Lined up in a cold laboratory, a group of scientists from around the world are attempting to bring organisms back from the dead. Bundled up in warm layers, they carefully feed ancient life forms that have remained dormant since dinosaurs walked the Earth. And despite all expectations, the things slowly wake up, reviving after 100 million years of inaction.
This is a scene that played out in a study headed up by Yuki Morono of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). Under strict aseptic conditions similar to those used for containing pathogens, the team meticulously studied samples of ancient life. And what they found caught them all by surprise.
The story began in a region known today as the South Pacific Gyre, an area of water off the eastern coast of Australia. With a reputation as one of the most lifeless parts of the world’s oceans, it’s a place almost completely devoid of food and nutrients. And yet, deep beneath the surface, something has been lurking for millions of years.
During the Mesozoic Era, countless strange organisms thrived in this unlikely environment. But while the world moved on, these things rested in a sort of epic slumber. But now, thanks to work conducted at JAMSTEC, they have awakened. And this very fact has startling implications for life on our planet and beyond.
Before its starring role in this strange experiment, the South Pacific Gyre already held a number of dubious claims to fame. Situated between Australia and South America, it borders the southerly Antarctic currents and the more northernly Equator. And at its heart is a point known enigmatically as the “oceanic pole of inaccessibility.”