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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Carl Woese Died a Year Ago...

Posted by on Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 8:33 AM

...And he died almost exactly a year after the death of another important 20th century biologist, Lynn Margulis. Woese and Margulis transformed my entire view of life. Reading their works was like discovering a new planet and even a new poetry. Just listen to Woese:

If you wiped out all multi-cellular life forms off the face of the earth, microbial life might shift a tiny bit... If microbial life were to disappear, that would be it–instant death for the planet...
You will completely miss my reason for loathing The Tree of Life if you are cold to this deeper and truer kind of understanding. Even Plato could get the tired ideas in that lazy film but never the thinking in the page of Symbiotic Planet.


Comments (3) RSS

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derrickito 1
Valar morghulis
Posted by derrickito on January 9, 2014 at 9:00 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 2
I don't care about your reason for loathing The Tree of Life, Charles. Just stop talking about it. It's been a while since you last posted a photo of an attractive, scantily-clad woman, you know...
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 9, 2014 at 9:13 AM · Report this
venomlash 3
In fairness, exterminating the multicellular ecosystem would actually provoke fairly drastic changes in many microclimates.
Without bioturbation by worms, for example, pretty much all sediments would be less aerated and more compacted. The removal of oxygen-producing plants and oxygen-consuming animals and fungi would muck up a lot of redox chemistry on which many prokaryotes depend. Many microbes depend on larger organisms for transport or sustenance as well. We need them more than they need us, but it's not wholly one-sided.
Posted by venomlash on January 9, 2014 at 9:25 AM · Report this

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