Russia's Putin gets a drink fit for dinosaurs

MOSCOW Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:28am EST

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin received a drink fit for dinosaurs on Friday when he was presented with a sample of ancient water from a sub-glacial Antarctic lake pierced by Russian scientists.

Russian scientists said this week they had drilled through Antarctica's frozen crust to the vast Lake Vostok, which has lain untouched for at least 14 million years hiding what scientists believe may be unknown organisms and clues to life on other planets.

"Well, did you drink the water?" Putin asked Russia's Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev after being presented with a vial of water which the government said was from the Vostok borehole.

Trutnev, looking flustered, assured Putin that he had not tried a drop of the water.

"Well it would have been interesting you know: dinosaurs drank it and Trutnev, a member of the Russian government, too," Putin said with a smile.

Trutnev stifled a chortle and said he did not want to be dinosaur.

Sealed deep under the ice, Lake Vostok is one of the world's last unexplored frontiers. Scientists suspect its depths may provide a glimpse of the planet before the ice age.

(Reporting By Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Paul Casciato)

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