Eye of Science / Photo Researchers, Inc.
"The general character and structure of the rod-like individuals, together with their vegetative multiplication by fission, renders their schizomycetous nature as individuals a matter hardly to be doubted: but, on the other hand, the question may fairly be asked whether the remarkable phenomena may not indicate a possible relationship in other directions."
--Roland Thaxter, 1892
While walking through the New England woods one day in the late 19th century, Harvard microbiologist Roland Thaxter came across a bright orange, fungi-like growth unlike any organism he had ever seen. He took some of the mysterious organic matter back to his laboratory. Over the next two years, Thaxter collected and cultivated several more samples of this peculiar new organism, which he named Myxobacteriaceae. Characterized by an unusually complex life history for a bacterium, involving the formation of an elaborate, macroscopic fruiting body, Thaxter...