A couple of quotes I found were very insightful and brilliant! One of them is “shot in the arm for astronomers looking for life in other places.” In other words, the discovery of life in surprising places gives scientists hope of finding it in the most unusual places of all: other planets. The other one is “These organisms are so different from anything we know”. What it says in the article to back this up is “these organisms may live for an astonishingly long time — perhaps millions of years. The clay they call home settled onto the ocean floor 86 million years ago. They may be tens, or hundreds, or thousands, or even millions of years old, he says. These organisms need oxygen and nutrients to survive. Most of their food drifts down from the surface, such as the dead algae that eventually sink.”
This article was important to me because it saying that there are a number of bacteria found in the call home that biologists are still studying today. They predict that there might have living organisms on mars or on one of Jupiter’s moon. They stated that if there is it won’t walk on two legs or be able to talk.
Living long beneath the sea
In the muck beneath the ocean floor, there’s something alive. Lots of somethings. But don’t worry: You’ll never see them. Instead, these tiny, one-celled germs are content to hunker down in very old clay, for a very long time, eating just enough to stay alive. “These organisms are so different from anything we know,” says Hans Roy, a biologist from Aarhus University in Denmark. He has been studying microbes that live beneath the Pacific Ocean, near the equator. Recently, he and other scientists published a study in the journal Science that contained a surprising observation: These organisms may live for an astonishingly long time — perhaps millions of years. The clay they call home settled onto the ocean floor 86 million years ago — at a time when dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex roamed. That clay brought with it nutrients that still sustain those microbes today. Roy doesn’t know if these single-celled microbes are as old as their food. “If you asked me to calculate the age of a cell, I could do the calculation but it wouldn’t be valid,” he says. They may be tens, or hundreds, or thousands, or even millions of years old, he says. These organisms need oxygen and nutrients to survive. Most of their food drifts down from the surface, such as the dead algae that eventually sink. But there’s not much food on the floor of the ocean. Even less ends up in the layers of muck underneath. Roy estimates that over 1,000 years, less than 0.2 millimeter (0.008 inch) of new, oxygen-rich sediment is deposited onto the seafloor. This depth is about half the thickness of your pinkie fingernail. That means if you plunged your own finger deep into that muck, you could touch dirt that’s nearly half a million years old. (Of course, first you’d have to get to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.) Roy dug much deeper. He and his team studied organisms living in clay as deep as 30 meters (nearly 100 feet). Since the microbes require oxygen, the scientists measured the oxygen content of muck at different depths. The clay nearest the seafloor had the most oxygen; the deepest clay had the least.
Hans Roy (top, in yellow hat) guides a long sample of seafloor muck onto the deck of the RV...