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In hot spring environments, microbes and their remnant organic matter, can become trapped in the hot spring silica deposits in which they flourish, preserving the microbial community in-situ. Over time, the organic material is replaced with silica from the hot spring, creating a mineral replica of the original organism. This allows us to better understand what organisms inhabited hot springs, how the microbial community was organised, and how the microbes may have evolved.

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