Science 2 min read

Newly Found Yellowstone Microbes Reveal Key Facts About Origin of Life

The Yellowstone River, whose headwaters begin in the Yellowstone National Park. | 12019 |

The Yellowstone River, whose headwaters begin in the Yellowstone National Park. | 12019 |

Scientists just discovered new microbes in Yellowstone National Park that could help us better understand life here on Earth.

In a study published by Montana State University researchers in the journal Nature Microbiology, new, interesting microbes were found in Yellowstone National Park. The researchers said that studying the lineage of the organisms could help pave the way for better understanding life here on Earth.

The researchers identified the lineage of the organisms as archaea. The archaeal lineage was then named “Marsarchaeta” after the Red Planet, Mars. This is because of the microbe’s ability to survive in iron which is the primary element that gives Mars its red color.

Archaea are among the three types of life-forms on our planet. The group includes bacteria and eukaryotes. According to the researchers, archaea are truly ancient life-forms and may be the oldest microbes here on our world.

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“The discovery of archaeal lineages is critical to our understanding of the universal tree of life and evolutionary history of the Earth,” the researchers said in a statement.

“Geochemically diverse thermal environments in Yellowstone National Park provide unprecedented opportunities for studying archaea in habitats that may represent analogues of early Earth.”

Like bacteria, archaea are single-cell organisms. Within the Marsarchaeota, the researchers discovered two main subgroups that live in Yellowstone and thrive in acidic water where iron oxide is said to be the primary mineral.

“It’s interesting that the habitat of these organisms contains (iron) minerals similar to those found on the surface of Mars,” Bill Inskeep, professor in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at Montana State, said.

“In the end, after many years of work, it’s exciting, and a relief, to have our team’s work recognized and published, particularly in a high impact journal,” Zackary Jay.

Are you excited to travel back in time and know the real history?

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Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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