The microbes that metabolized practically anything back then just to stay alive didn’t appear to want to do much else. Yes, it’s an old question why they didn’t (couldn’t?) Or maybe they even did. But based on the history of the last half-billion years, there should be an answer.
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?
Geobiologist Alexis Templeton thinks it matters: We humans tend to see the world as a solid rock coated with a thin layer of life. But to scientists like Templeton, the planet looks more like a wheel of cheese, one whose thick, leathery rind is perpetually gnawed and fermented by the microbes that inhabit its innards. […]
Researchers have found some of the oldest and slowest life forms on Earth: In a bid to hone in on the lower energy limits for life, Hans Røy at Aarhus University in Denmark probed the clays below the North Pacific gyre. Under the microscope, he found a community made up of bacteria and single-celled organisms called […]
Careful study showed that this was not the result of contamination: In a surprise to scientists, cyanobacteria have been found thriving nearly 2,000 feet below the strange landscape, where sunlight, water, and nutrients are scarce. Researchers previously thought these microbes could survive only while basking in the sun’s rays, although they are otherwise a versatile […]