From a a study of microbes (in this case, Archaea) that live in the hot, oxygen-free stream that flows through Earth’s crust, Hydrothermarchaeota, “this group of microbes lives in such an extreme environment that they have never been cultivated in a laboratory for study,” at ScienceDaily:
They found that Hydrothermarchaeota may obtain energy by processing carbon monoxide and sulfate, which is an overlooked metabolic strategy. The microbes use energy from this process to grow as a form of chemosynthesis. …
The researchers also found genetic evidence that Hydrothermarchaeota have the ability to move on their own. Motility offers a valuable survival strategy for the extreme environment they call home, which has a limited supply of nutrients essential to life.
“Studying these unique microbes can give us insights into both the history of Earth and the potential strategies of life on other planets,” said Stephanie Carr, first author on the paper and a former postdoctoral researcher with Orcutt who is now an assistant professor at Hartwick College. “Their survival strategies make them incredibly versatile, and they play an important, overlooked role in the subsurface environments where they live.”
Paper. (open access) – Stephanie A. Carr, Sean P. Jungbluth, Emiley A. Eloe-Fadrosh, Ramunas Stepanauskas, Tanja Woyke, Michael S. Rappé, Beth N. Orcutt. Carboxydotrophy potential of uncultivated Hydrothermarchaeota from the subseafloor crustal biosphere. The ISME Journal, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41396-019-0352-9 More.
The more we know, the more insights we can have, sure. But it’s not always clear what specific things truly extreme life forms can tell us about the more common ones. Maybe the message is more general, that life forms try their hardest to survive every circumstance. But what is it they have that rocks don’t?
See also: New Life Form More Different From Others “Than Animals Are From Fungi”
Organisms Found That Hover Indefinitely Between Life And Death
Light-loving cyanobacteria found, improbably, nearly 2,000 feet underground
Life form found at abyssal depths