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Unique Microbes Discovered in the Black Sea Which Link All Life Together

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

An exciting discovery that links all life together

By Krystal Khali Sept 2020 for Penn State University

In a groundbreaking finding from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research on September 17, 2020, published on, unique microbes have been discovered in the Black Sea. These remarkable microbes, known as "Unique Microbes Discovered in the Black Sea Which Link All Life Together," could hold the key to understanding how all multicellular life on Earth originated from the fusion of just two unicellular ancestors. This discovery highlights the profound interconnectedness of all life forms and offers valuable insights into the evolutionary history of our planet.

The current scientific debate that complex, multicellular organisms (including humans) evolved millions of years ago when bacteria symbiotically invaded another single celled organism, such as an archaea, may finally have solid proof. The hypothesis has not been completely solidified as of yet because of a gap in the timeline that the idea suggests: there was no hard evidence of a time period on earth where the bacteria and the other single celled organism started this supposed relationship. Whenever an evolutionary event takes place, there is usually a transition period, since evolution doesn’t happen overnight or in one giant leap.

A research team working in the Black Sea may have helped answer one of the most pressing questions in science today by finding what are called mixed-membrane single celled organisms. These organisms delineate a genetic lineage which incorporated both bacterial cell membranes and archaeal cell membranes. Since the only way multi-cellular organisms could have come into existence by bacteria invading archaea is if there was a time where one or both could have made their membranes permeable, this discovery could close the timeline gap.


Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research. (2020, September 17). Discovery of microbes with mixed membranes sheds new light on early evolution of life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2020 from

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