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Is a New Species Living Without Oxygen a Preview of ET Lifeforms?

A newly identified species, a loriciferan identified as a species of the genus Spinoloricus discovered by Roberto Danovaro at the Polytechnic University of Marche in Ancona, Italy last year may provide a preview of future discoveries of alien lifeforms.

“The discovery of these life forms opens new perspectives for the study of metazoan life in habitats lacking molecular oxygen,” wrote Danovaro, a marine biologist.

Electron microscopy revealed the three new species of loriciferans, resembling jellyfish sprouting from a conical shell, that lack mitochondria, the energy-making organelles or components in our cells that allow us to generate energy from oxygen among other functions. Instead, they possess large numbers of organelles resembling hydrogenosomes — anaerobic forms of mitochondria — that were previously seen in single-celled organisms inhabiting zero-oxygen environments.

 

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