Scientists have discovered new forms of life that defy previous classification. Finding them sheds new light on everything we know about Earth’s biology.
I guess each of us remembers from school the division of earthly life into five kingdoms and viruses. However, it turns out that it is wrong – or even not so much “wrong” as “incomplete”. A team of American biologists led by Ivan N. Zheludev found life forms with characteristics similar to virusesbut they differ enough from them that, according to scientists, they deserve a separate classification.
Obelisks – mysterious forms of life in the human body
Researchers proposed the name “obelisks” for the newly discovered objects. What we are dealing with here is structures made of RNA with a simple, symmetrical structure. What distinguishes them from viruses is their much simpler structure and the lack of a protein coat. The genetic code of each obelisk consists of approximately 1,000 nucleotides, so it contains a very modest amount of information. At the same time, researchers approximately 30,000 different varieties of this type of objects were identified, by examining the microbiome of the human digestive system.
Currently, the new discovery raises more questions than answers for scientists, including: related to the development and reproduction of obelisks. However, there are many indications that they may contain answers to questions about the development of life on Earth, in particular how more complex forms such as viruses and bacteria evolved.