Thursday, June 16, 2011
How Deep in the Earth Can Living Things Be Found?
Scientists already knew that single-cell organisms live in harsh, dark environments miles underground. But recently a multicellular organism, a worm, was found deep in rock nearly three-quarters of a mile underground. Nematodes are tiny worms known for being adaptable. The nematode the team found in the mine was a new species, and the scientists named it Halicephalobus mephisto.
That wasn’t the only discovery. A little more than half a mile down, the researchers found two kinds of nematodes already known to live on the surface. And more than two miles underground, the team discovered traces of nematode DNA in the water coming from cracks in the rocks.
Source: Science News 6/15/11