Forget the preppers, the only survivors of the final apocalypse are going to be microbes per this report from BBC News:
The last surviving creatures on Earth will be tiny organisms living deep underground, according to scientists.
Researchers used a computer model to assess our planet’s fate billions of years from now.
They found that as the Sun becomes hotter and brighter, only microbes would be able cope with the extreme conditions that the solar changes would bring.
The research is being presented at the National Astronomy Meeting.
Jack O’Malley James, from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, said: “There won’t be very much oxygen present, so they need to be able to survive in low or zero-oxygen environments, high pressures, and high salinities because of evaporating oceans.”
The future of life on Earth is tied to that of the Sun, and over time, our star will become more and more luminous.
Scientists from the universities of St Andrews, Dundee and Edinburgh used this fact to create a forecast for our planet’s future environment.
In a billion years’ time, the heat from the Sun will become so intense, that the oceans start to evaporate.
Extremophiles are found in hostile environments such as the Geyser Basin region of Yellowstone Park
“Once you get to this tipping point, you get a lot more water in the atmosphere and because water vapour is a greenhouse gas, that sets this runaway greenhouse effect… and you end up with the Earth heating up to 100C or more plus what we experience today,” explained Mr O’Malley James, a PhD student.
This, he said, combined with falling levels of oxygen, would lead to the rapid loss of plants and larger animals.
Soon after, a group of microbes called extremophiles would be the only life forms left…
[continues at BBC News]