Life on Earth may have developed below rather than above ground, reveal scientists
How life on Earth came into existence is still one of the greatest mysteries in science but new research into the “deep biosphere” indicates that the first replicating life-forms on the planet may have originated deep underground rather than, as commonly believed, on the surface.
Scientists have now discovered microbes living and reproducing as deep as 5km (3.1 miles) below ground and studies have shown that they are likely to have survived in complete isolation from the surface biosphere for millions and perhaps even billions of years.
One of the latest studies into the deep biosphere has found that these microbes form a distinct subsurface community of genetically similar individuals despite living on opposite sides of the world. This global similarity of such an isolated life-form suggests that they may have evolved directly from a common ancestor that lived as long ago at the period when life on earth originated, some 3.5 billion years ago.
An increasing number of researchers believe that life could have first got going in the tiny cracks of underground rocks, fuelled not by the energy of sunlight but by chemical fuel in the form of hydrogen and methane which can be produced in certain types of rock under high temperatures and pressures.
The latest discovery of a closely-related, global community of microbes in the deep biosphere lends further support to the idea that life originated not in the “primordial soup” of surface lakes and seas, but in the tiny water-filled fissures found in underground rock, said Matt Schrenk of Michigan State University.
“Two years ago we had scant idea about what microbes are present in subsurface rocks or what they eat. Since then a number of studies have vastly expanded that database,” Dr Schrenk said.
“We’re getting this emerging picture not only of what sort of organisms are found in these systems but some consistency between sites globally – we’re seeing the same types of organisms everywhere we look,” he said.
The study, presented this week to the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, compared DNA sequences of hydrogen-eating microbes extracted from rock fractures deep below North America, Europe, South Africa and Japan. To their surprise, the scientists found that they were closer than 97 per cent similar – making them virtually the same species, Dr Schrenk said.
“It is easy to understand how birds or fish might be similar oceans apart, but it challenges the imagination to think of nearly identical microbes 16,000km apart from each other in the cracks of hard rock at extreme depths, pressures and temperatures,” he said.
Read the full article at: alternews.co.uk
Has Mars Preserved Evidence of Ancient Life? Groundbreaking New Look at the 1976 Viking Mission Findings
Was the Bible right? All life on earth ’may have come from clay’
Are we too focused on searching for a particular kind of alien life?
Experiment to Show Comets Brought Life To Earth
Life on earth ’began on Mars’
Latest News from our Front Page
The Jewish Roots of Leonard Nimoy and What the ‘Live Long and Prosper’ Hand Symbol Really Means
Leonard Nimoy first saw what became the famous Vulcan salute, “live long and prosper,” as a child, long before “Star Trek” even existed. The placement of the hands comes from a childhood memory, of an Orthodox Jewish synagogue service in Boston.
The man who would play Spock saw the gesture as part of a blessing, and it never left him. “Something ...
Baby born still INSIDE his amniotic sac is hailed a ‘medical miracle’ by doctors [Video]
What an incredible miracle… Not only was the little boy three months early – he was born inside his amniotic sac. I’ve never heard of this happening before. If you look at the picture, you can see him clearly with his little arms and legs curled up. He was still being given oxygen by his mom until the sac was ...
California Infant Dies after 8 Vaccines, Family Gets Him Back from Hospital Cremated
Parents in California are distraught after losing their infant son after being vaccinated. He died in his sleep and was taken to the hospital already deceased. Hospital staff ruled his death as sudden infant death syndrome. The couple was told an autopsy was required to be performed on their son.
After returning home, waiting to get an update, they never received ...
DNA: Data-storage for eternity
How can we preserve our knowledge today for the next millennia? ETH researchers have found a way to store information in the form of DNA, preserving it for nearly an eternity.
Scrolls thousands of years old provide us with a glimpse into long-forgotten cultures and the knowledge of our ancestors. In this digital era, in contrast, a large part of our ...
Hypercleanliness is making us sick - Children develop allergies and eczema
Could using a dishwashing machine increase the chances your child will develop allergies? That's what some provocative new research suggests — but don't tear out your machine just yet.
The study involved 1,029 Swedish children (ages 7 or 8) and found that those whose parents said they mostly wash the family's dishes by hand were significantly less likely to develop eczema, ...
|More News » |