Giant viruses have turned up in the strangest places. The first one–Mimivirus–was discovered infecting amoebas in an English water tower. Others have been found in other water towers, in the oceans, and in an Australian pond. Now, the French team behind many of these discoveries has thawed out the latest and biggest virus yet from 30,000-year-old Russian ice. It looks like a corked urn, it’s unlike any other virus thus far discovered, and it can still infect modern amoebas despite its stint in the freezer.
I covered the story for Nature News, and get into a mini-debate about whether similar resurrected viruses pose any risk to our health. You should also check out fellow Phenomena blogger Carl Zimmer’s take in the New York Times.