Who knows? That wacky moss may offer clues how to freeze and revive people (outside of Futurama, that is). Some form of cold sleep is one way humanity might someday colonize the stars.
This moss can claim credit for persistence -- but persistence is a quite different concept than eco-friendly. As an instance of persistent, eco-unfriendly life, consider that a "Methane-spewing microbe blamed in Earth's worst mass extinction." It is at least plausible that:
A microbe that spewed humongous amounts of methane into Earth's atmosphere triggered a global catastrophe 252 million years ago that wiped out upwards of 90 percent of marine species and 70 percent of land vertebrates.
(For those of you keeping score at home, this was the Permian / Cretaceous Extinction Event. By comparison, the Cretaceous / Tertiary Extinction Event that did in the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago was benign.)
|Fine feathered fiends?|
Not only extinction events shaped the biodiversity we see all around us. More than one evolutionary path sometimes exists (or, at the least, once existed) to key biological functions. From " 'Aliens of sea' provide new insight into evolution," a case in point:
|A comb jelly|
Comb jellies, it turns out, are a very early form of animal life. Before sponges first appeared -- sans neurons -- comb jellies had a nervous system.
And speaking of the nervous system (with an excursion into physics, a major interest of mine), "Nanoparticles open a new window into the brain."
Researchers at Stanford University in the US have developed the first non-invasive imaging technique that can detect micron-sized structures within blood vessels in the brains of mice. The method involves detecting near-infrared fluorescent light from single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) that are injected into the mice. The ability to monitor the structure of blood vessels – and the blood flow within them – is extremely important for treating conditions such as strokes, dementia and brain tumours.
Did you catch non-invasive in that quote? At such time as anyone has a reason to peer inside my brain, high on my list of questions is "Will it be non-invasive?" (Here's hoping that reason is the shiny new computer/brain interface I've long wanted and recently wrote about.)
In order to persist, this biological entity requires sustenance. Till next time ...