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Ultra Microbacteria Discovered: A Preview of Life on Exo Planets?

Greenlandglaciers1280x1024A team of scientists have revived a bacteria after a hundred thousand years under three kilometers of glacier.  The microorganism is one of a new type only recently revealed to science, is small enough to pass through standard sterile filters, and is final proof that scientists just don't watch sci-fi movies.

The new ultramicrobacterium (and that's not hyperbolistic neology, that's the actual scientific name) Herminiimonas Glaciei was recovered from underneath Greenland glaciers and took almost a year to slowly heat back to life.  With stages like "Seven months at 2 degrees C", reanimating frozen microlife isn't like microwaving popcorn.  Penn State University scientists coaxed the cells into action and created colonies of organisms twenty thousand times smaller than the average human cell.

This is only the fourth ultramicrobacterium ever found, and you know you're doing real science when the words are too big to fit on a scrabble board.  These itty-bitty organisms are small enough to pass through sterile filters usually used to purify water and, by the way, they all live in water.  None are even remotely pathogenic (so there's no risk of sickness) but expect a scare-story pandemic when mainstream media eventually notices they exist.

As well as being a great display of the range of life on Earth, ultramicrobacteria (and yes, we are using that word as much as possible) could hold clues for further-flung organisms as well.  These super-small cells are extremely suitable for life on otherwise untenable planets, with their minuscule food requirements, extreme resilience, and adaptability to micro-niches which couldn't support even regular sized bacteria.  As well as existing where others couldn't, these sublilliputian lifeforms could persist on planets where catastrophes wiped out everything else.

Posted by Luke McKinney.


Great work... LIFE is beyond any analysis

Just when you think you have a handle on it, there is always a surprise in store.... and the ultimate surprise is that in really, LIFE is just one, yes one SINGLE organism...a super-organism.... and to really make you squirm...LIFE is a fungus !!!!

I can hardly wait until they find life on other planets/moons/whatever!

Interesting. One of the main criticisms of the "Mars rock" possible life form was that it was impossibly small to be a living organism. I love it when scientists pontificate. Reminds me of the "rare earth" theory of the late 80s that planets themselves are likely a very rare occurrence and maybe not even one other earth exists in the entire universe. Hah. There is such a thing as staying so close to "the data" that you bury your head in it. The Universe is pretty big. I'd imagine it has a few surprises yet to come for us little ol' Earthlings.

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