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Ancient microbes discovered alive beneath Antarctic glacier

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posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 08:24 PM
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Ancient microbes discovered alive beneath Antarctic glacier


www.cnn.com

Beneath an Antarctic glacier in a cold, airless pool that never sees the sun seems like an unusual place to search for life.

But under the Taylor Glacier on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, near a place called Blood Falls, scientists have discovered a time capsule of bacterial activity.

At chilling temperatures, with no oxygen or sunlight, these newly found microbes have survived for the past 1.5 million years using an "iron-breathing" technique, which may show how life could exist on other planets.
(visit the link for the full news article)



Mod edit: reduced large quote - please review this link

[edit on 16-4-2009 by Duzey]




posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 08:24 PM
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Microbes are the champions of survival. It was recently found that they can even survive in space. I am however a bit worried with this discovery. With the melting down of the Antarctic Glacier what sort of other organism are still alive and can they be harmful to us. These organism can mutate and adapt very fast to their environment and I am worried that an Ancient virus is unleashed and decimate us all. Since our body has not been exposed to those organism, the defences in our body may not recognise them and as a result we may be extinct.....what does the experts here think? should we be worried?

www.cnn.com
(visit the link for the full news article)

[edit on 16-4-2009 by rattan1]



posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 08:57 PM
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Very interesting Article. While some of us might be worried about the rising see level, there is also the danger of an ancient virus as you mentioned. I would say this more worrying than rising sea levels. God knows what else is hiding beneath the ice.



posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 09:15 PM
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an ancient virus trapped under the ice really doesn't make sense. Any microbe to come out will be no better at adapting to an environment than any other microbe. So the rosk is minimal I'd say.

[edit on 16-4-2009 by ghaleon12]



posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 09:19 PM
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That sounds like the plot of a movie; however if they could survive and adapt we would be in a world of crap that would be one of the last things we need.



posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 09:20 PM
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I am just a little bit confused. some people say there is no global warming, we going into iceage and at the same time you have a huge ice shelft breaking away. I agree with the OP I think we should be worried.

Besides microbes what if we have some kind of a lost world hidding there with dinosaurs and all. Sci fi



posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 09:28 PM
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reply to post by rattan1
 


I was about to post this and found your thread. s&f!

I wouldn't worry too much about "escaping" extremophile microbes. They are as adapted to their environment as we are to ours. We can't trade places. But, it you went swimming in their "lake," then you could've exposed youself. You may not spread the microbe, but if it produced any by-products that are toxic to humans, you could put your life in danger.

Since these guys live in an iron-sulfur matrix, there are possibly sulfites and sulfides that could form when exposed to your oxygen.

I wouldn't do that.

If you don't go there, you'll be safe.

The most intriguing thing about this and other extremophiles is that many of their environments are similar to what you'd find elsewhere. The similarity beteen this environment and Europa's is most striking. My guess is that there are colonies of similar stuff on Europa. Maybe it's mobile and educated by now, though!

The "possibility" of life elsewhere has pretty much been disproven by extremophile biology.

It is now a likelihood of life elsehwere, we just don't yet know what it looks and acts like (or thinks of us)!

We know for certain that free oxygen is not necessary for biology. We know that light is not necessary. We know that extremes of heat and cold do not matter. The one constant we find, though, is water. It doesn't even have to be liquid -- there is life in rocks!

If you find something in space that has water, or hydrogen and oxygen, you will likely find biology. It appears to be the rule more than the exception!

Amazing. Astounding.

Great find!

jw

[edit on 16-4-2009 by jdub297]



posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 09:45 PM
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reply to post by jdub297
 


I agree with you that we should not be worried about the microbes just found but the concern is that the melting of the ice has just begun and what else is hidding there we don't know of?



posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 10:00 PM
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scientist should keep a very close eye on what is happening there. I will not be surprised to see the military jump in there and try to make secret biological weapons out of there.



posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 10:05 PM
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reply to post by ghaleon12
 


I won't say that the risk is minimal because scientists are still amazed by these simple organisms, their survival and adaptability is really amazing. The environment now and that millions of years ago is not the same and no one can say for sure that they may not mutate into something hostile.



posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 10:12 PM
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Originally posted by jatsc
That sounds like the plot of a movie; however if they could survive and adapt we would be in a world of crap that would be one of the last things we need.


I think we are already in a world of crap. We have reached a point where we depleting natural resources, polluting the environment etc etc....Its time for Nature to fight back and unleash a secret weapon.We have Too many humans on that small rock and nature always finds a way to restore balance.....



posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 10:35 PM
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At chilling temperatures, with no oxygen or sunlight, these newly found microbes have survived for the past 1.5 million years using an "iron-breathing" technique, which may show how life could exist on other planets.


