DailyDirt: Really Old Biology
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
So far, we only know about our own biosphere -- and we don't even know that much about it. People have tried (and have not really succeeded) to re-create an artificial biosphere that could include humans in the mix. It turns out that while life is pretty resilient, it's also somewhat narrowly adapted to certain environmental conditions. There's still a lot of biological history that we might learn from -- if we're going to understand how our modern genes were developed and what conditions they can continue to adapt to. So here are a few historically-interesting biological tidbits.
Some 34,000-year-old bacteria have been found in suspended animation -- trapped in a salt crystal. When 34,000 years old you are, look as good, you will not. [url] During the Archaean eon, it looks like the Earth's atmosphere had increasing oxygen levels -- and a huge growth of new kinds of bacteria. It's actually pretty neat what we can learn about the biosphere a couple billion years ago by just looking at modern DNA samples. [url] Mrs. T is the first discovered female pterodactyl, confirming that the male pterodactyls had large head crests. And Mr. T pities the fool who thought the female pterodactyls were the ones who had the head crests. [url] A 30,000-year-old pinkie bone from a little girl has DNA that suggests there's another link in the chain of human ancestors. Or it could be another branch on our family tree.... Either way, someday she'll be cloned, and we'll see what she looked like. [url]