French scientists say they’ve found the world’s largest virus. Relax, it lives deep in the water and doesn’t pose a threat to humans.
French scientists say they’ve found the world’s largest virus, which they’ve appropriately dubbed Pandoravirus.
Relax, it lives deep in the water and doesn’t pose a threat to humans.
It does, however, put into question the entire current conception of the origins of life on our planet.
It’s thought to have emerged from a cellular type that no longer exists. The cell of origin could have even come from Mars. Says one of its discoverers, "At this point we cannot actually disprove or disregard this type of extreme scenario."
How the virus has out survived all known others of its kind could be attributed to its mass. Amoebas looking for lunch could easily mistake it for bacteria and end up becoming infected.
So how huge is huge? The specimen measures 1 micrometer, which makes it 1000 times the size of the common flu virus.
For comparison, a standard piece of copy paper is just under 100 micrometers thick.
The new virus was found off the shore of Las Cruces, Chile, with another one later found in Melbourne Australia pond so they appear to like both fresh and salt water.