A “devil worm” has been discovered miles under the Earth—the deepest-living animal ever found, a new study says.

The new nematode species—called Halicephalobus mephisto partly for Mephistopheles, the demon of Faustian legend—suggests there’s a rich new biosphere beneath our feet.

Before the discovery of the signs of the newfound worm at depths of 2.2. miles (3.6 kilometers), nematodes were not known to live beyond dozens of feet (tens of meters) deep. Only microbes were known to occupy those depths—organisms that, it turns out, are the food of the 0.5-millimeter-long worm.

“That sounds small, but to me it’s like finding a whale in Lake Ontario. These creatures are millions of times bigger than the bacteria they feed on,” said study co-author Tullis Onstott, a geomicrobiologist at Princeton University in New Jersey.

(See “Deepest-Ever Fish Caught Alive on Camera.”)

“Shocking” Worm Evolved For Harsh Depths

Onstott and nematologist Gaetan Borgonie of Belgium’s University of Ghent first discovered H. mephisto in the depths of a South African gold mine. But the team wasn’t sure if the worms had been tracked in by miners or had come out of the rock.

To find out, Borgonie spent a year boring deep into mines for veins of water, retrieving samples and filtering them for water-dwelling nematodes. He scoured a total of 8,343 gallons (31,582 liters) until he finally found the worm in several deep-rock samples.

(See “World’s Deepest Mines Highlight Risks of New Gold Rush.”)

What’s more, the team found evidence the worms have been there for thousands of years. Isotope dating of the water housing the worm placed it to between 3,000 and 12,000 years ago—indicating the animals had evolved to survive the crushing pressure and high heat of the depths.

“This discovery may not surprise passionate nematologists like Gaetan, but it’s certainly shocking to me,” Onstott said.

Source news.nationalgeographic.com

Follow Alien UFO Sightings: On Facebook 👽👊👍

5 Comments

Carl Thomas · September 18, 2015 at 12:30 am

No, I think these live a few miles below ground and feed on bacteria but maybe rock.

Russell Smith · September 18, 2015 at 12:02 am

Not a blood worm…but does look similar

Cary Baham · September 17, 2015 at 11:49 pm

DUDE i used these kind of worm thing in virginia with a friend of mine fishing u got to cut the head off ,i think he say they are called blood worms.

Lucy Lucy-laisa Bruni · September 17, 2015 at 4:40 pm

These worms might inherit the Earth in the future.

Russell Smith · September 16, 2015 at 9:50 pm

Strange. …but great read Carl….probably thriving on brimstone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Aliens

Alien life could exist in our solar system – here’s what we do now

An icy moon in our own solar system could support life, according to new findings. Enceladus – a tiny snowball that orbits around Saturn – might contain under its icy shell an entire ecosystem, scientists Read more…

Amazing Places

10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of the World

Some of the things that we accept as true and take at face value are notoriously wrong. Scientists and philosophers have made every effort to change our common perceptions of it. The 10 examples below will Read more…

Amazing Places

Evidence mounts that the first cities are much older than we thought

Dramatic new hypothesis could change the way we understand human history. It’s an idea that could transform our understanding of how humans went from small bands of hunter-gatherers to farmers and urbanites. Until recently, anthropologists Read more…