Pink Lake Mystery Solved! | Summary and Q&A

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March 11, 2016
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Pink Lake Mystery Solved!

TL;DR

Researchers have identified various salt-loving microbes, including algae, archaea, and bacteria, in Australia's Lake Hillier. A study suggests that early humans evolved smaller, less powerful jaws due to their consumption of meat and the use of stone tools.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What types of microbes are found in Lake Hillier?

Lake Hillier is home to algae, archaea, and bacteria, including the pigment-producing algae Dunaliella salina and the bacteria Salinibacter ruber, contributing to the pink color of the water.

Q: Why was the presence of Dechloromonas aromatica in Lake Hillier unexpected?

Dechloromonas aromatica is usually found in environments contaminated by chemical solvents. Its presence in Lake Hillier suggests that the lake was used as a tanning station in the past.

Q: How did researchers study the evolution of the human jaw?

Researchers fed subjects different types of foods, including meat and vegetables, in various forms to simulate the diet of early humans. They found that meat and certain food processing methods made chewing easier, potentially leading to the evolution of smaller jaws.

Q: How did the consumption of meat and the use of stone tools contribute to the evolution of the human jaw?

Early humans, specifically Homo erectus, evolved smaller jaws because the consumption of meat required less effort for chewing compared to vegetables. The use of stone tools, such as slicing and pounding, also made it easier to chew food.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Lake Hillier in Australia is home to a diverse microbiome, including algae, archaea, and bacteria, contributing to its pink hue.

  • The presence of a bacteria known as Dechloromonas aromatica in Lake Hillier suggests its past use as a tanning station.

  • The evolution of the human jaw can be attributed to the consumption of meat and the use of stone tools.

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