Science News article: Cave bacteria resistant to antibiotics

bacteria that have been cut off from the surface for millions of years found to be resistant to antibiotics

– Science News ( <—-link to article.)  What an amazing picture!  This article from the current issue of Science News explains the seemingly unlikely occurrence  that bacteria living in isolated caves would evolve with resistance to man-made antibiotics.  This type of article would be useful in demonstrating the subtleties of evolution that are often misunderstood and as a way to emphasize the differences between bacterial modes of living and organismal modes of living. For example, comparing and contrasting the rate of bacterial reproduction with organismal reproduction to understand how bacteria can quickly become better adapted to their environment, or to extreem environments.

Another aspect this article could be used to address is  a frequent misunderstanding that I think is perpetuated in  general public discussions of evolution, which is that bacteria are “less evolved” and humans are “more evolved,” this article provides a prime opportunity to address this common misconception.  My intention (or hope?) is that the vivid imagery and the “puzzle” behind how isolated cave bacteria could have evolved in manner that would suggest they had been engaged in coevolution with man-made antibiotics will lure students in and allow them the opportunity to formulate their own ideas, utilizing previous knowledge,  about how/why this antibiotic resistance may have occurred.


One thought on “Science News article: Cave bacteria resistant to antibiotics

  1. Angie, I love how eye-catching that picture is! I really enjoy interesting articles like this that shed some light on the process of evolution and how organisms like bacteria can develop resistance to a man made antibiotic. I feel like so much of evolution is based on previous encounters with the topic, and if students only have experience dealing with their parents or other people who may not believe the way science explains evolution then we do have some misunderstandings. I’m sure Kaitlin would know more on the subject considering she did her Inquiry Project on this topic, but I have always been of the belief that it is necessary to understand how scientists think about the topic, not necessarily believe it. I don’t want to tell anyone what to believe, but they should be able to communicate it within the filed of science.

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