First Oxygen-Free Animal Discovered

Apr 8, 2010
Outside Magazine

In a startling discovery, scientists havestumbled upon the first animal that can survive without oxygen, a featthat until now was thought only possible in bacteria, according to This has a number ofimplications: both regarding the possibility that life may yet adapt tomore severe conditions on earth, and on whether life is possible onother oxygen-free planets. The new species of Loriciferan, named Spinoloricus Cinzia after the wife of the scientist who discovered it, looks like a tiny jellyfish in a protective shell and measuresaround a single millimeter. With oxygen-deprived areas expanding due to global warming and nitrogen-rich sewage being dumped along coastlines, sea life may be adapting to survive without it. The scientists say that it could also help them betterunderstand the possibilities of life existing on other planets withradically different atmospheres.

Read about another unique saltwater creature in It's Hard Out Here For a Shrimp from our July 2006 issue.

--Stayton Bonner

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