Researchers at the University of West Virginia have been able to identify small remnants of prokaryotic and eukaryotic life trapped in halite crystals 830 million years old.
Microbial life was trapped hundreds of millions of years ago
Described in the review GeographyThis important discovery involves application Petrography By transmitted and ultraviolet light to study crystalsHolite (Or rock salt) from the depths of formation Neoproterozoic Of BrownIn Australia. Although the area is now a desert, millions of years ago it was an ancient marine habitat rich in microorganisms.
” When halide crystals grow in salt surface water, they trap mother water in the primary liquid compounds. “, To explain Sarah Schrder-Gomez, Co-author of the study. ” They can catch any solid in the water near or in contact with the face of the crystal. ⁇
Some of these solids exhibit cell-related properties (size, shape and luminous response to ultraviolet and visible light). Prokaryotes And EukaryotesAs well as various organic compounds.
” Many of the crystals used in this study show exceptionally high concentrations of microorganisms and organic compounds in the primary liquid compounds. [jusqu’à 40 % d’entre elles en contiennent] “, Describe the authors of the study.” These allow for the exceptional preservation of organic matter over a long period of time. ⁇
According to the team, these creatures were trapped around the time of the formation of crystals about 830 million years ago, and some of them may still be alive. Micro habitats By feeding on organic compounds or dead cells, it provides the minute energy needed for a much slower metabolism.
If this hypothesis seems absurd, in 2009, researchersUniversity of Pennsylvania Bacterial spores trapped in 250 million-year-old halide fluid have survived, and many terrestrial organisms are known to thrive, especially in hospitable environments.
Ensuring that the microbes present in the halide actually survive will have particularly important implications for the search for present and past life. March. Researchers note that many Martian sedimentary systems are similar Brown So that would be the primary goals.
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