, Funny)

instagib (879544) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814589)

The planet works best when is reinstalled every 60-70 millon years, you know, cruft gets accumulated.

FTFY. Because the planet surely doesn't want to boot up with the same virus (=human) infested crap again.

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | 1 year,5 days | (#44818505)

Wait, you're saying the earth runs Windows?

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44819337)

Wait, you're saying the earth runs Windows?

Only creationists believe that. Everyone else knows windows can't possibly run longer than about 6000 years before crashing.

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44819149)

instagib, FTFY --

Yeah, humans are a virus and a crap life form.
So, let's stop feeding the hungry and healing the sick. Let's let the strong kill the weak.

On second thought, lets just hand out cyanide pills to all people who admit to being a virus. Us normal people will continue to feed the poor, heal the sick, and defend people, and you can be satisfied knowing that you're no longer using mother terra's resources and changing natural evolution.

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814227)

What? lol. Last I checked our genetic diversity almost all but assures we wont be wiped out by any natural virus. But perhaps a human engineered virus?

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44816597)

Genetic diversity? We're not as bad as the cheetah, but we're not exactly a poster child for it either.

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44817459)

ethically its wrong but as long at it targeted fundies and born agains ID secretly be happy with it, Oh god does that make me a sinner? Arrrggghhhh now Im praying.
Stop, stop, Ive changed my mind!

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (2)

Bengie (1121981) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814437)

There's already bacteria in regular every-day soil that can not only survive in our strongest anti-biotics, but metabolize them. But don't worry, nearly all bacteria is benign.

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44815115)

I just hope it brings about another strain of AIDS and all the faggots and junkies die. Especially the shit eating faggots.

Re:Watch it be the virus that killed the dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44817603)

Which obviously includes you.

most like 100,000 years (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814009)

http://news.slashdot.org/story/08/09/10/2257242/research-finds-carbon-dating-flawed
science will probably understand someday, how history follows bible prophecy.
have you heard of Nebuchadnezzar's dream?
now about Isaiah's naming Cyrus 150 years before his birth?

Re:most like 100,000 years (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814075)

Most of the people on this site would agree that 100,000 years is shorter than one million. You shot your own foot.

Re:most like 100,000 years (1)

tompaulco (629533) | 1 year,5 days | (#44815307)

Most of the people on this site would agree that 100,000 years is shorter than one million. You shot your own foot.

Yeah, what a goofball. Links to a site that says radio carbon is accurate to one million years, when even Discovery says it is only good to 50,000.

Re:most like 100,000 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44815581)

50,000 years is the max for C-14 radiocarbon dating (other sources say 70,000 or 100,000 depending on published date, technique, and circumstances of the sample in question), but the article the young-earth creationist linked to is for a dating method involving the C13/C12 ratio, both of which are stable isotopes of carbon, and the max age of which is around 150 million years as per that link. So not knowing the difference between radiocarbon dating and C12/C13 ratios is one thing, but believing the Earth is 6,000 years old? Goofball is damned light.

Re:most like 100,000 years (2)

turbidostato (878842) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814113)

"have you heard of Nebuchadnezzar's dream?"

Yes. It was about a hovercraft, and something about machines being the new overlords eating humans controlled under a matrix, wasn't it?

Re:most like 100,000 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44815655)

'You believe it's the year 2013, when in fact it's closer to 102013.'

Re:most like 100,000 years (1)

Empiric (675968) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814187)

Jesus said: When you see your likeness, you are pleased. But when you see your images which came into existence before you, which neither die nor become manifest, how much you will have to bear!

--Thomas

Adding some Old Earth counterpoint here. Viewing the images is left as an exercise for the reader.

Re:most like 100,000 years (3, Informative)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814265)

Link: carbon dating can't be trusted beyond 150 million years.

Conclusion: The date of 100,000 years given here is wrong.

