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THE LIVING LABORATORY | page 2
Lieutenant Gustavus C. Doane, commander for the military escort of the 1870 Washburn expedition, described Yellowstone as “probably the greatest laboratory that nature furnishes on the surface of the globe.”
The park’s endless supply of riddles has attracted scientists since its inception. Although early scientific expeditions used wooden boats and compasses, while modern researchers employ remote operated vehicles and GPS, both have focused on solving scientific mysteries in this vast living laboratory.
Yellowstone's hydrothermal areas offer a “window into the earth.” Scientific studies here examine the forces that shape our planet—and support worldwide efforts to monitor and predict earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Microbial life in Yellowstone's thermal waters has also drawn international attention. Heat-loving microorganisms have expanded our understanding of biodiversity and the range of environments that permit life on Earth. They offer a link to Earth's earliest life forms, provide new technologies for medical and environmental research, and may offer clues to finding life on other planets.
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