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The bag-like invertebrates, found in Shaanxi, China are less than 1.2 mm long with pleated, circular mouths and up to eight openings along their bizarre bodies. Classified as deuterostomes, a diverse group of animals of vertebrates (including us), starfish and acorn worms, it is believed that the creatures lived in water around 540 million years ago, making them the earliest known deuterostomes to date – and as a result, our oldest relatives.
"We arrived at the word Saccorhytus, which basically means a wrinkled bag," says Conway Morris, a paleobiologist at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. Actually, this thing is a lot uglier than a wrinkled bag. It's basically a giant gaping mouth with spikes and some extra holes — probably for oozing waste.
one of the very few hallmarks of all deuterostomes is what we call gill slits," says Conway Morris. Structures like those may have been precursors to gills, which were in turn an important stepping stone on the way to animals that were capable of walking and breathing on land.
but it's an ancestor of a major animal group that includes humans. So humans probably came from something that looked like it. "We come from these tiny, small blobs. That, I think, is an important thing for people to realize," says Van Roy.
Observations of the Red Planet indicate that rivers and oceans may have been prominent features in its early history. Billions of years ago, Mars was a warm and wet world that could have supported microbial life in some regions.
Curiosity has found yet more evidence of water flowing on ancient Mars. The 1-ton rover rolled through an ancient stream bed shortly after touching down in August 2012, and it has examined a number of rocks that were exposed to liquid water billions of years ago.
originally posted by: schuyler
Why anyone would be surprised or amazed that there was once life on Mars is beyond me. It's pretty well accepted that Mars once had running water and even oceans. Life is a natural once you have those conditions.
Tharks, though, maybe not.
A NASA research team of scientists at the Johnson Space Center (JSC), Houston, TX, and at Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, has found evidence that strongly suggests primitive life may have existed on Mars more than 3.6 billion years ago.
originally posted by: OneGoal
The above poster mentions the magnetosphere. I dont know if it ever had one, but if it did, i think that olympos mons caused its end with the high volume of mantle material pouring onto the surface.
Unlike the Earth, Mars has no inner dynamo to create a major global magnetic field. This, however, does not mean that Mars does not have a magnetosphere; simply that it is less extensive than that of the Earth....
...Despite the fact that Mars no longer has an internal dynamo capable of generating a large global magnetic field as on Earth, there is evidence to suggest that Mars may once have had such a dynamo. This is mainly supported by observations from the American satellite mission MGS (Mars Global Surveyor), which from 1997 to 2006 measured the magnetic field of Mars using a small magnetometer from an altitude of 100-400 km above the planet’s surface. These measurements showed the existence of powerful magnetic crustal fields on the planet’s surface, far more powerful than those found on Earth.
An organism with optimal growth at pH levels of 3 or below
An organism with optimal growth at pH levels of 9 or above
An organism that does not require oxygen for growth such as Spinoloricus Cinzia. Two sub-types exist: facultative anaerobe and obligate anaerobe. A facultative anaerobe can tolerate anaerobic and aerobic conditions; however, an obligate anaerobe would die in the presence of even trace levels of oxygen
An organism that lives in microscopic spaces within rocks, such as pores between aggregate grains; these may also be called Endolith, a term that also includes organisms populating fissures, aquifers, and faults filled with groundwater in the deep subsurface
An organism requiring at least 0.2M concentrations of salt (NaCl) for growth
An organism that can thrive at temperatures above 80 °C, such as those found in hydrothermal systems
An organism that lives underneath rocks in cold deserts
An organism (usually bacteria) whose sole source of carbon is carbon dioxide and exergonic inorganic oxidation (chemolithotrophs) such as Nitrosomonas europaea; these organisms are capable of deriving energy from reduced mineral compounds like pyrites, and are active in geochemical cycling and the weathering of parent bedrock to form soil
Capable of tolerating high levels of dissolved heavy metals in solution, such as copper, cadmium, arsenic, and zinc; examples include Ferroplasma sp., Cupriavidus metallidurans and GFAJ-1
An organism capable of growth in nutritionally limited environments
An organism capable of growth in environments with a high sugar concentration
