Sign of the apocalypse: blood waterfalls

By Phil Plait | March 2, 2010 7:00 am

Our planet is a weird place. I can imagine visiting Antactica, seeing nothing but white ice and gray rocks for days on end… but then, how would you react when you saw this?

bloodfalls

Yegads! That is a part of Taylor Glacier, specifically the Blood Falls, located in the dry valleys of Antarctica. Apparently, a lake was covered by the glacier about 2 million years ago, trapping the microbial life inside. They have evolved independently of outside life for all that time, and were discovered due to a few leaks from under the glacier.

The water coming out is red due to iron, and is incredibly salty with almost no oxygen in it. The microbes — 17 different kinds have been found there — must use sulfur as a catalyst instead of oxygen, which has never been seen before.

It’s always surprising when an entirely alien ecosystem is found on Earth. It makes me hopeful that when we start to explore other planets, we’ll find life in splendid and incredible varieties. Nature is clever, vast, and has had a long long time in the lab to experiment. If we can find things so alien in a place so familiar, what will happen when we explore a truly alien world?

Image credit: United States Antarctic Program Photo Library

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Pretty pictures

Comments (96)

  1. Sir Craig

    It’s seeing stuff like this that makes me appreciate how adaptive life is. Along with sea life thriving near underwater volcano vents which should be impossible due to the heat and acid levels, life seems bound and determined to exist.

    What really impresses me is the fact that these microbes had to evolve into a form that allowed them to survive in what is otherwise an alien environment. Further proof “intelligent design” and creationism have never been, and will never be, able to explain life.

  2. Chaos

    Oh, don´t fear, Sir Craig, I´m sure some IDiot or another will soon explain how the Almighty in His boundless wisdom saw fit to design these microbes… *retch*

    As for alien life-forms, somebody (it sounds an awful lot like Carl Sagan, or maybe Isaac Asimov) said, “most likely, extraterrestrial life will not only be stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we *can* imagine”. That sounds just about right to me.

  3. Pi-needles

    Redrum! Redrum!

    The set of The Shining has obviously become mysteriously freezing cold … ;-)

  4. Doug Little

    I don’t remember that being on the ark!

  5. Rivers urv blurd?

    I’m not sure I’m so keen on alien life if all it’s going to do is emulate The Shining all over the landscape.

  6. Wraiith

    Cool stuff! Doesn’t life near deep ocean thermal vents also use sulfur rather than oxygen? Not saying they’re the same thing, just wondering of that’s an example of where something similar has been seen before.

  7. Morbid Florist

    We’ll rape of it of its natural resources, of course.

    Small price to pay for our mechanized robot army… of doom?

    On a serious note, Sir Craig is right – we can’t imagine what it will be like. We can imagine what it won’t be like, and that’s Star Trek or any other sci-fi series that has alien beings in it – I think both our carbon base and humanoid/primate form will be somewhat unique. In any case, aliens won’t just look like us with funny ridges or spots on them. That’s just silly.

    It’s cool to imagine though. Let’s take the Blood Falls example. *What if* life on earth used sulfur as a catalyst instead of oxygen? Would that work (replace the atmospheric oxygen with sulfur – could life exist?) – my limited knowledge says no. However, what’s really cool about the Blood Falls is that there could be some frozen ‘antarctic’ type world out there, where life only thrives in conditions that the microorganisms like – sulfur in this case. Life would then evolve and center around these literal ‘hotspots’ , much like people do around water.

  8. @Chaos,

    I wouldn’t doubt that since life on Earth is constantly proving stranger than we can imagine! If we keep getting surprised by life here on this rock, imagine what life on a completely different rock with completely different living conditions would be like!

  9. Jya Jya Binks Killer

    You sure that’s not pureed whale from a secret and well-hidden Japanese whaling base just a little way off-screen? ;-)

    As for I’d react, well that may depend on what it smells like .. whether that’s something like raspberry /strawberry/cranberry sauce or rotten whale guts. Potential reactions range from licking my lips and trying a small sample to test for edibility through to uncontrollably vomiting so quite a gamut there! ;-)

    Also just a guess but while I’m not sure what alien sentient lifeforms will look like, I’m guessing if they do look like waterfalls of blood they’re going to have a hard time relating to us & establishing friendly relations. Sad but true.

