A2: Microbes in the News

Title: Microbes Set the Stage for First Animals

Date:  April 8, 2017

Authors:  Amanda Doyle

Link:  https://www.space.com/36403-microbes-set-stage-for-first-animals.html

Summary:  Several researchers  have found what they describe as “…odd creatures, most of which have no evidence of a circulatory or digestive system…”. These creatures existed around 541 million years ago during the Cambrian Period. These creatures, the scientists argue, might not have been animals at all.

Connection:  We have talked about the eveloution of life on Earth, from microbial life to multicellular life. Somewhere between singlecelled life and multicellular life, these creatures showed up which we thought might have been the ancesters of animal life; but other kinds of life might have existed at the same time.

Critical Analysis: This article did a pretty good job explaining the science behind these researchers findings. They explain how the enviroment changed over time and alowed these creatures to evolve along with others.

Question: Do you think these microbes could  still be around today in another form? Perhaps like the colonial Portuguese man o’ war?

Canadian bacteria-like fossils called oldest evidence of life

Source: William Dunham of Reuters

Date: 01MAR2017

Link:  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-science-life-idUSKBN16858B


Microfossils found at Hudson Bay near Quebec show similarities to the microbes that exist today around hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor.  This discovery adds weight to the Subsurface Hypothesis that life may have originated in  hydrothermal vents.

Connection: This was a very coincidental find as we have recently cover the Subsurface Hypothesis of the origin of life and hyperthermophiles/ extremophiles.

Analysis: While the thought of having “proof” of one hypothesis being correct is appealing, there is no way to be sure that the formations found in the quartz were formed by  ancient microbes.  Even in the article it says, “The researchers expressed confidence the fossils from northeastern Canada were formed by organisms, saying no non-biological explanation was plausible.”  They say plausible, but still possible.  Without more evidence outside of just the shapes they found, it is a hard road to convince the rest of the scientific community of its authenticity.

Question:  What level of evidence would the scientists need to convince the rest of their colleagues of their theory?