Sunday, March 06, 2005

299: Deep sea life

news @ - Deep-sea mission finds life in the Lost City - Chalky spires in the Atlantic depths play host to primitive archaea.:

The inside walls of these porous spires house a colony of archaea that have adapted to a diet of hydrogen and methane, which also rise from the vent beneath. "This is one of the significant findings of this study," says Stefan Sievert, a microbiologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. "The whole system seems geared toward methane production or methane consumption," he says, which is "the kind of system that might have been present on the early Earth".
Archaea are the likely ancestors of multicellular life, and these live in conditions like those of early life. These scientists went to great lengths (and great depth) to understand evolution better.