    Finally, how do the bacteria in this ecosystem compare with those of the similarly extreme sulfur loving, high salts and minerals enviro. “Black smoker” ecosystems and, very outside chance, but *could* something like this exist on Mars or beneath the crust of Europa?

  10. harknights

    Wow.

    Every kid should have to watch Jurassic Park and write a paper on what it means by

    “Life finds a way.”

    I know it’s just a movie but are there that many words that mean more?

  11. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE

    Dr. Phil Plait:

    It’s always surprising when an entirely alien ecosystem is found on Earth.

    Quote from Clark in the movie The Thing:

    I dunno what the hell’s in there, but it’s weird and pissed off, whatever it is.

    GET THE F****** FLAME-THROWER!

  12. Jackwraith

    Nitpick of the morning:

    The wikipedia says the microbes consume sulfATE (and ferric ions), not sulfur, which would explain what happened to the free oxygen, I guess.

  13. Shoeshine Boy

    Obviously it’s The Blob! You remember what they did with it at the end of the movie, right?

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051418/

  14. Tom

    I wonder what the microbes will evolve into?

    Could they evolve into sentient beings?

  15. Oli

    More proof that not all life is carbon- and oxygen-based like so many people think.

  16. Bob L

    That’s just some rouge Elder Thing shoggoth frozen into a glacier waiting for global warming to thaw it so it can go around happily tearing the heads of antarctic explorers.

  17. Rob

    Oli – is there some reason to think that these microbes aren’t carbon-based?

  18. Charlie Young

    Sulfur never seen before as an oxidizer? I thought several deep sea bacteria near hot water vents were sulfur oxidizers. There are also tube worms near those deep sea vents that depend on those bacteria for a food source. Actually, it is a pretty bio-diverse environment for such difficult living conditions. This gives us hope we may actually find some form of life like this on other planets or moons in our solar system.

  19. Charlie Young

    Here is just one quick article I found via Google U: http://aem.asm.org/cgi/content/full/67/7/2873

  20. Charlie Young

    Oli,

    Those microbes still have carbon based protein structure. They use sulfur in an oxidation cascade to produce energy to function. Some are facultative anaerobes and could not exist if oxygen were present. Some are aerobes utilizing photosynthesyis in the sulfur cycle to produce energy.

  21. Matt T

    Adding to #16, aren’t there also some shimp that have evolved to feed around those hydrothermal vents? I seem to recall some footage of ghostly-white shrimp feeding around a smoker, but I could be wrong. Anyone recall something similar?

  22. Charlie Young

    Correct that: they are obligate anaerobes that would die in the presence of oxygen. Facultative anaerobes can use both aerobic and anaerobic processes to make energy.

  23. Ryan The Biologist

    @Phil- Oh, make no mistake. That life is far from “alien” and certainly did not represent a separate abiogenesis event, as would be required for life on another planet. It just took a different evolutionary path due to isolation, which is very interesting, but doesn’t improve the odds of life being found outside of Earth.

    @Oli- These microbes require carbon and oxygen atoms just like everything else on Earth, they just don’t use O2 for respiration. Using sulfur compounds for respiration isn’t even unique. Most cases of life evolving away from the sunlight involve chemosynthesis to acquire energy.

  24. Chasing the reference trail a short way, ‘sulfur as a catalyst instead of oxygen’ seems a bit misleading. As far as I can see, the bacteria use sulfate as a catalyst, and use it to reduce iron instead of oxygen.

    Speculating and simplifying, they may have:

    2Fe2O3 + CH2O -> 4FeO + H2O + CO2 (catalysed by sulfate)

    where we have

    O2 + CH2O -> H2O +CO2

    where CH2O represents sugar and FeO represents hydrated Fe2+.

  25. Pieter Kok

    While that is very exciting scientifically, I can’t help lament that we only got to see this because of global warming.

  26. Zoiks! The Blob has escaped!

  27. Thanny

    Metabolism that doesn’t use oxygen is hardly new to human knowledge.

    It seems to be a guess about exactly how these microbes use sulfate compounds to catalyze reactions with existing organic compounds that’s supposed to be new. That’s the rough explanation on the Wikipedia page linked to by Phil.

