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SCIENCE: Is This “Hairy Ogre” Microbe A Whole New Branch on the Tree of Life?

Hairy Ogre Microbe

Who needs aliens when there are bizarre life forms still to be discovered in Canada? Scientists recently detected two previously unknown species of microbes in a Canadian dirt sample, and the specimens were so unusual that the researchers had to reorganize the tree of life to make room for them. The microbes, also known as protists, belong to a group with the tongue-twisting name hemimastigotes, and the first-ever genetic analysis of these peculiar microorganisms revealed that they were even stranger than anyone suspected. Hemimastigotes, first observed in the 1800s, were previously classified as a phylum within a much larger group … Read more