Olivia Judson has a new piece on archaea, those strange life forms that can adapt to the harshest conditions on earth. I've read a number of other articles on the subject but most of them had an empty calorie quality, heavy on the gee-whiz and light on the substance. But Judson focuses on the good stuff. How do archaea differ from other life? What do we know or suspect about their evolution? Why have they been so difficult to study?
This is not an isolated case. I have often looked at the topic of one of Judson's pieces and thought "Not that again," but I always felt I owed her an apology by the time I got to the end.
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