    That would be interesting, but hardly earth-shattering. Bacteria and archae are metabolic savants – if there’s an energy gradient, they’ll evolve to exploit it eventually.

    These are still standard DNA vehicles composed of organic molecules (i.e. still made up of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen). Two million years of isolation is nothing in the 3.5 billion year history of life.

  28. Kai

    What you haven’t shown is the scale of this thing. You have to click the link and see the photo with the tent in it to really appreciate the falls. It looks to me like just a little stream, but then I say how big it really was and WOW.

  29. Gary Ansorge

    As an aside, Phil, please note: science gets better TV time on Comedy central than it does on the major news networks.

    I always knew Stewart and Colbert were secret science admirers.

    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2010-03-02-sciencecomedy02_ST_N.htm?csp=Tech

    Gary 7

  30. Mel

    How is the iron red without the presence of oxygen? Does it turn red after reaching the surface? Can it be red because of reacting with the sulfur? …been a while since chemistry.

  31. Icewings

    Please excuse my extreme ignorance but when I was in school I learned that water is made of hydrogen and oxygen. So, the statement “The water coming out is red due to iron, and is incredibly salty with almost no oxygen in it” confuses me.

    I don’t understand how H2O can be missing the O but still be water?

  32. John Paradox

    A rusty glacier?

    J/P=?

  33. John Paradox

    26. Icewings Says:
    Please excuse my extreme ignorance but when I was in school I learned that water is made of hydrogen and oxygen. So, the statement “The water coming out is red due to iron, and is incredibly salty with almost no oxygen in it” confuses me.

    I don’t understand how H2O can be missing the O but still be water?

    That’s dissolved oxygen in the water.. the type that fish use to ‘breathe’.

    J/P=?

  34. Mike

    “Antactica”? We from Bastan are we?

  35. Mikey G

    Its just water with Oxidized iron in it….Like liquid Rust…

  36. Cheyenne

    The Atlas Obscura website Phil linked to has a lot of other very cool stuff on it. My productivity just plummeted…..thanks a lot Phil.

    @Pieter Kok – Looks like they discovered this in 1911. So in this particular case we didn’t find it due to global warming.

  37. Zach

    I was just over there in January, and have some pictures of it (granted they’re not very good as we do field work on the south shore of the lake). It’s a really cool spot, and protected specifically under the Antarctic treaty–you have to have permits to go there. It’s being studied as part of the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long-term ecological research site in the Taylor Valley–they got either a Science or a Nature paper out of it, iirc. I don’t know a whole lot about it, though, as we do the soils component of the LTER.

  38. Pieter Kok

    Cheyenne, are we still playing that points game? I clearly did not read the article… ;)

  39. What really impresses me is the fact that these microbes had to evolve into a form that allowed them to survive in what is otherwise an alien environment.

    It may well be the opposite. In its early history, Earth was anaerobic for a long time. We know this from the banded iron formations in the Canadian Shield that appear to have stopped forming around the same time the Earth’s atmosphere began to become enriched in O2.

    I would bet that microbial life on Earth arose first in totally anaerobic conditions and later adapted to an aerobic environment, rather than vice versa.

  40. cuggy

    I saw a really annoying article that called this stuff the primordial ooze.

  41. Mary

    As is often the case, reality is so much more intriguing than science fiction. This is very cool stuff.
    As evolution is mentioned here, I am going to take the opportunity to put in a plug for a book that I found as a result of reading Phil’s blogs—–Evolution How We and All Living Things Came To Be by Daniel Loxton. It is called a children’s book and is written for, I figure, about 10-11 years and up depending on the the interest level. However, it is not just for children. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The organization, illustrations, and explanations are super. The facts are explained in an easily understood way while
    remaining true to the science. (The creature and his/her question on p.35 made me chuckle.)
    This would be a wonderful addition to any home library. For teachers with evolution in their curriculum, this book is good enough to be a sole resource. I’d love to see it in every school library.
    Mary

  42. Cheyenne

    @Pieter – No, we ain’t playing points. But I do think you bring up a good issue- I wonder what else we may find as glaciers start melting. Hopefully not something like smallpox re-emerging. Yikes.

