How Long Can Bacteria Sleep?
“Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?”
For thousands of years salt has been considered valuable as a seasoning, a preservative and even as a means of payment. But could salt preserve bacteria alive for thousands or even millions of years?
In the year 2000, researchers claimed to have revived bacteria that were entombed within salt crystals from a New Mexico mine. Geologists dated the layer from which they were taken at 250 million years. Scientists admit bacteria could not last, even dormant, for that long. Other research has shown that the random effects of molecular motion, even within a dormant bacterium, will cause the DNA to break down. After 100,000 years, there should be no DNA left. For this reason, other researchers said that the bacteria found must be a result of contamination and were therefore modern bacteria. After all, they said, an examination of the DNA of the salt bacteria is very similar to that of modern bacteria. After hundreds of millions of years of supposed evolution, it should be quite different.
If you forget evolution and its supposed long ages, there is a more rational solution to this mystery. No one questions that DNA, even of bacteria, can survive for several thousand years. If the salt deposit from which the bacterium was taken was laid down as a result of Noah’s Flood, the bacteria could well have survived. Author: Paul A. Bartz
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for the gift of faith and the evidences that support the truth of Your Word. Amen.
Ref: Creation, 9-11: 2001, p. 15, “Salty Saga.”