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Oxygen-Free Animals

April 26, 2010

Scientists have discovered animals that can survive in the absence of oxygen.

Transcript

Oxygen-free animals…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Biologists used to think that multicellular life could only survive in the presence of oxygen. But now scientists from the Polytechnic University of Marche in Italy report that they’ve discovered tiny animals living in a completely oxygen-free environment deep in the Mediterranean Sea. Ecologist Antonio Pusceddu led the team.

ANTONIO PUSCEDDU (Polytechnic University of Marche):
This is the first animal that is able to live without oxygen that has been ever found on our planet.

HIRSHON:
He adds that creatures like this may have been plentiful hundreds of millions of years ago when the oceans contained very little oxygen. He says the discovery will change how we search for life on other planets.

PUSCEDDU:
The take home message is that life can exist wherever, even in absence of oxygen, so we could expect that life could arrange itself and survive everywhere in the universe.

HIRSHON:
I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.