Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution

By Lynn Margulis | Go to book overview

PROLOGUE

Time does go on -
I tell it gay to those who suffer now -
They shall survive -
There is a sun -
They don't believe it now — (1121)

Emily Dickinson*

Mom, what does the Gaia idea have to do with your symbiotic theory?" asked my son Zach after he came home from work one day.No longer an aspiring politician, now a disillusioned seventeen-year-old aide to a legislator at the State House in Boston, he had just returned home from an exhausting attempt to draft old-people's-home legislation for one of his two absentee bosses.

"Nothing," I immediately responded, "or at least nothing as far as I'm aware." I have been pondering his question ever since.The book you hold in your hands attempts to provide the answer. The two major scientific ideas that I have worked on all my professional life, serial endosymbiosis theory (SET) and Gaia, and the relation of one to the other, form its central theme.

Zach's question, how symbiosis jibes with Gaia, was neatly answered by a wisecrack of a wonderful former stu

____________________
*
All chapter epigraphs are quotations from my neighbor Emily Dickinson ( 1830-1886); numbered in T. H. Johnson, editor, The Complete Book of Poems of Emily Dickinson, (Little Brown and Company, 1955). She talks to us throughout this book in her usual germane style.Acknowledgments are in note 4, p. 133.

-i-

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Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Symbiotic Planet - A New Look at Evolution *
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vi
  • Prologue i
  • Chapter I Symbiosis Everywhere 5
  • Chapter 2 Against Orthodoxy 13
  • Chapter 3 Individuality by Incorporation 33
  • Chapter 4 the Name of the Vine 51
  • Chapter 5 Life from Scum 69
  • Chapter 6 Sex Legacy 87
  • Chapter 7 Ashore 105
  • Chapter 8 Gaia 113
  • Appendix: Major Kinds of Life 129
  • Notes 131
  • Index 137
  • About the Author 147
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