Sometimes, our houses can feel like anything but a home. There are times when things get a little too messy to handle, like when your kids refuse to clean their room or when your husband refuses to do the dishes while you’re on vacation. It’s enough to make you want to invest in a hazmat suit. How can some people be able okay existing in those kinds of conditions?
Apparently, that’s nothing compared to these places on our planet that are literally uninhabitable, yet still thriving with life. Wow.
1.) The Arctic and Antarctic
Temperatures in the Antarctic can reach as low as -40 Fahrenheit for months at a time. You would think this would be dire news to the warm blooded emperor penguins residing there, but the flightless birds survive by slowing down their metabolic rate and cuddling it up with each other to share the warmth.
2.) Death Valley National Park
You wouldn’t think fish would like to hang out in the lowest, hottest, driest area of the United States, but you’d be wrong. Several species of pupfish survived the drying up of lakes 10,000 years ago and are now stuck in the springs, marshes and underground aquafier under Devil’s Hole. They currently only have a population of 38 and are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
3.) Acidic Mine Drainage
In the 1800s, California’s Iron Mountain was a popular mining source for those looking for gold, silver, copper and other minerals. The process exposed the surrounding environment to sulfides with acidic levels of battery acid and chock full of heavy metals like arsenic. But it’s the perfect setting for microbes who float along the lakes of pink acid, some of them eating the iron and creating an even more acidic level that erodes the fool’s gold in the area.
4.) The Earth’s Stratosphere
When massive dust storms stir things up, sometimes microbes hitch along for the ride. Some of them end up resting about 60,000 feet above our planet where you’ll be able to find bacteria, fungi and viruses.
5.) Below The Freezing Point
There are some spiders and insects who produce an anti-freeze that keep their bodies from succumbing to the temperatures. Other animals, like frogs, newts and turtles, do actually freeze in these climates — but they are able to control exactly which part of their bodies cool down. As for mammals, the arctic ground squirrel is able to withstand temperatures as low as 27 degrees Fahrenheit.
6.) Yellowstone National Park’s Hot Springs
With temperatures close to boiling point and acid levels that can dissolve fingernails, it’s the perfect environment for heat-loving microbes like Thermus aquaticus bacteria. Along with other microbes present throughout the springs, they produce gorgeous pigments of vibrant color.
7.) In Total Isolation
At the bottom of a two-mile deep South African goldmine, scientists discovered a species called Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator which thrives in the 140 degrees Fahrenheit environment, creates its own nitrogen, and consumed sulfates in complete isolation.
8.) The Galapagos Islands
Charles Darwin came to the island for his research due to its inhospitable nature making it easier to observe the evolution occurring. None of the lifeforms currently on the island were indigenous, all of them either flew in, road a wave, floated on some vegetation or were brought in by humans to colonize.
9.) Super, Super Old Ages
When bacteria gets stressed out, it forms little shelled nuggets known as spores which can survive for a very long time under extreme conditions. So long, in fact, that in the mid-1990s scientists claimed to find some 25 million year old specimens in the stomach of a bee which had been incased in amber and an even older case finding 250 million year old spores in salt crystals.
10.) Deep Sea Vents
Completely void of sunlight, these deep see dwellings still somehow make cozy home for complex ecosystems. Lifeforms were first discovered in 1977 and hundreds of others have since been found in these areas were tectonic plates have separated.
You probably don’t want microbes living with you, though, so you should probably still get your family to clean the house every now and then.