Monday, January 15, 2007

New Marine Life Form

Yet another example of how much more we have to discover about the natural world - an entirely new branch of the evolutionary tree has been discovered in the Artic Ocean. This is not just a new species, but a lineage of life that has never been seen before - the picobiliphytes.

Superficially these new organisms are very small algae, but their DNA suggest that they are as different from other algae as land plants are from animals. It's exact place on the tree of life and how this discovery may help us learn more about evolution (of eukaryotes in particular) are yet to be determined. Once again, we can see how the the study of biology is constantly pushing forward - just how thick will the AP textbook be 15 years from now?!?!

New Form of Life

(thanks to my wife for bringing this discovery to my attention!)


Spielah said...

I can't get enough of this marine biology news. Picobiliphytes are so awesome. The fact that if we find a way to grow them in mass quantities we can actually use them commercially. I never knew that some underwater algae was used for pigment in make-up either. Pretty weird that when a girl puts make-up on her face to cover up a blemish it's phytoplankton and underwater algae's pigments that are doing the covering up. It would be so crazy if they had some major biological significance towards the evolution of eukaryotes. It is almost too hard to believe that after so many years that we have billions of things to still find out there

Amy said...

Yes.. but I don't think the biology text books are going to get thicker.. remember how students used to memorize the names of what each codon created? As we learn more about biology, older information seems to become less important, and tends to be presented in compacter terms- so really, advancements in biology just mean a trade of knowledge from old to new for students.

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