  43. oldebabe

    Just walked on a glacier last week (Perito Moreno), so really enjoyed this totally interesting blog. Drank the icy water, too – delicious, whatever has been entrained. No rust, tho…

  44. Joseph

    Smallpox hasn’t really gone away, it’s just dormant in the freezer. Potentially not in allied freezers either. Hence the nifty scar I, born in 1980, now sport on my left shoulder. Woot military preventative medicine!

    http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/basics/outbreak.asp

  45. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    doesn’t improve the odds of life being found outside of Earth.

    No, pro- and protobiotic systems likely needed equitable conditions to evolve. No ion pumps to keep metals out et cetera.

    I’m reminded of a paper early 2009 where they looked at DNA and protein folds as thermometers (the first only good for prokaryotes). The oldest protein folds from when life left the RNA world developed at ~ 20 degC.

    It was later that life bottlenecked through ~ 50-80 degC. This is consistent with isotope measurements from cherts from 2006, that shows this range from ~ 3 Ga (IIRC) onwards to the oxygenation event.

    No such record before that, but it seems that the majority of our volatiles must have come with the Last Heavy Bombardment 4.1 – 3.8 Ga to explain magmatic isotope ratios, while there are zircons from 4.4 Ga which shows a good water supply already then.

    [Actually there is an abstract from the ongoing astronomical conference where they find that LHB dropped of with a whimper and not with a bang - so say 4.1 Ga - 3.2 Ga, which overlaps with tentative isotope ratios and first stromatolites. "DID LHB END NOT WITH A BANG BUT A WHIMPER? THE GEOLOGIC EVIDENCE.", D. R. Lowe et al, 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (2010): "The 3.8-3.2 Ga development of the Earth's surface environment and life may have been constrained largely by the continuing flux of large impactors."]

    This is consistent with that efficient CO2 greenhouse heating of the initially weak sun wasn’t as severe when life started, likely ~ 4.4 Ga. (In recent bombardment models cells survive LHB easily, on accord of that they proliferate and repopulate faster than the surface is sterilized. And now the records test that nicely.)

    Speaking of being unable to use efficiently regulate metals for catalyze purposes, the last couple of weeks interesting papers surfaced.

    First a few weeks back they seem to have solved the ribozyme site in ribosomes, going back to the RNA world. It’s two “geometrically” trapped water molecules that work as catalyst respectively proton exchange chain, at the same time ratcheting some of the ribosome motor pertaining to the RNA site. This made-to-fit arrangement seems robustly conserved. ["The transition state for peptide bond formation reveals the ribosome as a water trap", Wallin et al; PNAS 11 Jan.]

    Second last week they seem to have solved ATP kinesins as well. Strikingly, they seem to use a similar two water molecule pocket arrangement of catalyst respectively proton exchange chain, to affect protein actuator (motor) changes. I believe these molecule families goes way back to proton and ion pumps in cell membranes, and of course ATP may be as old too. ["ATP Hydrolysis in Eg5 Kinesin Involves a Catalytic Two-water Mechanism", Parke et al; JBC 19 Feb]:

    “Our data provide a mechanistic rationale for kinesins and perhaps ATPases in general.”

    Makes one wonder how far back the functionality of these water traps go. I’ll bet there are regular crystals which have funny arrangements of water molecules on their surfaces.

    Ehm, from “RNA world” going back to “water world”? :-D

  46. Michael Welford

    Hi Phil,

    As several commenters have already pointed out, that bit about sulphur as a catalyst isn’t right. It actually borders on gibberish. Also, photosynthesis using sulphur hydride is older than photosynthesis using water. And while molecular oxygen is is a necessity for animal life, a lot of life thrives without it.

    You just need to modify one paragraph to have a good, interesting, and informative post. If you plan to keep on correcting the errors of others, and I hope you do, it behooves to quickly correct your own errrors when they’re pointed out to you.

  47. Thameron

    And if we do find life on alien worlds what then? Galileo was crashed into Jupiter to avoid biological contamination. Unless we come up with a 100% foolproof way of decontaminating a probe then all we will ever do is watch this other life from a long way away (probably from orbit). And as far as people going down and wandering around an alien biosphere, there is just no way. Either all our bugs would contaminate the alien ecosphere or they would contaminate us. Or some of both. You think there is a problem with invasive species now just try introducing a truly alien life form. Life on other planets also means a moral quandary. To colonize a world and make it habitable for Earthly life would probably mean sterilizing whatever is there. Lots of alien life elsewhere would mean there would be no place for us to expand to without being exterminators. It would be akin to discovering a new civilization here on Earth and the ‘Keep Out’ signs all around their borders.