If you'd taken time to scan the paper, you'd easily find the section on dating (2.2): "A chronological model was
developed using a combination of radiocarbon, optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), and relative
palaeomagnetic intensity dating. [...] OSL measurements suggested that material incorporated into the basal sediments might date to
93,000 ± 9000 years ago."

I.e. the 100,000 years is independent of carbon dating. (Actually, I'm surprised they even attempted carbon dating in this environment.)

Re:most like 100,000 years (4, Informative)

mZHg (2035814) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814379)

Most people think radio-dating is only done by carbon, they don't understand that we use different element in different context..
They usually don't understand the principle of half-life and think we have to wait that time to measure it..
Typical creationist argument ;)

Re:most like 100,000 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44815209)

And as far as I know there are more than one carbon radio dating method each of which can test different time frame. Creationists suck.

Re:most like 100,000 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44815983)

Yeah, I know, right? Most people think internet-dating is only done by geeks, yet here I am...taking a break from Half-life on Slashdot...

First words from reanimated human melted from ice (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814043)

"Are my global warming carbon credits still accepted in this millennium?"

Re: First words from reanimated human melted from (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44816509)

Not until converted to BitCoins.

Re:First words from reanimated human melted from i (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | 1 year,5 days | (#44819785)

"Yes, but we're trying to warm the planet now to prevent an ice age. Those are now considered debt."

Re:First words from reanimated human melted from i (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | 1 year,5 days | (#44819793)

"Also I'm one of the aliens who has populated the planet in your absence. Hi! Wow we're really similar except for the foreheads."

X Files (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814047)

Wasn't this the exact premise for an X Files episode?

Re:X Files (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44818287)

And after drilling down over 400 meters of ice, proof that Twinkies last forever !

Who's gonna watch Obongo's shuck 'n jive act tonig (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814095)

Amirite?

One man alone (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814283)

cannot fight the future

Reprieved ! (2)

David Govett (2825317) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814419)

To aliens from another planet, we humans might appear to be extremophiles. At least we'd be worthy of study. There's that.

Re:Reprieved ! (4, Interesting)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | 1 year,5 days | (#44815691)

Not likely! While I don't really want to go through the exact details of it (I've had hilariously long and protracted conversations about this before), liquid water and the chemistry of the common non-metals (hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon) at temperatures where water is liquid have some fairly special properties that make them really well-suited to giving rise to life. Ammonia instead of water seems possible, but a few sci-fi staples like silicon-based lifeforms are extremely unlikely—and given the fickleness of what we know about abiogenesis, it's likely that any emergent life that starts off using anything unfamiliar will optimize toward something more similar to what we have. Strange things might be possible, but it's pretty likely alien life will be... compostable (if not edible) by us Earthlings.

Re:Reprieved ! (1)

homsar (2461440) | 1 year,5 days | (#44816735)

What about Earth-like life of opposite chirality? As far as I know there's no advantage to our chirality, it's just a spontaneous symmetry-breaking style effect, so it seems plausible that another planet might have identical-seeming biochemistry but be of the opposite chirality.

Re:Reprieved ! (4, Interesting)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | 1 year,5 days | (#44816805)

Yeah, that's the biggest difference between "compostable" and "edible." There are a lot of detritovores that don't care about the chemicals they're chewing up; unless it's something toxic enough to kill them, anything just looks like a carbon chain in dire need of stripping. Molecules of the wrong chirality definitely fit in this category.

That being said, chirality isn't the only thing that you can count on being totally arbitrary. The choice of amino acids is pretty fickle (humans only have 20, some species have two more, and we often modify them... and there is a more-or-less infinite number of them that nothing on Earth uses at all. [wikipedia.org] ) Nucleotides are similar [wikipedia.org] , and the debate about nucleic acid backbones is open [wikipedia.org] . There are countless opportunities for different preferences amongst sugars (we're designed around glucose, rather arbitrarily) and other metabolites. In a real-life validation of all of this, Archaeans don't even use normal phospholipids in their membranes [wikipedia.org] ! (Which seems like such a bizarrely difficult thing to do that I sometimes wonder if it isn't evidence of multiple abiogenesis events, but that's a bit flimsy.)

