The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418 Message #1545715
Posted By: Rapparee
19-Aug-05 - 11:42 AM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Extracted from a longer 2002 article you can look up for yourself:
Unlike other organisms at the bottom of the food chain, methanogens need little of the traditional sustenance that biologists associate with life. They get by without oxygen and no help from sunlight, said the U.S. Geological Survey's Francis H. Chapelle, who led the study along with Derek Lovley of the University of Massachusetts.
Methanogens simply feed off hydrogen in the rocks around an underground hot spring.
No one knew if life could live in such conditions. So the Idaho site was chosen for its lack of organic matter, stuff that is originally produced by sunlight-powered organisms and is known to support other subsurface ecosystems.
"This kind of microbial community has never been found on Earth," Chapelle told SPACE.com, adding that it "may be representative of the kinds of life that initially evolved on the early Earth, and which may presently occur on Mars or Europa."
Methanogens belong to an ancient group related to bacteria, called the archaea. All archaea are outfitted for survival in extreme environments. They are thought to have dominated primitive Earth, when oxygen was a rare commodity.
Idaho is not the only home to methanogens. They cause gas in the digestive tracts of humans. And they're found in oxygen-deprived mud at the bottom of swamps. But they are not seen as essential to supporting other life in these environments, as is the case in Idaho.
And I am restraining myself from commenting further.