In recent decades, deep sea researchers have upended our notions of what can survive at some of the deepest submerged places on Earth, revealing that a panoply of life thrives around seafloor vents and elsewhere in the depths. So we probably shouldn't be surprised that researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have found giant amoebas living at unprecedented depths in the far reaches of the Mariana Trench. What is surprising is that these single-celled organisms are four inches across.
Xenophyophores are single-celled animals that live exclusively in deep-sea habitats, but they've never been seen in areas this deep before--some 6.6 miles beneath the surface in an area known as the Sirena Deep of the Mariana Trench (which is the deepest region on the planet). The previous depth record for xenophyophores was 4.7 miles.
The researchers found the xenophyophores after deploying untethered free-falling/ascending landers into the Sirena Deep. These landers are basically thick-walled glass spheres capable of sustaining eight tons per square inch of pressure. That tells you something about what the conditions are like down there. The fact that there's a single-celled organism that often measures more than four inches across--that's four inches per cell--is pretty remarkable.
What's more, xenophyophores are known to be hosts for a variety of other life forms. That is, where xenophyophores collect there usually turns out to be a pretty diverse ecosystem thriving alongside them. Knowing that, it's probably unsurprising then that the Scripps team helped yet another species log a new record while its submersibles where down in the Sirena Deep. The dropcams also spied the deepest jellyfish observed to date living down there among the xenophyophores. The more we poke around in one of the harshest environments on the planet, the more we find that it's a really busy place.
So...what your saying is if these turned into multi cell organism they would BE HUGE
wow... now are these truly single cell organisms, or do they simply look like them. they could be multicellular organisms, but structured as a single cell.
why learn from your own mistakes, when you could learn from the mistakes of others?
“The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible” -Albert Ein
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Single cell is pretty definitive. I'm sure they mean actual single-celled organism stretching four inches across.
Aren't eggs also technically considered single cells? Ostrich eggs are single cells that are the size of cantaloupes, so there's definitely precedence for this type of thing.
how do they taste? like chicken?
Eggs are only large because they have such large vacuoles to hold the energy required to create a multiple-cellular organism eventually capable of finding it's own food. This case is a permanently single-felled amoeba acquiring food for itself in order to perform its regular functionalities--a feat which, given it's surface area to volume ratio, is very impressive.
I DO NOT LIKE THE SOUND OF GLASS CRACKING.... that deeply, yikes!
So could this be a very old species? Kind of how the Coelacanth is still alive. Especially since its single celled and, unusually large.
@Matt5327: Apologies. I was not trying to downplay the significance of this discovery, but rather I was trying to say that there exists precedence for very large cells.
reminds me of that one movie The Abyss. these are aliens.
The people of the world only divide into two kinds, One sort with brains who hold no religion, The other with religion and no brain.
- Abu-al-Ala al-Marri
Lets hope so, would be interesting :P
This is great, I'd love to dissect one of those...