New life form discovered in Grand Canyon caverns
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. (KSAZ) - Tens of thousand of people walk through the Grand Canyon caverns every year, but very few come here, past where the general public is allowed, and it's an area that may hold a brand new life form.
These tight passageways were formed millions of years ago and were never seen by human eyes until a group of underground explores dug their way through and found something nobody expected.
It is no easy task moving through here, and in some instances, there isn't room to crawl. We are hundreds of feet underground, and it's not hard to think about something like a cave in or earthquake.
We are covered in dirt and sweat, but it's all worth it as we come to the end of the passage.
There is something alive deep in the cave. There is no water down here, no light, so how is this formation of bright yellow and purple organisms living? What is it? What is it eating?
If we could unlock its secrets, how could it possibly help mankind?
Bradley Lusk is a biotechnology student at Arizona State University. He has studied the organism and says it's possible it is something we have never seen before.
"How exciting is it for a scientist to find something new like this?" I asked.
"It's fun and fascinating to get to places on Earth where no one was ever been because those exist... but not only be there, but to see what's in these places that we've never looked," he replied.
Brad and his colleagues are breaking down the elements of the organism, down to the generic structure, and are asking questions like, could this be the building blocks of the next wonder drug?
Or could this odd organism, that lives where nothing else can, go to work for mankind?