This is the strange saga of how scientists went to some of the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean, dug 250 feet down into the sediment, collected an ancient community of microbes, brought them back to a lab, and revived them. And you’re going to think: Why, in the already-horrible year of 2020, would they tempt fate like this? Well, it turns out that not only is everything OK, but that everything is in fact very, very excellent—at least far away from humanity in the deep-sea muck of the world’s oceans.
This story begins more than 100 million years ago in the middle of what we humans now call the Pacific Ocean. Volcanic rock had formed a hard “basement” of seafloor, as geologists call it. Over this, sediment began to accumulate. But not the kind of sediment you may expect.
Elsewhere in the world’s oceans, much of the seafloor sediment