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Old 01-13-2011, 08:21 PM   #1
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Default 34,000-Year-Old Organisms Found Buried Alive!

"It's a tale that has all the trappings of a cult 1960s sci-fi movie: Scientists bring back ancient salt crystals, dug up from deep below Death Valley for climate research. The sparkling crystals are carefully packed away until, years later, a young, unknown researcher takes a second look at the 34,000-year-old crystals and discovers, trapped inside, something strange. Something ... alive."

See 34,000-Year-Old Organisms Found Buried Alive! - Yahoo! News
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:56 PM   #2
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Couldn't those be new crystals that have formed since?
I'm thinking perhaps some contaminated moist air entered the original container, broke down a few of the original salt crystals into liquid form and then formed new crystals through evaporation with the living organisms inside.
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Old 01-14-2011, 08:20 AM   #3
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Couldn't those be new crystals that have formed since?
I'm thinking perhaps some contaminated moist air entered the original container, broke down a few of the original salt crystals into liquid form and then formed new crystals through evaporation with the living organisms inside.
Given the parameters of the original study as well as the follow-up studies, that would seem to be extremely unlikely to say the very least. I don't say impossible simply because very few things in nature are absolutely impossible. (e.g. - You could step out of your house this morning, and be struck by a meteorite...)
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Old 01-14-2011, 08:26 AM   #4
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It really didn't say how long ago they collected the crystals.
Maybe they were not so careful about contaminants way back when.
Now where's that meteorite.
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Old 01-14-2011, 08:39 AM   #5
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It really didn't say how long ago they collected the crystals.
Maybe they were not so careful about contaminants way back when.
Now where's that meteorite.
Sample contamination always is considered in studies such as these, and rigorous steps are taken to rule this out. I suggest that you read the original research article at GSA Today - Microbial communities in fluid inclusions and long-term survival in halite
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Old 01-14-2011, 09:11 AM   #6
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You find such interesting articles.
Now I know why some of my crystals are pink.

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The halite crust formed by these processes contained large numbers of brine inclusions trapped during crystal growth, and the salt crust was pink because microbes from the water column were incorporated into the halite inclusions
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Old 01-15-2011, 08:07 PM   #7
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Nice one Suunto.
The word alive seems to become increasingly tricky to define the more we know.

Which, I suppose, makes perfect sense. There are shades of gray. At some point we would say that there is no life on earth. And at another, we would consider there was life on earth. Presumably the interim period between the two is still echoed in these border cases.
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