The Web of Life (25) Life’s Diversity

Life’s Diversity

Species in natural communities are interconnected. ~ American environmental biologist Saran Twombly

The heritage of life is astoundingly rich in variety; a testament to Nature’s fondness for diversity and the ready versatility of adaptability. There are at least a billion distinct microbes – a number historically underestimated.

A conservative estimate of extant multicellular species is 8.7 million; some 90% of them undiscovered by humans. For multicellular eukaryotes over the course of the planet’s history, the number of species is easily 1,000 times that of those living today.

The great Tree of Life, with its ever-branching and beautiful ramifications. ~ Charles Darwin

From antiquity, the concept of a tree of life has been used in every realm of conceptualization: from mythology, religion, and natural philosophy to evolutionary biology.

The tree of life is one of the most important organizing principles in biology. ~ American planetary scientist Jill Banfield