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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oxygen free life discovered

A team of Italian scientists have found the first animals that can survive and reproduce entirely without oxygen.

I would have expected these to be in some oceanic trench but as it was they were found on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea.

The creatures are from the Loricifera group and were in the sediment of the Mediterranean's L'Atalante basin. The basin is 124 miles off of the western coast of Crete, is about 2.2 miles deep and is almost entirely depleted of oxygen, or anoxic.

The team found three species of living animals in the so called dead zone, two of these contained eggs.

It wasn't possible to extract the animals alive in order to show that they could live without oxygen, however, the team was able to incubate the eggs in anoxic conditions aboard on the ship. The eggs hatched successfully in a completely oxygen-free environment.

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