(Also referred to as barophile). An organism that lives optimally at high pressures such as those deep in the ocean or underground; common in the deep terrestrial subsurface, as well as in oceanic trenches
A polyextremophile (faux Ancient Latin/Greek for 'affection for many extremes') is an organism that qualifies as an extremophile under more than one category
An organism capable of survival, growth or reproduction at temperatures of -15 °C or lower for extended periods; common in cold soils, permafrost, polar ice, cold ocean water, and in or under alpine snowpack
Organisms resistant to high levels of ionizing radiation, most commonly ultraviolet radiation, but also including organisms capable of resisting nuclear radiation
An organism that can thrive at temperatures between 45–122 °C
Combination of thermophile and acidophile that prefer temperatures of 70–80 °C and pH between 2 and 3
An organism that can grow in extremely dry, desiccating conditions; this type is exemplified by the soil microbes of the Atacama Desert
Astrobiology is the field concerned with forming theories, such as panspermia, about the distribution, nature, and future of life in the universe. In it, microbial ecologists, astronomers, planetary scientists, geochemists, philosophers, and explorers cooperate constructively to guide the search for life on other planets. Astrobiologists are particularly interested in studying extremophiles, as many organisms of this type are capable of surviving in environments similar to those known to exist on other planets. For example, Mars may have regions in its deep subsurface permafrost that could harbor endolith communities. The subsurface water ocean of Jupiter's moon Europa may harbor life, especially at hypothesized hydrothermal vents at the ocean floor.
Recent research carried out on extremophiles in Japan involved a variety of bacteria including Escherichia coli and Paracoccus denitrificans being subject to conditions of extreme gravity. The bacteria were cultivated while being rotated in an ultracentrifuge at high speeds corresponding to 403,627 g (i.e. 403,627 times the gravity experienced on Earth). Paracoccus denitrificans was one of the bacteria which displayed not only survival but also robust cellular growth under these conditions of hyperacceleration which are usually found only in cosmic environments, such as on very massive stars or in the shock waves of supernovas. Analysis showed that the small size of prokaryotic cells is essential for successful growth under hypergravity. The research has implications on the feasibility of panspermia.
On 26 April 2012, scientists reported that lichen survived and showed remarkable results on the adaptation capacity of photosynthetic activity within the simulation time of 34 days under Martian conditions in the Mars Simulation Laboratory (MSL) maintained by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
On 29 April 2013, scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, funded by NASA, reported that, during spaceflight on the International Space Station, microbes seem to adapt to the space environment in ways "not observed on Earth" and in ways that "can lead to increases in growth and virulence".
On 19 May 2014, scientists announced that numerous microbes, like Tersicoccus phoenicis, may be resistant to methods usually used in spacecraft assembly clean rooms. It's not currently known if such resistant microbes could have withstood space travel and are present on the Curiosity rover now on the planet Mars.
On 20 August 2014, scientists confirmed the existence of microorganisms living half a mile below the ice of Antarctica.[
Allan Hills 84001 (commonly abbreviated ALH84001) is a meteorite that was found in Allan Hills, Antarctica on December 27, 1984 by a team of U.S. meteorite hunters from the ANSMET project. Like other members of the group of SNCs (shergottite, nakhlite, chassignite), ALH84001 is thought to be from Mars. However, it does not fit into any of the previously discovered SNC groups. On discovery, its mass was 1.93 kilograms (4.3 lb).
The meteorite is best known for gaining intense media attention in 1996 when a group of scientists claimed to have found evidence for microscopic fossils of Martian bacteria in it, culminating in then U.S. president Bill Clinton giving a speech about the potential discovery. These claims were controversial from the beginning, and the wider scientific community ultimately rejected the hypothesis once all the unusual features in the meteorite had been explained without requiring life to be present. Despite there being no convincing evidence of Martian life, the initial paper and scientific and public attention caused by it are considered to be turning points in the history of the developing science of astrobiology.
These claims were controversial from the beginning, and the wider scientific community ultimately rejected the hypothesis once all the unusual features in the meteorite had been explained without requiring life to be present.