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The globalization of plants, animals, bacteria, parasites, humans The globalization of plants, animals, bacteria, parasites, humans
by Joseph Gatt
2020-06-29 08:23:03
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The last few years I read quite a few books about human and biological evolution. One thing that surprises me is how evolutionary biologists often omit planet Earth geographical factors from their study of evolution.

That is, when evolutionary biologists study the “inception of life” or the first life forms that emerged on Earth (in the form of cells, so they claim), they often picture (and make the reader picture) planet Earth as a swimming pool or small pond where the first cells emerged. It is up to the imagination of the reader to picture that small pool or pond expand to take the size, shape and form of today's planet.

plabu001_400The Earth's total surface is 501 square kilometers. To put things in perspective, the surface of the United States is 9 million square kilometers, so Earth is 50 times the size of the United States, or the United States represents a little less than 2% of the surface of planet Earth. A small pond would be a few hundred square meters, and yet that's where a lot of evolutionary biologists implicitly imply that the planet's first life forms took shape.

Ever since I started discussing evolutionary biology, I always thought that life forms emerged on different parts of planet Earth at different times. The planet has only had its current form in the last 23 million years or so, and the shapes, forms and sizes of the oceans and continents evolved over the planet's 6 billion or so year life span.

So, to sketch things a bit, you had cell forms that emerged on the shores of Malaysia, cell forms that emerged on the shores of Peru, cell forms that emerged on the shores of Senegal and so on. Those cells took different forms, shapes and sizes depending on the continent they evolved in.

Plants tend to be very different when you move from one geographic area to another, and are a testimony of how biological evolution took different shapes depending on the geographic zones they evolved in. You don't find the same plants in Asia than those found in Latin America and so on.

Animals are a little different. Animals’ travels around, walk around, fly around, and over millions of years, if they were skilled at destroying their enemies, or destroying those who wanted to destroy them, they survived and populated the planet. Climatic factors are also important, and some animal species might have ventured from warmer to cooler areas where they did not survive, or from cooler to warmer areas where they did not survive.

Humans of course fit into the animal category, and a lot of human communities were able to settle around the world, adapt, and fight all those enemies who wanted to fight them.

Now there are two categories of plants. There are those plants whose reproduction cycles we humans know of, and whose cultivation we have mastered. Those plants were able to cross borders, and you can now plant tomatoes in Jamaica, in Israel, in Sweden or in Nepal.

Then there are those plants whose cultivation we have not mastered, and there are thousands of plant species whose properties we do not know of, millions of other plant species whose existence we do not know of.

Then humans were able to create “formulas” by mixing different soils, plants, gases, liquids, and other chemical materials to create chemical formulas that help us clean, kill bacteria, or help engines run, help machines run or build tools and so on.

Finally, there are the bacteria and parasites. If you go to your backyard and pick a plot of land, there are thousands of parasites and bacteria whose existence is unique to that plot of land you just picked up, and that does not exist anywhere else.

Our human immune system has two functions: it can combat bacteria known to the body, and can also combat bacterial forms that are unknown to the body.

Now until 2000 years ago, most life forms were confined to certain geographic locations and moved slowly around geographic locations, before, over the span of 2000 years, with humans inventing ships and faster means of transportation such as carts pulled by horses, life forms started migrating from one area to another.

A select group of life forms gained “universality” if you will and are present on all 5 continents. Tomatoes and potatoes could be one example, cats and dogs another, humans of course are a good example.

In sum, I tend to disagree with those biologists who believe that somewhere in a pond one cell emerged and that single cell evolved to every single life form we have on Earth. My theory would be that there were cells in the Atlantic, cells in the Pacific and cells in the Indian ocean (or in different parts of what Alfred Wegener calls “Thalassa”) that evolved to be different plants, animals and of course humans.

And there are new cells forming every day, and thousands of parasites, bacteria and smaller insect and animal species disappear every day. Species' extinction is not something new or specific to 2020, and has always existed. What is different today is that humans are trying to save a select group of animals (usually larger ones) from extinction, while others are poaching a select group of animals (usually larger ones) into extinction.

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