The life forms are not abundant, and their metabolisms run at very low levels. Still, they are alive and well, surviving on powdered coal and hydrogen and pumping out methane, the signature molecule leftover by life in extreme environments. They belong to the less commonly known domain of life called Archaea, home also to the extremophiles living in volcanic hot springs and deep sea hydrothermal vents.
“They’re kind of just really cool bugs,” Huber said. “They are very successful organisms.”
There are still a number of questions left to answer. Have these new microbes changed over the course of time? Have they adapted or branched off into new species? Or have they always been the same critter just barely eking by? More.
See also: Evolution: The fossils speak, but hardly with one voice
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