Archive for February 27th, 2010

Avatar type organism found on Earth

February 27, 2010

I absolutely loved the movie Avatar!

It was interesting to see all of the science involved. Like the fact that every living organism on Pandora is bioluminescent, meaning it can produce light. Bioluminescence is also seen on Earth, with fireflies and sea algae, among others.

In the movie Avatar, the Na’vi people of Pandora also plug themselves into a network that links all elements of the biosphere, from phosphorescent plants to pterodactyl-like birds. It turns out that Pandora’s interconnected ecosystem may have a parallel back on Earth: sulphur-eating bacteria that live in muddy sediments beneath the sea floor.

Some researchers believe that bacteria in ocean sediments are connected by a network of microbial nanowires. These fine protein filaments could shuttle electrons back and forth, allowing communities of bacteria to act as one super-organism. Scientists have found tantalising evidence to support this controversial theory.

The discovery has been almost magic. It goes against everything we have learned so far. Micro-organisms can live in electric symbiosis across great distances. Our understanding of what their life is like, what they can and can’t do – these are all things we have to think of in a different way now. Read more here, here or here. Or read more about the Science behind the movie Avatar here or here.