A human has something like ten times as many bacteria in its body than it
does cells with human DNA. Pretty much all life forms are in fact complex
multi-species ecosystems that by and large have evolved to work together in
ways we hardly understand. To give some perspective I've read there are
something like fifty species of microorganisms that specialize just on the
highly specialized niche of living on human tooth enamel. That's just our
teeth! We haven't even gotten to the gum lines (which are a veritable jungle
thriving with microbial life) and the gut, which is microbial central. We
are sieves and the world flows through our bodies; we are walking, talking
ecosystems.. And so is every other living thing, that we can see. Even
bacteria have bacteriophages.
Even within a single cell; mitochondria carry their own DNA and it could be
argued the modern cell is the fruit of an ancient union of previously
different life forms in the distant origins of emergent life.
Are we organisms; or ecosystems?
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