Here’s a Thought…

“If some rogue virus wiped out every single mammal on the planet, life on earth would proceed, largely unaffected by the loss. But if the bacteria disappeared overnight, all life on the planet would be extinguished within a matter of years.” – Steven Johson, The Ghost Map

If you are a mammal reading this, it doesn’t do much for your ego, does it? We mammals don’t like being slighted like that, do we?

In the sentence preceding the above quote, Johnson says:

“Most of [the] recycling work, in both remote tropical rain forests and urban centers, takes place at the microbial level. Without the bacteria-driven processes of decomposition, the earth would have been overrun by offal and carcasses eons ago, and the life-sustaining envelope of the earth’s atmosphere would be closer to the uninhabitable, acidic surface of Venus.”

That would be offal of awful proportions indeed!

E coli
E coli at 10,000x -Click Me!

I love the word “microbial.” It’s stately in a primitive, possibly primordial, way.

“My, Crobial… How thou hast existed from eons past! How thou wilt triumph for eons to come! How thou ruleth over the self-important, self-aware, hot-blooded mammals! Without thee, oh, Crobial, they are mere mountains of carcasses, so much offal offered up to unstoppable Evolution!”

I just made the mammals feel worse, didn’t I? I’m sorry. It is rather humbling to know that we mammals could not exist without the plethora of microorganisms that surround us, live on us, live in us. It’s also humbling to know that if a rogue virus does wipe us all out one day, the microbes will clean up our remains, recycle us, and thrive. Something to look forward to.

Carry on, mammals!

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