I am suprised that after all these dicoveries, some scientists and many people still beleive life exists on earth only. It won't be long when we will say that life is everywhere in the universe.



posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 10:53 PM
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Those who still believe that this is not a serious threat, I recommend you read the Article bellow:

Killer germs lurk in the deep freeze


Last week a new study revealed that Alaska's snowless season is lengthening. As ice sheets and glaciers begin to melt, most of us worry at what kind of impact climate change will have. Will flooding become a regular feature, or is the land going to become parched? Are hurricanes and typhoons going to spring up in places they have never visited before? Is the rising sea level going to swallow some of the world's most fertile farmland, along with millions of homes?

All of these are valid concerns, but now it turns out that the impact could be worse than first imagined. Ice sheets are mostly frozen water, but they can incorporate organisms such as fungi, bacteria and viruses.

Some scientists believe climate change could unleash ancient illnesses as ice sheets drip away and bacteria and viruses defrost. Common viruses such as human influenza could have a devastating effect if melting glaciers release a bygone strain to which we have no resistance.


And scientist has already found new virus which is potentially devastating the ToMV:


What is more, new species unknown to science may re-emerge. And it is not just humans who are at risk: animals, plants and marine creatures could also suffer as ancient microbes thaw out.

In 1999, Scott Rogers from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and colleagues reported finding the tomato mosaic tobamovirus (ToMV) in 17 different ice-core sections at two locations deep inside the Greenland ice pack. Gentle defrosting in the lab revealed that this common plant pathogen had survived being entombed in ice for 140,000 years. "ToMV belongs to a family of viruses with a particularly tough protein coat, which helps it to survive in these extreme environments," says Rogers.

Since then he has found many other microbes in ice samples from Greenland, Antarctica and Siberia. And this has turned out to be just the tip of the microbial iceberg. Over the past 10 years biologists have discovered bacteria, fungi, viruses, algae and yeast hibernating under as much as 4km of solid ice, in locations all over the world.


Some scientist say that global warming is happening mush faster than they initially thought...These viruses hibernating are found around the world...hell is about to break loose



posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 11:09 PM
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reply to post by rattan1
 


Excellent stuff there, rattan!!!

Not to seem off-topic, but I'd love to be able to reference this thread to certain people who argue on other threads from a 'literal' bible interpretation against evolution and natural selection processes.

There is an wonderful film I once saw at IMAX that was all about the very deep Ocean life....other types of 'extremophiles'.....not just microbes, but even more complex organisms...these lifeforms subsist on the heat from 'lava vents' and 'eat' from chemicals in the water...

Just as those deep-sea bacteria, et al, would not survive in our environment, it seems that we may have little to fear from the ones in the Antarctic. BUT, it would be prudent to conduct some tests.....



posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 11:29 PM
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reply to post by weedwhacker
 





Just as those deep-sea bacteria, et al, would not survive in our environment, it seems that we may have little to fear from the ones in the Antarctic. BUT, it would be prudent to conduct some tests....


Some of them may not survive in our environment but we should not underestimate their capacity to adapt to our environment quickly.



posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 11:41 PM
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Very cool....I hope they continue to find more interesting things as exploration continues/Antarctica....melts....eep...
Well, I mean, may as well take advantage of it....though I certainly hope we stop the ice from melting and all that.
Anyhow....sure maybe there will be something harmful there, but maybe not?
Maybe there will be other types of microbes and hibernating/'paused' life forms or things that will lead to major advancements for us, as well...like...something that creates a biproduct that proves to be the cure for a disease; or new antibiotics that work on new levels that don't allow something to become resistant somehow lol I dunno.
It can't be all negative, right?



posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 11:53 PM
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reply to post by phoebeflakes
 


There is certainly still a lot to discover over there and scientist are not at the end of surprises. I sincerely hope there is nothing harmful over there.



posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 11:58 PM
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reply to post by weedwhacker
 

Thanks for your post...We still have a lot to learn and scientist has a lot of explaining to do. It is difficult to reconcile science with religion, however, not all religions in the world are against science. Take Hinduism for instance where religion and science walk hand in hand.



posted on Apr, 17 2009 @ 01:13 AM
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Hmm you know i've never actually thought about the idea of an ancient virus, but i do think it is something to be aware of as it could go very very wrong, or right but this is something new and refreshing


Just like microbes in space/planets.



posted on Apr, 17 2009 @ 01:32 AM
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reply to post by Concept X
 


I'm reminded of "The Andomeda Strain" by Michael Chricton.

Of course, if he were alive today and wrote a sequel he'd probably use the Antarctic microbes in lieu of something Extraterrestrial, just because of DNA issues...

I say, just keep our eyes on the penquins....



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