  48. Nigel Depledge

    The BA said:

    The microbes — 17 different kinds have been found there — must use sulfur as a catalyst instead of oxygen, which has never been seen before.

    OK, I see several others have pointed out the error here.

    This is a good opportunity for some Good Biochemistrty:

    The sulphur serves not as a catalyst, but as a terminal electron acceptor, in the same way that oxygen is the terminal electron acceptor in vertebrate metabolism. What this means is that the oxygen reacts with our food and we harvest energy from the process. (As you might imagine, it is a whole lot more complicated than that, but this is the essence of it.) In the sequence of reactions (about 30 – 40 steps, depending on exactly how you count them and how you define a step), carbon-containing compounds are oxidised and O2 is reduced to generate CO2.

    Microbes that use sulphur chemistry for energy generation have a variety of strategies, but the simplest way to understand it is to envisage elemental sulphur as the starting point and hydrogen sulphide as the waste product. The “food” can be any substance containing hydrogen that the microbes can get hold of (largely depending on the species of bugs).

    This isn’t, as at least one poster suggests, a version of photosynthesis because it does not use light as a source of energy. The energy for the organism’s metabolism is derived almost entirely from the reaction between “food” and sulphur.

  49. Nigel Depledge

    Oh, yeah, and…

    Looks like lactoferrin to me.

  50. “..how would you react when you saw this?”

    I would think, “Geez, I guess minewater runoff has reached here.” I live in Northeastern Pennsylvania, in an area scarred by decades of anthracite coal mining. Numerous creeks and streams in this area have been contaminated by minewater runoff and now are a cheerful orange-brown color and reek of sulfur. (You can actually see this in images on Google Earth.)

  51. Sir Craig

    Doug Watts:

    I hadn’t thought about that – I was going on the information Phil provided about this being approximately 2 million years old. Taking that information into account, and then thinking back on primordial Earth, it seems almost like we’re the odd ones out: What we see as alien is actually the original.

    It appears Adam and Eve were sulfur snorting microbes. Even more evidence against ID and creationism!

  52. I was going to say the same thing about this discovery not actually saying much about the odds of life being found beyond Earth, but Ryan the Biologist did so first, and did it better than I would have done.

    I realize Phil didn’t do it here, but it always bugs me when science-y types opine that it is somehow “likely” that life has emerged independently on other planets. We have exactly one example of abiogenesis, and per the anthropic principle, we don’t really get to infer much of anything about how likely or unlikely that event was (since we wouldn’t be here to do the inferring if it hadn’t happened at least that one time).

    There are two possibilities: Life emerged more than once. Or life emerged just once. I’ve never heard an argument that strikes me as valid for assigning probabilities to those. Yes, I’m aware that the number of places and the spans of time in which life might have emerged a second time are mind-bogglingly vast. But without having any way to estimate the probability of abiogenesis taking place (beyond knowing that it must necessarily be greater than zero, since it happened once), there’s no way to know that the chances of it weren’t so mind-bogglingly small that it really did just happen the one time.

  53. Argus

    Another interesting example of bacteria living in extreme environments is the Spanish river Río Tinto (Red River), which was used as a research area to characterize life in those extreme conditions, under NASA project MARTE.
    http://marte.arc.nasa.gov/

  54. CP

    +1 Nigel, you just saved me some typing. Sulfur is the terminal electron acceptor, not a “catalyst”, in this system. Catalysts are not consumed by the reaction – they’re regenerated during the process, free to start another cycle. Here, the sulfur compound in question would be consumed by the biological reactions (it might be regenerated or otherwise resupplied by some other, inorganic process, of course).

  55. Astrofiend

    I would think that Canadians had been clubbing seals to death down there.

  56. Steve

    Nature isn’t clever. It’s stupid, but persistent.

  57. Michael Welford

    Ancient Scholarly Wisdom – find the Primary Source. Or as the untutored might call it the original source.

