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Qin Wang et al

There are microbes near the bottom of the third deepest hole in the world. The cells, recovered from rocks almost 5 kilometres below the surface in China, are the deepest so far found anywhere on land – and they may push beyond the known heat tolerances of life on Earth.

It is widely accepted that life exists at depth. Until now, the deepest known microbes on land were tiny nematode worms found 3.6 kilometres below the surface in a South African gold mine.

A team …