Recent highly publicized experiments conducted on salt crystals taken from the Permian Salado Formation in Southeastern New Mexico have shown that some ancient crystals contain viable microorganisms trapped within fluid inclusions. Stringent geological and microbiological selection criteria were used to select crystals and conduct all sampling. This talk will focus on how each of these lines of data support the conclusion that such isolated bacteria are as old as the rock in which they are trapped. In this case, the isolated microbes are salt tolerant bacilli that grow best in media containing 8% NaCl, and respond to concentrated brines by forming spores. One of the organisms is phylogenetically related to several bacilli, but does have several unique characteristics. This talk will trace the interdisciplinary data and procedures supporting these discoveries, and describe the various isolated bacteria.