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Bear with me, 0 mystery of existence, as I pluck the occasional thread from your train.

— Wislawa Szymborska, from her poem, "Under One Small Star"

(PD) Image: Ernst Haeckel
Buzz of Life: One aspect of the interrelations among living entities. Researchers begin to understand the mechanisms governing the complex network interactions between plants and pollinators, such as hummingbirds, shown in this illustration from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur (1904).[1]

Throughout history, we humans devoted much thought, speculation, debate, and research in an attempt to explain the fundamental nature of living systems and to explain their origin and biodiversity — in short, in an attempt to define life.

The typical form of the question asked: "What Is Life?"

At any given time in history, the prevailing answers to that perennial question depended on the prevailing extent of human knowledge, and to the cultural interpretations given that knowledge, including those arising from belief systems based on myth and religion-inspired faith. At this writing, in mid-second decade of the 21st century, that still remains the case.[2]


  1. From: Robinson R. (2007) Both barriers and trait complementarity govern pollination network structure. PLoS Biol 5(2):e54.
  2. Keller EF. (2002) Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors, and Machines. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 067400468. | Google Books preview.