You know those horror movies where the unknown threat is awakened and our ruggedly handsome scientist hero has to rush against time before the threat evolves and adapts to the world’s population?
What if I told you that, thanks to melting in the world’s ice sheets, prehistorical organisms are coming back to life. The ice sheets were once thought to be too cold for live, but these ancient microbes have adapted and thrived inside the freezing temperatures for millennia.
Discovered in Antartica, there is a chance these little bacterias are slowly being released into the oceans. But since we don’t know these discovered prehistoric bacteria, they are being studied by comparison to their modern day relatives. So, what is lurking beneath the ice?
Hugely important to plant life, this bacteria helps oxidize and break down ammonium. Plants rely on this prehistoric bacteria just as they do now. But this is also found in meningitis and gonorrhea.
This is also a plant bacteria, and is often used when extracting DNA from plant life. It is a quick moving microbe with spores, and metabolizes organic matter to feed its energy. Plants, and animals are susceptible to it, but it doesn’t seem to have any negative effects.
Like the name suggests, this bacteria is important when it comes to getting things done. Mostly found in soils, it plays a role in decomposition. But, it can also be found in waters, which may be why its ancient bacteria ancestor was found in the ice sheet.
But these aren’t the only things being found in the frigid world below ice. In Greenland, a 140,000 year old virus was found alive and well. Is that shows what else could be found, then we may see more viruses popping up.
Are any of these ancient bacterias and viruses from ice sheets a threat? Not really. They can attack and hurt humans, but only those who are susceptible. The ancient bacteria can evolve, though, and adapt to our modern day world.
Scientists are watching the ancient bacteria carefully, because there is a chance that their reentry into the oceans could have a negative impact on fish habitats. The bacteria has been dormant, and now that it is awakening it must be pretty hungry to get out and see what it can do. Good luck, ruggedly handsome heroes!