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?

Ancient Microbes Found Hidden in Crystals

Microbes survived inside giant cave crystals for up to 50,000 years


February 18, 2017



Microbes have been found inside giant crystals in caves in Chihuahua, Mexico. These microbes could have survived there for tens of thousands of years undisturbed. They are not like any other genus known currently and after genetic testing from microbial communities in the caves researchers do not think that the crystals were contaminated by other microbes since the crystal’s formation, confirming the age estimates for the microbes.


This goes hand in hand with the extremophile unit. These microbes survived for thousands of years without any contact with the outside world. The microbes could have also made spores since it is unknown if they were dormant for the entirety of thier time in the crystal or for a portion. Whatever the case researchers were able to wake the microbes up and study them in lab.

Critical Analysis:

I found it intersting when the article was talking about astrobiology becasue before this class I had no idea that was a field. Now that I know about it I can see the need in such a field. I also think that it is interesing how these microbes are like no other on Earth and this could help us find life on other planets.


How will NASA insure that no Earth microbes will make it to other worlds where they are studying life?