Researchers have found a 60,000-year-old underwater forest near the Gulf of Mexico, near the coast of Alabama, which is believed to be cypress trees, according to a CNN report.
Scientists who represent a joint team from Northeastern University and the University of Utah believe that they hold many secrets that may open the doors to new discoveries in the world of medicine, especially in light of the ecosystem that these trees were able to build underwater, thousands of years ago.
According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which published an article about this forest last week, no one has touched this ancient forest for thousands of years.
But in 2004, Hurricane Ivan hit the US Gulf Coast, sweeping the sea floor and sediment that kept the forest buried.
Last December, a team of scientists from Northeastern University and the University of Utah set out on an expedition funded by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dive into the water and bring pieces of wood for study in the labs.
Although the wood is 60,000 years old, it is still in good condition because it was buried under layers of sediments that prevented the oxygen from reaching and analyzing it.
Brian Helmut, Professor of Marine Science and Environment at Northeastern University said that our deep dive trip was not without the dangers of sharks, but access to these underwater trees made us in awe and astonishment.
In the second phase of their research, scientists aspire to make robots dive to the bottom in the area of this forest and build a three-dimensional image of what is better underwater.
Potential drug reservoir
Worms of ancient wood produced 100 strains of bacteria, many of them new, while researchers are working to determine the DNA sequences of 12 bacterial strains of them, to assess their ability to make new therapeutic drugs.
Margot Haygood also says: "We examined antimicrobials and neural activity that tended toward pain relievers, as well as anti-cancer drugs."
"We haven't been working with antivirals before, but at the moment my department at UT is going to include viral tests in the program."
Although the outbreak of the new Corona Virus has stopped any future diving activities at the Old Forest site, Haygood said she will continue to study with the team of scientists the samples they extracted from the site, and they hope to publish the results within a year.