The Biodiversity of the Universe – 2018 edition

I am fully aware that life as we know it, as it is manifested on Earth, is by far represented by microorganisms. Bacteria and related organisms are the ones that really rule our planet. This is just a fact.

May I tell you a secret, though? I like multicellular organisms, particularly animals, so much better!

Now please don’t get me wrong, all life is majestic (yes, plants and microbes too). We still don’t know what life is; we do not have a definition that satisfies everyone, that is part of its majesty. All forms of life are mysterious.

However, it is a safe bet that if you like nature and science, your interest started with animals. You may have (as I used to do as a boy) just take long walks and see some nature firsthand, go to a small lake or stream and see the little critters that make childhood so precious. Alternatively, you may have learned about nature through books. Oh brother, paleontology books, those were the best! I don’t know about you, but they kindled my imagination. I thought a lot about dinosaurs of course; who does not like T. rexes (at least in theory and from a distance)?

How about nature documentaries? Not the ones like “Finding Bigfoot”, as much as I’d like them to exist too, which according to the best data is really, **and I mean really**, unlikely, but the documentaries that showed animals that we will surely not encounter in our daily lives…

Sometimes I get nostalgic of the things that I never saw, I get nostalgic of all the things that I will never see. I know this statement does not make much sense, but it is how I feel. I want to see life in all its majesty. I really do, from what makes it tick all the way to behavior.

I want to know how dinosaurs *really* looked like. I want to see (again, from a very safe place) a saber tooth tiger. I want to see a prehistoric planarian, I want to see a Neanderthal (they were humans, you know…), I want to see… all.

Also, please remember that most of the life that ever regaled our planet with its presence is not around anymore, not even in fossil form. There are forms of life that we will never, ever know anything about… (:-(…

And, how about all life that likely existed and may still exist on other worlds? I know that many before me have said this and many after me will say it, but just think:

…about the 100-300 billion stars in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, alone.
…that we know that many, and I mean many stars have planets; I won’t even do the math.
…of the 100-200 billion galaxies in the observable universe.
…about the distinct possibility that ours is just one universe out of many.

Can we even imagine the ***TRUE*** biodiversity of the (multi?) universe?

Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? This is one of the thoughts that make me wish will all my heart that there is a higher power that would answer all my questions. My religious/spiritual longings or lack of thereof are explained elsewhere. I will not talk about them here, except to say that if I ever meet “The Big Guy” I will ask oh so many questions! I will ask to see all life, I will ask… If it is possible to annoy God, I will be the guy!

In the words of someone who loved nature as much as I do, I want to see life in all its majestic “…endless forms, most beautiful…


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