Sunday, June 5, 2011

Halicephalobus mephisto

Close up of the 0.5mm long worm
Today's animal was only discovered very, very recently, and has been quite the rage in the world of scientific news this week. You see, Halicephalobus mephisto is the deepest living multi-cellular organism to have ever been discovered!

The researchers involved in the project had found traces of these tiny little worms deep within mines in South Africa. The problem was, they couldn't determine if the worms came from that deep down, or if the traces were tracked in by miners. So they started doing samples, boring deep down in to the rock. Sure enough, as far as 2.2miles down (about 3.5km) they found them, living in water that was between 3,000 and 12,000 years old!

Named after the Faustian demon, H. mephisto is by far the deepest living multi-cellular organism yet found. Other underground nematodes rarely go deeper than a few dozen feet, and after that it was believed that only single celled microbes could survive in the combination of high heat, high pressure, and low oxygen.

IUCN Status :  Not listed
Location : South Africa
Size : Length 0.5mm
Classification : Phylum : Nematoda -- Class :  Chromadorea -- Order : Rhabditida
Family : Panagrolaimidae -- Genus : Halicephalobus -- Species : H. mephisto

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating discovery. Who says there is nothing new?


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