http://www.myspace.com/acorvettes Caves have human and economic value for recreation, mining, and other activities. For scientists, however, caves are valuable because they offer a unique habitat for rare forms of life. The study of these cave-dwellers has contributed to our knowledge of biological adaptation and evolution. In addition, medical researchers have cultured hundreds of cave-dwelling organisms to test their ability to combat diseases, including cancer and malaria.
In Wyoming's Kane Cave, scientists have begun to unravel a mystery that may have consequences in the debate about whether life can exist on other planets. Certain microbes that inhabit the inner recesses of this cave system survive in conditions that humans and most other organisms would find inhospitable, even deadly. These extremophiles — organisms that live in conditions outside a normal range — live mostly off simple inorganic chemical compounds such as iron and sulfur.
Appears on these pages
" 'Extremophiles' are microorganisms with the ability to thrive in extreme environments such as...