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Aliens in the Amazon: UCalgary researcher discovers hardy microbes

By Francesca Schoettler, August 21 2023—

You might be familiar with the phrase “aliens in the Amazon as it was the catchy title of an episode that aired on the sixth season of NASA’s Unexplained Files back in 2019. The episode followed Neil Armstrong and Stan Hall’s expedition in 1976 to Cueva de los Tayos (Tayos Cave) in Ecuador. Cueva de los Tayos has been the subject of numerous expeditions and intensive research since 1972 when Erich von Daniken’s book The Gold of the Gods was first published. It was believed that there was a legendary Gold Library hidden deep within the cave, one that has been theorized to hold knowledge of an advanced alien civilization. 

Armstrong and Hall did not discover the Gold Library or find any evidence to suggest its existence during their expedition but what they did find was equally perplexing: 200 new species of beetle, 100 new species of butterfly, 40 new species of bat and the discovery of a human body and artifacts within the cave. Their discoveries date as far back as 3500 BCE, confirming the existence of ancient life in the Amazon Rainforest. Whether or not that ancient life was indeed extraterrestrial is still up to debate today — although it might not be for much longer.

Research suggests that hardy microbes may hint toward possibilities for extraterrestrial life. Studies of harsh but habitable ecosystems on Earth containing diverse groups of microorganisms guide the search for Martian life, suggesting the ability of an alien species containing these bacteria to adapt and survive in extreme conditions. In the most volatile environments, such as temperatures way below freezing, researchers have discovered a vast diversity of microorganisms that have adapted and continued to thrive. This sort of advanced bacteria isn’t common to the average person living in the twenty-first century but that may be because it’s never had to be. If intelligent life on distant planets does in fact exist, it is more likely that these species would host such super-bacteria given their less habitable environments compared to Earth.

UCalgary professor and microbiologist, Dr. Robin Lautner discovered similar microbes five miles outside of Cueva de los Tayos on an expedition with fellow researchers at the University of Calgary. These hardy microbes have little reason for existing by the cave as the conditions are not nearly as extreme as other environments they’ve been found to occupy. Perhaps these microorganisms are what remains of a society much different from our own. Lautner’s discovery suggests that the cave may not be home to our ancestors but to another species entirely. This finding has left the scientific community marvelling about the mystery of Cueva de los Tayos and the many explorers who have tried to unravel it.

“Perhaps we haven’t discovered the Gold Library because we aren’t meant to,” said Lautner. “Or maybe this discovery has been made and is being concealed for reasons we couldn’t begin to understand. We must look at the mystery of Tayos Cave from an empirical perspective, examining the evidence we actually have against the speculations that mass media has made in the last fifty years.”

“I can’t confirm or deny the existence of extraterrestrial beings in the Amazon. What I can do, however, is look at the facts and suggest at the very least that a civilized population with abnormal DNA lived here thousands of years ago” said Lautner.

Lautner hints at the media’s role in spreading misinformation about Cueva de los Tayos. Mass media is known for communicating messages that might be influenced by less-than-accurate sources. This can have a very harmful effect on society so we must proceed with caution when discussing sensitive topics, such as the likelihood of aliens living among us. 

Did aliens live in the Amazon? Do they still? What happened to the Gold Library, did it really vanish or does it remain deep within Tayos Cave? We might not have the answers to these questions, or the answer that we desire at least, but we do have evidence to suggest that something once occupied Cueva de los Tayos and that we have the technology and ambition to further explore what remains.

This article is part of our humour section.

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