Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
by Staff Writers
Princeton, N.J. (UPI) Jun 2, 2011
Creatures dubbed "worms from hell" have been found at a depth of more than a mile, where it was thought animals could not survive, U.S. researchers say.
The nematodes, or roundworms, were found in gold mines in South Africa, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Researcher Tullis Onstott of Princeton University, working with Gaetan Borgonie of the University of Ghent in Belgium, said the discovery of creatures that far below ground with complete nervous, digestive and reproductive systems, was akin to finding "Moby Dick in Lake Ontario."
"This is telling us something brand new," said Onstott, a pioneer in the study of microbial life known generally as extremophiles living in environments long believed to be uninhabitable.
"For a relatively complex creature like a nematode to penetrate that deep is simply remarkable," he said.
The nematode findings could have important implications for astrobiology, the search for extraterrestrial life, Onstott and Borgonie said.
On Mars, in particular, if life did originate, and if it had sufficient time to go underground deep enough to survive worsening conditions, "then evolution of Martian life might have continued underground," Borgonie said.
"Life on Mars could be more complex than we imagined," Borgonie said.
Life Beyond Earth
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|