    Clicking on the wikipedia link at the top, I did see some speculation about sulfate acting as a catalyst. But Phil, I’m afraid that’s sulfate not sulfur, so you still Fail Chemistry Forever. The article also notes that such a process has never been observed in nature.

    If we click on the third reference link in the wikipedia article we go to a synopsis of an article that appeared in Science mag a few weeks ago.

    Clicking on a link within the synopsis takes us to an abstract of said article.

    Clicking on a link on that page promises to take us at long last, Glory Hallelujah, to the Primary Source

    … behind a paywall.

    It didn’t seem worth my while to pay to find out what speculation may have been made about sulfate catalysis, so I didn’t. Of course, if I had been the one spouting nonsense chemistry on the internet, I might have made a different choice.

  58. Michael Welford

    Oops. Didn’t make clear. In comment 60 I,m tracking Phils hypothetical sulfur catalyst to the original source. (Almost)

  59. Jeremy

    A blood-red waterfall in frozen wasteland, filled with microbes that eat and breathe iron and sulfuric acid?

    Are we sure this is real, and not a Dethklok song?

  60. Morbid Florist: I think both our carbon base and humanoid/primate form will be somewhat unique.

    Primate, yes. Carbon, probably not. Its abundance and ability to form various molecules (around 10 million) makes carbon a likely candidate for the basis of life elsewhere in the universe.

    add a little hydrogen and oxygen, shake it up and, baby, you’ve got yourself a stew going.

  61. MadScientist

    sed s/Antactica/Antarctica/

    As for alien life, life must have been able to start on another planet. You could always ‘seed’ another world (geysers of Io?) with some lifeform which you think will survive – then depending on the timespan of a single generation of the lifeform, wait a few years to a few million years and then check them out again.

    Sometimes an organism has to be separated for extremely long periods of time for it to evolve into distinct species; some human groups seem to have been isolated for as long as 50,000 years and yet they are not separate species; not even slightly incompatible with other groups of humans.

  62. MadScientist

    @Oli #15: That’s not quite right. All life on this planet is related to carbon-based anaerobic lifeforms. The anaerobic life forms were the ones which dominated the early earth; aerobic lifeforms evolved (or thrived) as organisms evolved to generate oxygen. Even the extant anaerobic microorganisms ultimately use oxygen somehow (they reduce some chemical which contains oxygen such as sulfate or sulfite ions or else involved water in the environment). So, based on evolution and having never seen or studied these organisms, I can say that they will be carbon life forms and they will reduce not just any chemical but specifically an oxygen containing chemical to survive. Now if you can find an organism that does not use oxygen at all (for example, reduces HCl or FeCl or some similar) then you would have discovered a truly unique organism which may have evolved from one of the later oxygen-consuming organisms or perhaps from a far more ancient non-oxygen-consuming organism which was one of the earliest lifeforms on earth. I am not aware of any organisms that do not consume oxygen though, but then I’m no expert in the subject either.

  63. Daniel J. Andrews

    Every time you ooh and ahh about biology and the wonder of life, I want to shake your hand and buy you your favourite beverage. Biology is an amazing subject and I’m happy some people still get that. Actually, I’m happy some people still are child-like enough to see the wonder in the natural world. May many more of us hang onto that. Astronomy is amazing too, but as a biologist, I’m a wee bit biased concerning my subject area. :)

  64. Luis

    The “Nature” you said had a long long time in the lab to experiment, one day came into the human world as a man, to teach us about how life flows in the universe, to teach us how we can live in a better way, and after all, this man surrender himself to fill a lack between the humanity and the LIFE itself. His name is JESUS.

  65. Morbid Florist

    @64: Good point. It’ll be interesting to see how a carbon based lifeform would look in a lower gravity / higher gravity environment.

  66. locke

    @Chaos With all the expert biologists here correcting Phil’s original post (and a tip-o-the-hat to all of you!), I’m surprised none corrected your quote: it’s the Brit biologist J.B.S. Haldane that you’re quoting except that he said “queerer” not “stranger” :) .

  67. MadScientist

    @locke#69: Well, if we’re going to nitpick we should also object to “Nature is clever” since that is an anthropomorphism.

  68. goodchild

    Hahaha, there should be a man running with shotgun in green uniform and grey (motorcycle like) helmet and screaming: “where`s the entrance to the level???!!!”

