Updated: Dec 30, 2020
Do you hear it? That faint, high-pitched echo that drifts upon the wind, reminding you of the sweet melody of chimes, or perhaps a flute? What about that distant rumble that permeates the earth beneath your feet, yet sounds like no machine you've heard before? Or the horn-like call of some mysterious beast that fills the air with an ancient presence; a life of billions of years and endless experience that you can only begin to imagine?
Those are the cries of birds, whales, dinosaurs, and countless other organisms who have lived and died and evolved in a never-ending circle of life. Spores borne by the wind finally fall upon the forest floor, the embryos of microscopic organisms that we call mycorrhizae fungi. As they grow, they take up inanimate material and energy around them and turn it into life-sustaining nutrition. Not only do they provide for themselves, but also for their partners millions of times bigger than them; their hosts who feed off the light of the sun. And in that light the hosts make the energy to grow their own precious offspring, whom they encapsulate in thick, juicy flesh for protection, or to attract the animals that will ingest and carry their seeds to horizons beyond. Those seeds grow and make ever larger and more beautiful the forest that they call home. They, too, nourish and protect their own offspring. Under the shadow of one sits a hungry animal; a strange creature with eyes that peer deeper into the forest than those of any other animal. You take the fruit of the tree that shades you and indulge in its sweet deliciousness.
Centuries later, the tree dies, and its wooden flesh becomes part of the soil from whence it came. Organisms too small for you to see nourish themselves on the remains, thus creating life from death, so that their offspring can partake in symbiosis with another tree. And the cycle continues.
This cycle has been going on for ages long before the first man walked upon the Earth. Around 3.5 billion years ago - or a few thousand years ago, according to some - your infinitely-great grandmother was born. She was but a single cell, a mere capsule of complex chemical reactions with the sole purpose of replicating a well-protected code of more information than you could learn from a thousand encyclopedias. She was the zygote of what would become the greatest organism known to man. Of her own accord she perpetuated her own existence. She split in half to make two cells. And the two split to become four. And four became eight, and eight became sixteen...
3.5 billion years later, and her cells number more than the stars of the universe. Some of them remain single, while others come together to create living beings much like her, living and growing in almost the same way. For they, like her, begin as a single cell. Like her, they reproduce into trillions of cells. And like the cells of her body, they interact in complex ways we are only just beginning to understand to survive the ecosystem that is a multicellular organism.
One day, two of her cells joined together to become one. In a dark, warm, and silent home, nourished by the ecosystems that had borne the it, the zygote split into two. And the two split into four. And four became eight, and eight became sixteen...
Nine months later, a new cellular system was born to partake in the circle of life that for so long sustained the global organism; an organism that is right now aware of this unnatural thing called the internet...
Welcome to Terra, which you may better know as Earth.
And welcome to Biospheres, brought to you by CytoLuminescent, where you can learn and explore all that is alive on this planet and possibly others as well.
Are you ready to travel the Biosphere?