Nearly every organism on Earth lives with the help of oxygen in some way, either by consuming it or producing it. That was the reason everyone was shocked when the first oxygen-free animals were found deep in the Mediterranean Sea.
While some bacteria and other simple organisms can live without oxygen, the phenomenon was unheard of among complex, multicellular animals.
The newly discovered creatures are from the Loricifera phylum, a class of tiny animals that once used to live on oxygen but eventually adapted to the new environment when oxygen levels dropped and were replaced by salts.
No complex organism has previously been known to live in oxygen-free environments, and we have no idea about their evolutionary history. More research could offer us a look into marine life before the oceans had any oxygen, some 600 million years ago.
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