Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution

By Lynn Margulis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
SYMBIOSIS EVERYWHERE

A Bee his burnished Carriage
Drove boldly to a Rose -
Combinedly alighting -
Himself — ( 1339)

Symbiosis, the system in which members of different species live in physical contact, strikes us as an arcane concept and a specialized biological term. This is because of our lack of awareness of its prevalence. Not only are our guts and eyelashes festooned with bacterial and animal symbionts, but if you look at your backyard or community park, symbionts are not obvious but they are omnipresent. Clover and vetch, common weeds, have little balls on their roots. These are the nitrogen-fixing bacteria that are essential for healthy growth in nitrogen-poor soil. Then take the trees, the maple, oak, and hickory. As many as three hundred different fungal symbionts, the mycorrhizae we notice as mushrooms, are entwined in their roots. Or look at a dog, who usually fails to notice the symbiotic worms in his gut. We are symbionts on a symbiotic planet, and if we care to, we can find symbiosis everywhere. Physical contact is a nonnegotiable requisite for many differing kinds of life.

-5-

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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 1 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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