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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 03/21/2005 :  12:52:26  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
I will never cease to be amazed at the lengths life will go for survival.
quote:
The most fascinating of the microbes are known as archaea, a class that can thrive in the most extreme of temperatures and that is believed to be the most primitive of all living things -- perhaps the very first living organisms on Earth. Archaean fossils have been found in ancient landforms that some scientists date as far back as 3.8 billion years ago, which means that they may have appeared barely a billion years after the planet was formed.

Those organisms, the scientists believe, may provide clues to the kinds of life that might once have existed on Mars, when that planet could have been warm and wet and hospitable, or on Europa, the intriguing moon of Jupiter, whose thick ice crust covers a vast ocean where the deep waters could be heated by radioactive elements near the planet's core.

Rachel Haymon, a marine geologist at UC Santa Barbara, and her colleagues have been exploring the hydrothermal vents of a long chain of mid-ocean ridges called the East Pacific Rise for more than a decade. Heat-loving microbes there, called hyperthermophiles, can resist temperatures as high as 750 degrees Fahrenheit at the small, "black smoker" volcanoes.

Abiogenesis in hydrothermal vents 3.5+ bya? Could be, could be.






"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


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Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 03/21/2005 :  13:36:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message
I still prefer the toad which freezes completely and then thaws again in spring good to go... more personality, although microbes are amazing in every way.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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Plyss
Skeptic Friend

Netherlands
231 Posts

Posted - 03/21/2005 :  15:56:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Plyss a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by BigPapaSmurf

I still prefer the toad which freezes completely and then thaws again in spring good to go... more personality, although microbes are amazing in every way.



Ugh, multicellular life is so messy. My personal favourite weird organism is Deinococcus radiodurans. This little creature is so resistant against ionising radiation that it thrives after receiving a dosis a thousand times stronger then required to kill a human.
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Plyss
Skeptic Friend

Netherlands
231 Posts

Posted - 03/21/2005 :  16:04:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Plyss a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by filthy

I will never cease to be amazed at the lengths life will go for survival.



Personally, i'd love to know what kind of acyl chains these critters use in their membranes. I imagine they'd require high degrees of saturation and high concentrations of sterols to keep them from melting. Also their genomes are likely highly enriched in CG-base pairs over AT ones, as to prevent random dissociation of their DNA. Their proteome probably contains some neat tricks as well, possible with industrial use.

Many biotech companies are looking for ways to stabilise proteins so they can be used in things like washing powders or in catalytic reactors at elevated temperature. These organisms might yield some fascinating evolutionary solutions to such problems.
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