  69. An Idot

    It negates any sign of intelligent comments when one immediately resorts to calling people idiots for their beliefs. the word evolve does not rule out creation. Man creates computer programs that evolve very easily.

  70. Lee R

    This does not confirm the THEORY of Evolution.. Science can only prove ADAPTATION of life to it’s surrounding environment. Which most Creation Scientists believe is inherent in Intelligent Design.
    This only confirms that these organisms can ADAPT just like any other in nature. However, we have no proof of EVOLUTION of SPECIES from one to another. If we evolved from Monkies.. Why do we still have Monkies?!? How do we know that this is not proof of the Creator’s sense of humor? Turning “accepted” Science once again on it’s ear.. By the way. Creation Science also allows for Life on other Planets.

  71. Seventh Son

    Ever seen the movie “The Blob”? This is very likely how the prequel started out….

  72. MaDeR

    “It negates any sign of intelligent comments when one immediately resorts to calling people idiots for their beliefs.”
    Unfortunatley, I will laugh at flatearther and feel no guilty about it. Calling spade a spade and all that.

    @Lee R:
    You better be trolin’. Sincere thoughts like this scares me, like seeing deep in eyes and finding only insanity.

  73. Lee R

    I was healed of Cancer… Doctors could not explain it.. So, where is the insanity? It takes a leap of faith (or Insanity) to believe in Evolution or Intelligent Design…:D.. Peace..

  74. Matt

    Interesting thread. I fail to see, however, that the existence of these microbes negates the possible existence of intelligent design. Please, prove this to me, on a scientific basis. These conversations on origins always amuse me, as people get so involved and respond with so much vitriol, both for and against intelligent design. The whole study of origins really cannot be proved scientifically, as we are dealing with such vast eons of time that can never be duplicated, we are simply interpreting evidence.
    Finally, I understand why religious people so strongly defend ID as it is the foundation of their belief system. By why do athiests attack ID with such vitriol? If it’s a myth, who cares! No one complains about the Santa claus myth.

  75. Marbsy

    Matt,

    I agree that this doesn’t do much to prove that ID is false. Couldn’t we say: How intelligent to have made a system that allows for such vast adaptation! I have never understood why designed evolution is so widely considered impossible. To me, this position that evolution and design are exclusive possibilities is really closed minded. The previous commenter seems to have ruled out a possible solution despite being able to disprove that it is false – or even that another solution is true. I like to think that a good design would include the ability to adapt and generate variety – but even if someone doesn’t _like_ to think that – should they be so quick to discount the possibility?

    Also – are you trying to say there is no Santa Claus?!

  76. Peachy

    Matt (78)

    1. If you think no one complains about “the Santa Claus myth,” you’ve never known (or been) a parent whose child was just promised the new hot, and universally sold-out, toy for Christmas by a department store Santa.

    2. No-one (as far as I know) is trying to get Santa taught in my biology class as “teaching the controversy.”

  77. Lektu

    @MadScientist#71:

    In fact, I think the J. B. S. Haldane quote is not about Nature or Life, but the Universe: “My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”

  78. Avery

    Cool. Iron was my first thought.
    Too bad Antartica cannot thaw.
    We could sure use the space. The tectonic plates will move it to gentle lattitudes over time.
    The successors to humanity can use it.

  79. CTHULHU IS AWAKENED!

  80. nignog

    so is it the same as blood

  81. Lidia

    were going to die

  82. Serge

    Jesus Christ is letting us hear His footsteps as He is coming back, letting the whole wide world scientific community that a flood occured 4500 yrs ago and that the millions and billions of years are just a figment of their imagination…Oh Lord, wake them up!

  83. Pablo

    Adaptation does not equal macroevolution. The microbes are still microbes. Amazes me how people make an intellectual leap of faith like that then point the finger at Creationists and IDers and accuse them of doing exactly the same.

  84. Someone

    note that the verses of the Bible have not always to be taken literally
    red may mean blood, and blood may mean red or reddish, or maybe somehing higher than our thoughts; try to assign events actually occuring to those mentioned in the Bible, even if they are mentionned as metaphors or others… there’s verses that have to be taken only literally, others that have to be considered from both sides, and finally there’s verses that should only be taken as figures, God only knows!

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