These Archaea species live in extreme heat near deep sea vents.
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Image courtesy of NOAA
A Matter of Scale - interactive showing the sizes of things, from very tiny to huge - from NSF
Rock Eating Bacteria Found at the Bottom of the Sea
Archaea are microbes. Most live in extreme environments.
Some love the heat! They like to live in boiling water, like the geysers of Yellowstone Park, and inside volcanoes. They would probably freeze to death at ordinary room temperature. Other Archaea love to live in very salty environments. They are able to survive in these extreme places where other organisms cannot. Other Archaea species live in ordinary temperatures and salinities. Some even live in your guts!
Archaea was originally thought to be just like bacteria, but it is a very different and much simpler form of life. Archaea may be the oldest form of life on Earth.
Planets which contain an environment wherein archaea might survive include Venus, the past environment of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Jupiter's moon Io.
Last modified April 29, 2004 by Lisa Gardiner.
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