Living long beneath the sea

Microbes in the mud beneath the seafloor may live millions of years, redefining what it means to be old and alive

By Stephen Ornes, 12:08 PM October 11, 2012

In the muck beneath the ocean floor, there’s something alive. Lots of somethings. But don’t worry: You'll never see them. Instead, these tiny, one-celled germs are content to hunker down in very old clay, for a very long time, eating just enough to stay alive.

“These organisms are so different from anything we know,” says Hans Roy, a biologist from Aarhus University in Denmark. He has been studying microbes that live beneath the Pacific Ocean, near the equator. Recently, he and other scie...

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