As early as the late 1920s, Charles Lipman, a professor at the University of California ( Berkeley ), began to suspect bacteria in rocks. No fossil bacteria. Living bacteria.
Frederick Colwell and Steven D’hondt wrote in a review entitled ” Nature and depth Biosphere” published in 2013, ” We do not know whether microorganisms in these underground environments are reproducing at such a slow rate of biomass turnover or have lived for millions to tens of millions of years without splitting.”
In 2017, a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that bacteria density was relatively low ( although ” low” was still 50 to 2,000 cells per cubic centimeter ) in coal and shale from 5 to 30 million years ago under the Pacific seabed two kilometers off the coast of Japan. Although their life is extremely slow, they are still very active. Their generations range from a few months to more than 100 years. However, the author acknowledges that this estimate may be low. Production time of Escherichia coli in laboratory: 15 – 20 minutes.
A study published in 2018 on ” Biology of Microbes in Deep Sea Sediments of the South Pacific Circulation” concluded that the suitability of these sediments is not only related to growth, but also related to survival. The author concluded that the only food source for these microorganisms is what they buried. Their annual carbon consumption for maintenance and repair is only 2% of the cell’s own carbon content. ” The mere fact that complete microbial cells are found in this ancient habitat has a significant impact on the resilience of these organisms,” the author wrote.
In the computer model they have run for millions of years, after 4 million years, all cells stopped growing. They just tried every means to keep the old car running, just like the desperate survivors in Mad Max. How long can this zero-sum game last? Will they eventually starve to death? Will they become the dry, suspended state Charles Lipman claimed to have found in Pennsylvania? Or do you need special coalification conditions? More and more evidences show that these nutritionally deficient and aging bacteria are not ” microbial zombies”. On the contrary, a large number of studies have found that when deep underground microorganisms are placed in a milder environment, they will quickly revive.
To sum up, these findings are not as funny as they seem. When you think that microorganisms buried deep in the earth’s surface are protected by cosmic radiation, a common killer of abnormal aging, they are covered by thick layers of water, sediment and or rock ( muon, the form of cosmic radiation reaching the earth ). The earth’s surface can only penetrate rocks tens of meters deep ). This radiation makes the DNA of living things on the earth’s surface constantly mutate. ” Biogenic Theory” holds that life sows the seeds of the universe by hitchhiking into asteroids. In my opinion, this assumption has always been far – fetched. But these findings, coupled with the recent realization that life may appear on the earth as fast as possible, forced me to reconsider at least. Although the space is vast, life is always the same.
In a word, the earth’s crust seems to be full of idle and ancient bacteria. They stop in the power-saving mode and start the gearbox almost at the moment of being notified. But what a life it is! For hundreds of millions of years, they have been buried in a dark, airless, silent matrix with almost no food, almost no breathing, almost no activity, almost no life. But not dead. Not dead. If Charles Leapman is right, there were bacterial cells on the earth 50 million years before dinosaur evolution, and they may start to divide tomorrow. This … is amazing. But just like the Holy Grail knights in raiders of the lost ark and indiana jones and the last crusade, to produce these magical effects, bacteria must be locked in underground prisons. Because this is the boundary and price of virtual immortality.