About a month ago, scientists in Canada found what they consider to be the oldest undisturbed cache of water on the planet. This water had been sitting under a huge rock for more than 1.5 BILLION years.
That, dudes, is a long time. A seriously long time. And it’s probably just the lower limit. More than likely this water is much older.
So these scientists, including one Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar, began investigating the water, looking for descendants of ancient microbes, testing all sorts of stuff. This was basically a cache of primordial soup, around long before anything remotely resembling human life was around.
Which is a good thing. Because, apparently, the water tastes horribly. So you know humans wouldn’t have wanted to–
Wait. It tastes horribly? How would we know that. The scientists were supposed to be subjecting the water to science. And stuff.
Well, we know because Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar got a bit curious.
As a lead researcher and newfound connoisseur of primordial soup, Lollar described the physical properties of the liquid during a recent interview with the LA Times. And what’s ancient water like? Salty, viscous, and turns kind of orangey when exposed to air. Refreshing!
I have to admit I have tasted it from time to time. It tastes terrible. It is much saltier than seawater. You would definitely not want to drink this stuff.
Yeah. She tasted it. From time to time. That means she tasted the primordial soup, bleched over the taste, went back to doing science-y stuff and then thought, “Maybe it tastes better now?” and tried it again. I wonder if she had oyster crackers for the second helping of primordial soup.
Admittedly, the first time was for science, for which we commend her bravery. But once you’re on the second and third rounds of primordial sauce, motive starts to get a little hazy. Especially when you consider that scientists are still waiting to find out if the liquid is hiding any number of ancient lifeforms. But once you’ve tasted that salty, syrupy nectar, putting down the beaker is a lot easier said than done. Apparently.
Thanks to the good folks at Gizmodo and writer Ashley Feinberg for letting this lovely little tidbit out into the internets.
This is the sort of stuff you just can’t make up. Or, well, I guess you could, but it would probably end up with Dr. Lollar contracting some sort of horrible disease that made her hunger for human flesh and stumble around looking all deadlike.
Now that I think about it, there may be something there. Thanks, science! And thanks, Dr. Lollar.
Science: We ingest unknown substances possibly harboring time-lost lifeforms that could be capable of killing us so you won’t have to. Not that you would have to, you understand. Okay, we just wanted to. That’s our motto and we’re sticking with it.
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