There have been recent efforts by various teams of researchers to find out how many of the thousands of prehistoric and ancient organisms are still alive today.
The subject of their research varies greatly, from analyzing tooth enamel from fossil teeth, to analyzing proteins from specimens as old as 40 million years old. While a lot of progress has been made lately with respect to how we look for, and find, fossils, and with the ability of computers to store and retrieve vast amounts of information, there is still a long way to go when it comes to discovering the actual survival rate of these organisms.
One of the teams that has been researching this question, and attempting to use modern technology, is the Museum of paleontology at London’s Natural History Museum. Their recent press release states: “We’ve discovered an astonishing array of fossils in two types of rocks. The fossils were previously thought to be beyond recognition. They reveal a previously unknown planet in our Solar System which has oceans, rivers and seas – as well as dinosaurs.”
One of the reasons that scientists are so optimistic about these latest finds is because of what they are beginning to learn about the development and life cycles of these ancient organisms. The scientists have learned that these organisms were much more robust than previously believed. In fact, some of them are so robust that they can survive in extreme cold temperatures. Another exciting discovery is that some of these organisms actually outlived their hosts, the dinosaurs. This tells us that the dinosaurs were no slouch when it came to eating their prey.
The problem is that getting life forms to remain alive underwater is difficult. In order for them to stay alive long enough to be studied, the samples must be kept very cold. The water must remain at a freezing temperature or the sample will not survive long enough for scientists to get valuable data. However, the latest samples have had a high survival rate and researchers have been very impressed.
One of the most intriguing things about these bacteria is that they belong to an ancient organism group called cyanbacteria. The most common prehistoric specimen of this ancient group was a greenish-black stain found on fossilized eggshells. With the latest samples, scientists have been able to identify iron-oxide-based compounds that are a signature of this ancient organism.
It is likely that these bacteria provided the food needed to fuel the early Earth creatures. Evidence of these ancient organisms continues to grow all over the world. Unfortunately, the evidence of these organisms is mostly ruined. That is why new techniques have been introduced to preserve the evidence of ancient bacteria and other organisms in the hope that someday, someone will come up with a sample that can be examined and revealed.
Researches are currently underway to look for fossils in India that may represent the oldest known bacteria. There is even research being done to determine how planktonic bacteria first appeared on Earth. The hunt for ancient organisms is a fascinating one. The bottom line is that we are learning more about the Earth every day. As we learn more, we begin to realize that the Earth is much more complex than we once thought.
We know that the Earth had life on it long before the birth of mankind. Through several experimental techniques, we have discovered that ancient organisms existed on the planet long before we even knew they existed. Through hypothesis and DNA analyses, we are discovering new species all the time. One day, we may know the true story of the origins of life on Earth. Until then, we can rely on the evidence that has been gathered by modern scientists to satisfy our curiosity about the ancient organisms and their effect on our lives.
Provided by Antonio Westley
Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.