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Earth: Alive — Bacteria Back From The Brink

March 8, 2011

In 1993, “Jurassic Park” thrilled the world with the idea that dinosaurs could be resurrected from bits of DNA preserved in mosquitoes trapped in ancient amber. In the 18 years since the movie came out, scientists have been finding that parts of this scenario are closer to reality than anyone ever imagined: Researchers have found microbes living for tens of thousands – and maybe millions – of years inside salt crystals.

These findings raise exciting questions, as EARTH explores in “Bacteria Back From the Brink” in the April issue. Could these hibernating microbes be brought back to active life today? If so, what can such microbes tell us about ancient life on Earth? And could similar microbes also be living on other planets?

Learn more about how these fascinating microbes stay alive over millennia, and read other stories on topics such as how black carbon affects climate, how to figure out if there is hexavalent chromium in your drinking water, and whether science education is passing or failing in the U.S. in the April issue. Plus, don’t miss the surprising story about discovering dinosaur tracks in a New Jersey housing development.

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