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Researchers: Eukaryotes got started from a merger between bacteria and archaea, without oxygen

On the whole, it might be easier to conclude that the timing is somewhat off than that complex life started without oxygen. But symbiosis is an intriguing theory nonetheless. Read More ›

Smallest propeller on Earth powers fastest life form?

Researcher: “M. villosus swims at a speed of about 500 body lengths per second,” said Dr. Lavinia Gambelli, of Exeter’s Living Systems Institute (LSI)... “At first glance, this does not seem much. But in comparison, a cheetah achieves only 20 body lengths per second – so if an M. villosus cell had the size of a cheetah, it would swim at approximately 3,000 kilometers per hour." Read More ›

Michael Flannery on non-Darwinian discoverer of the Archaea, Carl Woese

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.” Read More ›

Archaea microbes have genes like flexible slinkies

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 structures can undergo all sorts of gymnastics,” says Luger, a biochemist at the University of Colorado Boulder. Like DNA in the nucleus of human cells, archaeal DNA coils around proteins like string wrapped around a yo-yo. But there’s another twist, the team found. Those coils of DNA can also spread 90 degrees apart—a phenomenon scientists hadn’t seen before. Such bends in the springlike structures could Read More ›

Archaea discoverer Carl Woese’s theological reflections in old age

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. Read More ›

Culturing a tentacled archean in a lab shows eukaryote-like genes from 2 billion years ago

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. Read More ›

Life form’s environment is so extreme it has never been cultivated in a laboratory

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? Read More ›

Nature editor’s five best 2018 books include two of our favs

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. Sabine Hossenfelder, a theoretical physicist working on quantum gravity (and author of the blog Backreaction) confronts failures in her field head-on. The foundations of physics have not improved, she reminds us, for more than three decades. and The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life by David Quammen on the troubled state of the concept of the Tree of Life. of which she says, thinking Read More ›