Re:Reprieved ! (2)

delt0r (999393) | 1 year,5 days | (#44817721)

Something also left out is nucleosynthesis. Basically where does anything heaver than lithium come from. We have a pretty good idea on these processes. The upshot is that if you have silicon you are going to have carbon and other easier materials to deal with. Bottom line is that carbon is just really awesome and forming lots of different stable compounds and polymers and water is an amazing solvent.

Also we tend to forget that life as we know it already uses most of the periodic table.

Re:Reprieved ! (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | 1 year,5 days | (#44820333)

Exactly; if, for some reason, some form of pre-life began using weird components like a nitrogen-phosphorus backbone or a silane backbone, it's almost certain there would be more Earth-like replacements more readily available—and there are already whole frickin' nebular clouds of bits and pieces of organic molecules, so it's not like the universe is really lacking in opportunities for this sort of thing anyway. Some arguments have been made about silicon perhaps being more viable at extreme temperatures and pressures, but I'm not convinced such an environment is stable enough for Baby Self-Replicating Molecule's First Steps.

Re:Reprieved ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44817647)

In a few hundred years when we've damaged the ecosystem beyond being able to support our life, we all die off... (if it even takes that long), and then maybe a few thousand after that the aliens will come visit, most of our 'civilization' will be gone by then (even concrete buildings will have crumbled into dust in a few thousand years without maintenance), and maybe by some chance they'll dig up some fossilized remains...

... and the first thing they'll say is "that's impossible, our tests say they've been here 8000 years, and yet we know God created us Brastfurians as the only life in the universe, and only 6000 years ago, so there can't possibly be any life before that!" And then they'll hop into their spaceship again and fly off to another solar system...

I think I've seen this movie a few times (1)

14erCleaner (745600) | 1 year,5 days | (#44815281)

It never [imdb.com] ends [imdb.com] well [wikipedia.org] .

Fossil DNA? (1)

brillow (917507) | 1 year,5 days | (#44815651)

I am a biologist and I don't know what "fossil DNA" is.

Re:Fossil DNA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44816593)

Well when one dinosaur loves another dinosaur...

Re:Fossil DNA? (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | 1 year,5 days | (#44816605)

That's because it's dead and biologists only study living things

Early Happy New Year (1)

Cyfun (667564) | 1 year,5 days | (#44815719)

So that's where they buried Dick Clark.

Vikings (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44816641)

I guess the Viking were there first again.

Holy shit (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44817123)

How did this article pass peer-review? What is "the most ancient organisms known". The article doesn't cite anything for this. I'm a molecular ecologist, and have never head of such thing. Another thing, it seems like they didn't have a clue of how to analyze 16S amplicons. Yes, 23% of their reads couldn't be assigned into a genus. So what? That's a very normal outcome. Why didn't they cluster these into OTUs and see where the OTUs go in the 16S tree? There are super easy-to-use pipelines for this. Yeah. Incompetence at its finest. Another thing, in the article they give accession number to their data. I go to GenBank, nope, it's set to private. Fail, fail, fail.

At the Mountains of Madness (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44817519)

Am I the only one thinking of H.P. Lovecraft's classical novel?

Re:At the Mountains of Madness (1)

plopez (54068) | 1 year,5 days | (#44820523)

That was my first thought. "A Colder War" by Stross is a good one too.

Has the Prothean beacon been found? (1)

tommeke100 (755660) | 1 year,5 days | (#44817753)

I, for one, welcome our new Reaper overlords!

Not possible.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44819475)

Life was created 4k years ago... If you listen to the bible humpers..

Wasn't there a movie about this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44820233)

Thanks for waking it up, guess we're all doomed.
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