When Nature Declares War for its Survival


Photo via: kaibara87

When nature sets its mind to survive, it does so in a variety of means. Adaptation, however, is one of its primary weapons. Natures adaptability is all around us, whether we choose to take notice or not. If anything is going to see the world through another thousand years, it will be the adaptability of the organism. We have seen glimmers of this adaptability in recent news, such as the Spruce tree which became lodged in a man's lungs, surprising both scientists and medical doctors. Amazing, yes, but surprising, no!
Organisms have survived this long in the world because of their ability to adapt to tougher and tougher conditions. Could a tree that was born thousands of years ago survive the pollution in the world today? Could a tree thousands of years ago had the ability to adapt itself inside another organism and find a way to sprout and grow without any form of sunlight?

Life Found Within the Antarctic Glaciers
Recent scientific research has also uncovered a microorganism surviving deep within the glaciers of Antarctica for millions of years. Antarctica was not always what it is today. It was once a thriving area filled with warmth, water, and sunlight. In time, conditions changed, the land froze over and the organisms of which had grown accustom to the area the way it was, died off... or so we thought.

They are called Mikucki's microbes, named after Jill Mikucki, a microbiologist from Dartmouth. They were discovered while doing random testing of water within the glaciers, located at a point known as Blood Falls. The team expected to find sterile water within the glaciers falls, considering the iced underworld is deprived of sunlight (photosynthesis), oxygen, and warmth for the most part. But what they found instead, was life. A very primitive form of life.

Spruce Tree Found Within Human Lung Tissue
The Mikucki microbe has been able to survive all these years under the ice without photosynthesis by adapting itself to absorb energy through the rich supplies of sulfur and iron found within the glacier. Possibly a similar (albeit more far out) means of survival was used by the 5 centimeter long tree found living and growing within a 28 year old Russian man in recent news.

The man was a smoker, so the carbon and moisture within the lungs must have provided somewhat of a welcome atmosphere to the seedling, but none-the-less, this also shows the amazing adaptive nature of the tree. We'll know more how this phenomenon was possible as researchers take a close look at the 5 centimeter tree, which is still attached to the portion of the lung removed during biopsy.

All this should be a reminder for us of the extreme adaptability of nature when put to the test. It is comforting to know that not only are we trying to fight for nature, but nature is fighting for its own right to survive... and in most cases, doing a damn good job of it! Can you think of any other current phenomenon where nature has adapted itself and overcame some pretty low odds?

More on adaptive survival
Green Glossary: Adaptive Reuse
Human Adaptation to Climate Change Aids Mosquito Spread
Climate Change Adaptation: Businesses Already On Point; Is Government Capable Of Long-Range Planning And Budgeting?

Tags: Antarctica | Evolution | Extinction

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