Presence of the Past

Symbiosis is the prolonged physical association of two or more different kinds of organisms. Endosymbiosis involves one life-form actually living inside another, often in a long lasting merger. Symbiogenesis, the source of true evolutionary novelty, occurs when the mergers of independent organisms actually form composites. A totally new kind of being may then evolve.

All life-forms (with the exception of bacteria which makes them) are consortia. Our cells are the result of millions of years of mergers, the outcome of once free-living bacteria that came together in permanent relationships.

We are all chimera, composites of many life-forms and many mergers. Identity is less an object than a process. We all envelop traces of bygone beings.

Images of Earth from the Moon vibrantly convey the life of the planet. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

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