Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth Science

Lake Vostok Found Teeming With Life 62

Posted by samzenpus
from the deep-ones-not-included dept.
jpyeck writes "Lake Vostok, Antarctica's biggest and deepest subsurface lake, might contain thousands of different kinds of tiny organisms — and perhaps bigger fish as well, researchers report. The lake, buried under more than 2 miles (3.7 kilometers) of Antarctic ice, has been seen as an earthly analog for ice-covered seas on such worlds as Europa and Enceladus. It's thought to have been cut off from the outside world for as long as 15 million years. But the latest results, reported in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, suggest that the lake isn't as sterile or otherworldly as some scientists might have thought. More than 3,500 different DNA sequences were identified in samples extracted from layers of ice that have built up just above the surface of the lake."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Lake Vostok Found Teeming With Life

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08, 2013 @08:08AM (#44214773)

    They should get one of the clipboard guys to chug a bottle and see if he mutates.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08, 2013 @08:08AM (#44214779)

    That ends badly

  • H.P. Lovecraft and lots of strange DNA https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At_the_Mountains_of_Madness [wikipedia.org]
  • by Provocateur (133110) on Monday July 08, 2013 @08:23AM (#44214819) Homepage

    ...it turns out to be life as we know it

  • by sycodon (149926) on Monday July 08, 2013 @08:29AM (#44214845)

    ...I'd shock it with a giant does of chlorine.

  • See if anything floats to the surface? Probably the easiest way to confirm.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The hole is so deep, any water rising freezes against the ice walls, and caps it off.

  • So where am I supposed to get clean water for my scotch?

    • You can buy a jug of distilled water at virtually any grocery store in the country.

    • by shikaisi (1816846)

      So where am I supposed to get clean water for my scotch?

      Mandrake, I suggest you drink only distilled water, or rainwater, and only pure-grain alcohol.

    • So where am I supposed to get clean water for my scotch?

      You're not. Not, that is, if you like scotch.

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Monday July 08, 2013 @09:42AM (#44215229) Homepage

    There is probably a civilization of super piranha, that have been surviving by cannibalism for 15 million years, creating a race of super big, super powerful, mean, man eating monsters.

  • "More than" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pentadecagon (1926186)
    Could we please stop saying "more than" in scientific contexts, except when needed? This phrase is intended to denote situations where we just know a lower boundary of the correct value, but in recent time it's being (ab-)used mostly for a dramatic effect. I really wish people would either give precise figures, or when this is not practical, use the words invented to mark numbers as approximations, like "roughly" or "about". Statistically speaking, the difference is that "roughly" implies an effort to fi
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You've written more than enough.

    • Re:"More than" (Score:5, Informative)

      by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Monday July 08, 2013 @11:56AM (#44216369) Homepage Journal

      The exact number is 3,507. I hope you're now able to sleep well at night.

      ...and if you're curious, that number is actually extremely low by the standards for this type of experiment; they didn't analyse anywhere near enough data. Metagenomics is supposed to take up gigabytes of disk space; the amount of usable data they got was around 37 MB.

  • So all frozen and liquid water was exactly the same for billions of years on Earth and it's impossible for any single celled organisms to have snuck in at any given time due to freezing, unfreezing, and water moving? Wow, amazing! What a self-contained astronomical quarantine!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      So all frozen and liquid water was exactly the same for billions of years on Earth and it's impossible for any single celled organisms to have snuck in at any given time due to freezing, unfreezing, and water moving? Wow, amazing! What a self-contained astronomical quarantine!

      There's a figure in the NBC article showing how the liquid lake water freezes onto the bottom of the ice sheet. The label is "accretion ice". If that is what you're ranting about. It's hard to be sure.

  • Life...hmm...uh...will...uh...find a way.

  • ... the pyramid buried down there yet?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I do metagenomics in a Deep Biosphere project and have to wonder how this article even got published. I mean, 80% contamination rate is just insane. We've been plagued by contamination as well (1-3% that I can tell). Sure, it's easy to filter out e.g. human sequences from the data, but what about the 1,000 or so bacterial species that live on the human skin? They conveniently skip this part in the article..

  • I can explain the wide variety of genetic material in the water sample: one of the researchers was clearly into bestiality and possessed both a taste for a wide range of different species as well as poor hygiene. As for what he was doing with the borehole, we'll leave as an excercise for the reader.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    [...], a tardigrade (closest to Milnesium sp., a hardy, predatory, cosmopolitan, freshwater species; 93% identity) [...]

    Outer space, inside of an electron microscope, under a million-year-old ice sheet, whatever. Water bear don't care.

"Though a program be but three lines long, someday it will have to be maintained." -- The Tao of Programming

Working...