Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution

By Lynn Margulis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
INDIVIDUALITY BY INCORPORATION

Low at my problem bending,
Another problem comes -
Larger than mine Serener -
Involving statelier sums (69)

Symbiosis, the term coined by the German botanist Anton deBary in 1873, is the living together of very different kinds of organisms; deBary actually defined it as the "living together of differently named organisms." In certain cases cohabitation, long-term living, results in symbiogenesis: the appearance of new bodies, new organs, new species.In short, I believe that most evolutionary novelty arose, and still arises, directly from symbiosis. This is not the popular idea of the basis of evolutionary change in most textbooks.

Symbiogenesis, an idea proposed by its Russian inventor Konstantin Merezhkovsky ( 1855-1921), refers to the formation of new organs and organisms through symbiotic mergers.As I will show it is a fundamental fact of evolution. All organisms large enough for us to see are composed of once‐ independent microbes, teamed up to become larger wholes. As they merged, many lost what we in retrospect recognize as their former individuality.

-33-

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