Two kilometres down South Africa's deepest mines: life

As scientists continue to plumb the earth's most extreme environments looking for signs of life and wondering what it might say about the possibility for life elsewhere, Tullis Onstott told Discover that he found surprisingly robust and complex organisms in some of South Africa's deepest mines:

Since the population of cells down there is small, most people thought they would just barely be able to eke out a living, that they were organisms with very few capabilities. But it turns out that was totally wrong.

The genome is saying it’s a very adaptable organism, and it has the capability of moving around. The idea that organisms down there might be moving around and interacting with the environment—that was really surprising.

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