Saturday, June 2, 2012
86 million year old lunch box
Ancient Deep-Sea Bacteria Are In No Hurry To Eat
The Science paper the report is based on isn't quite as catchy:
Aerobic Microbial Respiration in 86-Million-Year-Old Deep-Sea Red Clay
but the observations and the implications are pretty interesting:
They left the surface 86 million years ago with one lunch box, and they're still eating out of it. It's like they're splitting a pie, and they keep splitting in half and in half and in half, but nobody ever eats the last crumble. It's quite remarkable.
One reason scientists are interested in this extreme lifestyle is because it provides clues about the absolute minimum conditions required to sustain life. Andreas Teske, a marine microbiologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, says that's useful for people looking beyond our planet for signs of life.