Evolution in the tub (and cave, at that)

Two science articles that caught my eye today (and yesterday): First the finding of unknown species in a cave that appears to have been sealed off for over 5 million years and may as well contain ancient lifeforms that appear to have continued evolving all these years without any light.

The other article is the one over at USAToday, about evolution in a yoghurt tub: The main bacteria (Lactobacillus bulgaricus) that creates that lovely stuff (selflink) is apparently on the brink of specializing itself to a ‘happy life’ in fermented milk alone, meaning that it is (genetically) distancing itself from its (natural) relatives. This is good for humans, but (as the article states, from an evolutionary point) it leaves no doubt that this new bacteria would probably not survive in ‘the wild’, or rather, would not survive without the help of humans.

  • Bonus link with action shot of L. Bulgaricus. Safe for work.
  • Yoghurt at Wikipedia (in case you forgot)
  • I also remember that my mom-in-law used to have a couple of tools to make home-made yoghurt. I can imagine that you need a ‘yoghurt starter’, in the form of ‘live bacteria’ (that sounds like a paradox). Which reminds me of the amazing stuff Paul did, making his own sourdough bread using plain starters. Mmm-bacteria.
  • Related: Cream cheese madness.

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