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The Planet’s Oneliest Bug! October 13, 2008

Posted by Onely in We like. . ..
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This BBC News article informed me that the “planet’s loneliest bug” has been found almost two miles underground in South Africa, “living in complete isolation, total darkness, and 60C (140F) heat” and also without oxygen.

Technically he’s not a bug, but rather the bacterium Desulforudis audaxviator. “Audax viator” means “bold traveller” in Latin. Indeed, Desulforudis has gone where no bacterium has gone before, to become “the first known ecosystem within a single biological species”.

So I nominate the little “rod-shaped” guy as the Planet’s Oneliest Bug. I’m sure that he’s happy there, by himself, in the dark, without oxygen. That is how he evolved, and that’s where his comfort level lies. And in fact, we need him there, doing his Onely thing. Desulforudis gets his energy from water, hydrogen, and sulphates. This may be a mechanism used by life forms on other planets with less oxygen than Earth. By studying Desulforudis‘ biochemistry we may gain insights into the ifs and hows of extraterrestrial life.  

Does anyone have other examples of when Nature goes Onely? 

–CC

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