Monday, May 26, 2008

Deep biosphere confirmed?

The archaebacteria show once again that when it comes to toughness and resilience, they are the undisputed champions. Already having demonstrated their capacity to thrive in saltier, more acidic, more alkaline, lower oxygen and hotter environments than more supposedly evolved organisms, they have now been shown to also cope with having 1.6 km of rock and sediment stacked on top of them.
This made Science so I expect its pretty rigorous but it’ll get a fair bit of scrutiny. I haven’t yet read the full paper but they are apparently claiming a methane based food chain so where is the methane coming from? Is it supposed to be from the sediments or what? I hope to see some good follow up on this soon. I myself favour a deep ocean network origin of life model so I wonder if this could somehow support that. And how might such bugs have evolved?

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