Have we just found the deepest life on Earth - 12 miles beneath the sea?

Rob Waugh

There could be something lurking miles below the seabed at the deepest part of the world’s ocean – something alive.

Researchers at Utrecht University say that there is possible evidence of life 6.2 miles below the floor of the Mariana Trench – the deepest point of all the oceans in the world.

The evidence comes in the form of a serpentine mineral found at the bottom of the trench – which contains trace amounts of organic material, similar to that produced by microbes elsewhere on Earth.

The researchers analysed rocks spewed up from mud volcanoes on the bottom – and thought to come from 12 miles below the surface of the ocean.

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‘It’s sort of like a message in a bottle,’ says Oliver Plumper, earth scientist at Utrecht University and lead author of the article.

‘Although we can’t use extreme precision to pinpoint the exact origin of the organic material, our chemical analysis indicates lives deep within or even below the mud volcano.’

‘The mud volcanoes are a unique window in deep underground, and enable us to trace processes that would otherwise remain hidden,” said Helen King, earth scientist at the University of Utrecht and also co-author of the publication.

‘The finding of the organic material was particularly since they may indicate a deep biosphere below the mud volcanoes.’

to the Bulgarian bones. Could this then have been the DNA of Jesus and his family?’

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