• by Adam Rutherford

    It’s 40 years since Richard Dawkins suggested, in the opening words of The Selfish Gene, that, were an alien to visit Earth, the question it would pose to judge our intellectual maturity wa […]

    • Mr. Rutherford says, “. . . a metabolism of sorts must have preceded the establishment of the first selfish gene, and some of us now think that it might have occurred deep in the geological crannies in the ocean floors some 4bn years ago.”

      A few decades ago I recall reading a story about a deep cave system that was found to have a small ecosystem built around an acidic liquid that was described as having a low pH similar to that of a stomach. Various microorganisms, tiny animals, and insects lived in the cave, adding to the “stomach’s” complexity.

      By chance does anyone have a clue to share about the cave system, or something like it? I’d like to reread the article.

    • Indiana University

      Title: These bacteria use radiated water as food.

      “Thursday, Oct. 19, 2006
      BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Researchers from Indiana University Bloomington and eight collaborating institutions report in this week’s Science a self-sustaining community of bacteria that live in rocks 2.8 kilometers below Earth’s surface. Think that’s weird? The bacteria rely on radioactive uranium to convert water molecules to useable energy. . . .” (Retrieved 5/31/16 from