June 15, 2015
The mysterious and diverse world of bacteria just got its very own expansion pack. A total of 35 new groups, or phyla, of bacteria have been discovered in groundwater in Rifle, Colorado. The finding will likely add a bunch of new species to the tree of life — species that are quite different from other bacteria, scientists note. But here's what's really remarkable: the number of new bacterial groups is almost the same as the number of known animal phyla on Earth. We were always outnumbered, but you still might want to let the magnitude of this discovery sink in.