The article by Leslie Kaufman discussed how there are attempts in some dairy farms in the US to change the diet of cows to reduce their methane output. The methane is a strong greenhouse gas and in total cows make a surprisingly large global contribution to greenhouse gases. The article states:
Cows have digestive bacteria in their stomachs that cause them to belch methane, the second-most-significant heat-trapping emission associated with global warming after carbon dioxide.Alas, this is not correct. Yes, bacteria in the cow rumen contribute to the production of methane. But they do not make the methane. The methane is made by archaea (for those not in the know, archaea are a distinct group of organisms relative to bacteria - they resemble bacteria in many ways but are a separate branch on the tree of life). For those of us who study archaea this is a major slight. A diss. A taunt. A sad day. And all those other things. Not sure how we archaea fans will have our revenge but I swear we will. Too bad Carl Zimmer does not think that this is important enough to go on one of his newspaper fact chekcing investigations.