Deep-sea microbe could answer one of evolution’s biggest mysteries


The microbe was collected from deep sea sediments

The microbe was collected from deep sea sediments

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN/GETTY IMAGES

A single-celled organism found off the coast of Japan could offer us a glimpse of one of our most distant ancestors. The microbe may explain one of the great mysteries of evolutionary history: the origin of the complex cells that make up organisms like plants and humans.

“This is a very influential and monumental paper,” says Thijs Ettema of Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

For much ofEarth’s history, the onlyliving thingswere single-celled organisms like bacteria. However, today the planet is also home to …

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