Life seems to have got started as soon as the planet cooled. Curiously, unlike bacteria, Archaea do not cause disease in humans.
Woese as “scarred revolutionary”? He had to fight hard to get the Archaea, the third kingdom of life, accepted. He regretted that he had not succeeded in overthrowing “the hegemony of the culture of Darwin.”
They were only discovered in 1977 and they get more unusual all the time: Microbes called archaea package their genetic material into flexible shapes that flop open in unusual ways, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator Karolin Luger reports March 2, 2021, in the journal eLife. “Very much to our surprise, we found that these Read More…
It’s a good question whether Woese would have recognized the Archaea for what they were, had he not been in the habit of thinking for himself. Maybe he would have just been satisfied to shoehorn them into the conventional scheme somewhere.
The slingshot of life? According to this version of the tale, the eukaryotes are descended from the Asgard archaea.
At ScienceAlerts: This particular mineral connoisseur loves to dine on far more exotic rocks – ones that come from space.
Also, here’s a 2017 Abstract from Nature, noting that “Our results expand the known repertoire of ‘eukaryote-specific’ proteins in Archaea, indicating that the archaeal host cell already contained many key components that govern eukaryotic cellular complexity.” Thus they had that complexity back then. Not so good for Darwinism unless Darwinism is magic.
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?
When Nature’s Books and Arts editor Barbara Kiser’stop five for 2018 came out, #s 1 and 2 were Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray by Sabine Hossenfelder on the troubled state of theoretical physics, of which Kiser says, Lost in Math is a firecracker of a book—a shot across the bows of theoretical physics. Read More…