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microbes

  1. Pet Owners Could Share More Microbes With Their Dogs Than Their Children

    Pet owners probably accept the fact that they're sharing microbes with their furry friend to some degree or another. Parents also probably make this assumption about their children, because at the end of the day both pets and children are pretty disgusting animals. A new study says that, of the two, you probably share more microbes with your dog than with your kids.

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  2. Newly Discovered Microorganisms Named After Cthulhu

    A pair of microbes that help termites digest wood have been identified by researchers at the University of British Columbia. While finding new forms of life is always cool, this one probably wouldn't have caught our eyes if not for one thing -- the researchers who discovered the symbiotic microbes have named them after dread Cthulhu, and therefore earned our undying respect.

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  3. Russian Scientists Claim New Kind of Bacterial Life Found in Lake Vostok

    Russian researchers working on samples from Lake Vostok -- a subglacial lake in Antarctica sealed away for eons by more than two miles of ice -- say they have found signs of a wholly new kind of bacterial life in water samples taken from the lake. It's a pretty impressive claim, if true, and one could quiet concerns raised late last year the lake may have been entirely devoid of life -- not to mention meaning new chapters in microbiology textbooks. Now we just have to wait and see if this bold announcement holds water.

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  4. First Signs of Life Seen in Subglacial Antarctic Lake

    A team of American researchers at Lake Whillans in Antarctica have discovered the first signs of microbial life deep below the surface of the ice. The evidence hasn't been officially declared to be life, but the team says it looks promising. It has passed initial tests, and is undergoing more scrutiny before the researchers can really pop the champagne and start high-fiving each other. It's too early to know if the microbes are the frozen alien parasite from the X-Files episode "Ice," but time will tell.

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  5. The Oldest Life on Earth Still Dominates at This German Cold Spring

    Do you want to get a glimpse of the life that dominated Earth during prehistoric times without being menaced by hyper-intelligent raptors? A German cold spring with a unique environment can offer you a look back into our planet's past, to a time when simple life forms known as archaea made the rules. Granted, it's not exactly Jurassic Park.  You'll need a high powered microscope just to see these prehistoric creatures, and they're not exactly as exciting to watch as a triceratops. Then again, they're also not going to try to murder and eat you, proving once again that life is a series of compromises leading inexorably to bitter disappointment. As if there were any doubt.

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  6. First Clean Water Sample Retrieved From Antarctic Lake Sealed by Ice for Eons

    After years of failure, a team of Russian researchers and engineers working in Antarctica have succeeded in taking a clean sample of water from Lake Vostok, a liquid water lake sealed beneath two miles of ice sheets at the bottom of the world. Scientists hope that this first untainted sample of the water -- which has been largely untouched by the outside world since prehistory -- will provide them with new insights into some of Earth's earliest lifeforms.

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  7. The Littlest Extinction: Amazon Deforestation Wipes Out Microbial Communities, Too

    Deforestation can wipe out trees and cause habitat loss that leads to the extinction of animals like birds and mammals. Some of the impacts of massive, sudden tree loss in places like the Amazon, though, may have been too small to notice until now. Reporting this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international team of researchers found that deforestation can profoundly change the makeup of bacteria in soil, wiping out microbial communities that help to make ecosystems unique.

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  8. Lake Vostok Devoid Of Microbes, Bad News For Prospect Of Life Elsewhere In Solar System

    Earlier this year, a team of Russian-led engineers and researchers drilled a hole into the Earth, breaking into Lake Vostok, a liquid water lake sealed beneath the ice of Antarctica for nearly 15 million years. They were looking for signs of life in the lake -- microbes that might offer clues to what sort of creatures we could expect to run into on icy moons elsewhere in the solar system, like Saturn's satellite Europa. This week, the first analyses of water samples from the lake are in, and they're pretty disheartening. Lake Vostok appears to be devoid of microbial life.

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  9. Data On English Channel Microbes Turned Into Music Is Totally Beautiful

    A researcher at Argonne National Laboratory is apparently just as sick of bar graphs as we are. Unlike us, though, Peter Larsen has the ability to do something about it. Rather than put together one more set of nicely labelled axes and set it adrift to be forever ignored, Larsen transformed a truly burly amount of data on the life cycles, locations, and concentrations of microbes living in the English Channel into jazz inspired musical numbers. The results are really wonderful, and you should go listen to them, like, right now.

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  10. Iron “Blueberries” on Mars Could Be Clues To Ancient Microbial Life

    The above picture may not look like much, but it could be a huge deal. The photograph, taken by the Opportunity Rover at Mars' Cape York site, shows iron spherules that researchers commonly refer to as "blueberries." Similar formations are found here on Earth. The catch is that, here, they are formed with help from microbial organisms, suggesting that these unassuming iron marbles could be a telltale sign of ancient life on the red planet.

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