Billion-Year-Old Giant Viruses Found in Yellowstone Hot Springs 

 May 19th , 2024


Yellowstone National Park, famous for its geysers and hot springs, is also a hotbed of scientific discovery. Recently, researchers uncovered something extraordinary - giant viruses lurking in the park's boiling waters 

These ancient microbes were discovered in the scalding Lemonade Creek hot spring, reaching temperatures around 111 degrees Fahrenheit (43.8°C). 

Where Were They Found?

These "giant" viruses are estimated to be an astonishing 1.5 billion years old, offering a glimpse into the conditions on early Earth. 

Ancient Origins

These viruses possess significantly larger genomes compared to ordinary viruses, blurring the lines between viruses and cellular life. 

What Makes Them "Giant"?

Researchers identified 25 types of giant viruses, with many previously unknown to science. 

A Diverse Group

They infect red algae thriving in the hot springs, using them to reproduce in this extreme environment. 

How Do They Survive?

The study suggests these giant viruses played a crucial role in primordial ecosystems and may have contributed to early evolutionary processes. 

Key Role in Early Life

By studying these ancient viruses, scientists can gain valuable insights into the conditions of early Earth and the origins of life itself. 

Unlocking the Past