Mephisto, the devil of the deep
The little worm of the deep
|Updated June 01, 2013
Mephisto, the little worm of 0.5 mm, saw surprisingly, 4 km deep in the Earth's crust. Its discovery dates from 1990, but at such depths, considered the kingdom of unicellular organisms, i.e. bacteria, scientists did not believe that a multicellular organism, can breed. Yet the nematode worm, lives peacefully, without light, with very little oxygen. We already knew that bacteria are present everywhere on the planet for billions of years.
The researchers also dated bathing water habitat of the nematodes. it left the Earth's surface, there are 3 000 to 12 000 years, demonstrating that Mephisto is well adapted to this environment, already old. The discovery of multicellular life in the deep subsurface of Earth, has important implications for the search for life in our Solar System. Gradually we realize that life is a common phenomenon and that its borders are pushed back each time a little further. Matter of life on Earth and this is certainly elsewhere in the Universe for billions of years. The Universe is the bearer of life and connects us to something material, a cosmic link, an energy that we can not currently imagine is what one might call the fifth force, "force of life".
Image: In this picture we see the mouth of Mephisto, which allows him to scrape the sides of rocks to feed on biofilm bacteria. Credit: University of Ghent / Gaetan Borgonie