Scientists have discovered a giant eyelash that is the size of a human eyelash.

Jean-Marie Volland of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Laboratory for Research in Complex Systems says that the new find is the largest of its kind. Thebacteria are 5000 times larger than mostbacteria

He said that it was the same for humans to encounter another human who was as tall as Mount Everest.

According to a report in the journal Science, the giant attached itself to the leaves in the mangrove swamps.

The scientist had no idea that he had found a new type ofbacteria that was visible to the eye.

They did not have key features of plant or animal cells, and a genetic analysis revealed their true nature. They are related to otherbacteria that grow large, but not this one.

The lifestyle of Thiomargarita magnifica, which has yet to be grown in the lab, is shrouded in mystery.

In addition to challenging old ideas, each of thesebacteria organizes its guts in an advanced way.

Instead of allowing genetic material to float around freely, these beings wrap it up and keep it inside a package. This is similar to what happens in cells that make up plants and animals.

Volland cautions that this doesn't mean these are some kind of missing link between simpler forms of life and more complex ones, saying it's just a fascinating example of a bacterium that has evolved a higher level of complexity.

Thijs Ettema is a microbiologist who was not part of the research team.

The researchers have identified a monster. The work shows that the world is still amazed by it.

Petra Anne Levin of Washington University in St Louis, who wrote a commentary accompanying the new report, said that thesebacteria can't be called microbes because they're not a big deal.

The long, filament-like creatures seem to reproduce by budding off one small piece at the tip that can then float away and create a whole new being.

Even though these organisms are so big that hundreds of thousands of smallerbacteria could fit on their outside surfaces, researchers found that these surfaces look pristine, suggesting that thesebacteria might use antibiotics to ward off smaller relatives.

Shailesh Date of the University of California, San Francisco and the Laboratory for Research in Complex Systems says that finding this bacterium has opened their eyes to the unexplored microbial diversity. Who knows what interesting things we have yet to discover.