Extreme Life Thrives Everywhere on Earth

At one time, scientists were surprised to discover microbes living in places that were thought to be uninhabitable. That doesn't happen anymore, because scientists know life can thrive almost anywhere on earth.
After 3 billion years of evolution, life has flowed into every last nook and cranny, from the bottom of the sea to the upper edge of the stratosphere. From blazing heat and freezing cold to pure acidity and atomic bomb-caliber radiation, there’s seemingly no stress so great that some bug can’t handle it.

This gallery highlights a few particularly tough species of bacteria and archaea, a lesser-appreciated but equally-vast branch of the organismal tree. Until the late 1970s, archaea was lumped in with bacteria, a confusion that speaks to the embryonic state of human microbial knowledge. Less than 1 percent of Earth’s microorganisms have been identified, and most of those won’t even grow in a lab.

Shown is Ferroplasma acidophilum, which can survive in an environment with a ph of zero, meaning it thrives in toxic waste. Link

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