Earth’s first lifeforms breathed arsenic, not oxygen

The microbes that eventually produced the planet's oxygen had to breathe something, after all.

Credit: BRONWYN GUDGEON/Shutterstock
  • We owe the Earth's oxygen to ancient microbes that photosynthesized and released it into the world's oceans.
  • A long-standing question has been: Before oxygen, what did they breathe?
  • The discovery of microbes living in a hostile early-Earth-like environment may provide the answer.
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Animal magnetism: Bacteria may help creatures sense Earth's magnetic fields

An intriguing theory explains animals' magnetic sense.

Credit: PedroNevesDesign/designer_an/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • Some animals can navigate via magnetism, though scientists aren't sure how.
  • Research shows that some of these animals contain magnetotactic bacteria.
  • These bacteria align themselves along the magnetic field's grid lines.
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Does warm weather impact COVID-19?

Various studies examine the impact of humidity, temperature, rain, and sunshine on COVID-19.

  • Researchers around the world have been working to analyze and understand this virus since the global pandemic started earlier this year.
  • While the first SARS-CoV virus (2003) did not circulate long enough for researchers to distinguish any specific seasonal pattern, daily weather did have an impact on the number of cases.
  • Other studies from China, Australia, Brazil, and the UK take a look at how our weather can impact the transmission of COVID-19.
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Did life on Earth start in space? Study finds evidence of panspermia

A new study shows bacteria could survive travel from Earth to Mars.

Credit: Pixabay / Dr. Michael Daly.
  • Japanese scientists find Deinococcus radiodurans bacteria can survive for up to 8 years in space.
  • The researchers studied the bacteria when it was attached to the International Space Station.
  • The results confirm the possibility of panspermia, that life can be spread in space by traveling microbes.
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    Meet antivitamins. They may replace your antibiotics one day

    German researchers have just solved the mystery of how these substances work.

    • As pathogens' resistance grows, scientists are searching for a class of drugs that could replace antibiotics.
    • Antivitamins that switch off vitamins in bacteria are being investigated.
    • Scientists have been struggling to understand how naturally occurring antivitamins do what they do.

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