Life Alone

And What That Means In The Galaxy

From Universe Today:

A community of bacteria was found 2.8 kilometers below ground in a goldmine and it lives completely alone and completely independent of any other life forms. It also subsists without sunlight or oxygen.

Whoa! Doesn’t biology assume that lifeforms cannot exist that way? – independent of other life forms? Oh yes. This species “…contradicts the principle that all life on earth is part of one great, interdependent system.” What do they eat, after all?

Analysis by Dylan Chivian of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory showed that D. audaxviator gets its energy from the radioactive decay of uranium in the surrounding rocks. It has genes to extract carbon from dissolved carbon dioxide and other genes to fix nitrogen, which comes from the surrounding rocks. Both carbon and nitrogen are essential building blocks for life as we know it.

Every other species that we know of on Earth planet relies on other species for some benefit. For example, humans rely on plants to photosynthesize so that we can eat them. Also, other known ecosystems on Earth that don’t use sunlight directly, such as lifeforms found in deep sea vents, do use some form of photosynthesis. But this newly found species actually can’t handle oxygen.

Since the early ’80 (and the advent of “inflation” as a major part of the origen of the cosmos), those who thought about it were blown away by the amazing number of unlikely coincidences that have made life on Earth possible. Indeed, these incredibly unlikely “accidents” have made us possible. But at the same time, the very tenacity of life and the amazingly determined way it succeeds in filling every niche in an absolutely hostile universe also astounds. Give a microbe an inch and it’ll take the planet. Presumably, the entire galaxy is no greater obstacle.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Astronomy, Science

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