Single cell microbes in the most remote portions of the ocean floor dating back to days when dinosaurs roamed the Earth are indeed alive. But not by much.
Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaarely alive. Which is a scientific term. Each “a” signifying how much closer to complete nonexistence it is.
Yet still, as Dr. Malcolm teaches us… life finds a way.
Røy and colleagues from Denmark and Germany surveyed red clays buried deep in the Pacific Ocean, along the equator and into the North Pacific Gyre current system. From the research R/V Knorr, they drilled core samples 92 feet into the ocean floor, dating to the time of the dinosaurs, and tested the cores with oxygen sensors. They found that organisms live in the deepest parts of these sediments and that they’re using oxygen for respiration — only incredibly slowly. The deeper the sediments, the less food and oxygen is present, and the less oxygen is used up, too. These organisms have not had access to a fresh food supply since their burial, 70 to 86 million years ago.
The finding could gives new insight into life on other planets. Now that we have an idea of just how durable life in on this particular rock we can have some hope that it could survive in a harsh environment elsewhere across the stars.