You’d think a 33% salinity rate would prevent any life form from thriving in the so-called “Dead” Sea, right? Well, apparently you, and whoever named it the Dead Sea would be wrong. When my sister was here last week, we went to the Dead Sea and I tried to convince her that the only life forms that can live in that water were Butt Snakes – they sneak up underneath you while you’re floating and bite you in the butt. My sister isn’t 5-years old anymore and she wasn’t buying it at all, but what can I say? Old habits die hard. So yeah. No Butt Snakes. What microbiologists from the Max Planck Institute in Germany did however discover were “thick biofilms” on the sea floor near fresh-water spewing craters. While these bacteria are unique and extremely adaptable, there is no evidence that they are capable of swimming to the surface and biting your butt.

And how did the divers get to the bottom of the sea?

Ionescu and colleagues will visit the underwater craters again in October to study more about the behaviors and life cycles of the newfound bacteria… It’s no easy task—each diver has to carry 90 pounds (40 kilograms) of weight to lower his or her buoyancy, since the sea’s high salt content tends to make people float… Divers will also need to wear full face masks to protect their eyes and mouths. That’s because accidentally swallowing Dead Sea salt water would cause the larynx to inflate, resulting in immediate choking and suffocation… Likewise, the intensely salty water would instantly burn and likely blind the eyes—both reasons why Dead Sea swimmers rarely fully submerge their bodies, Ionescu noted… “It’s a very unique experience,” Ionescu said of diving in the Dead Sea, but “I wouldn’t recommend it for recreational diving.”

Bad. Ass. Microbiologists AND National Geographic!

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About the author

ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

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