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Earth in a pair of hands

If I placed before you an atom with one proton and one electron, you would be forced to admit it was a hydrogen atom. One proton paired with one electron is hydrogen. It can’t be helium, or lithium, or anything else.

Nothing like this occurs in biology. The way life thrives on Earth is by breaking rules; it must by definition defy definitions. Divisions in biology are drawn by humans, reflect the desires and biases of the person holding the pencil, and inevitably become so unclear as to not exist at all. This has been a guiding instinct for Massive’s editorial team, and if you are ever confused or disoriented by some new discovery in biology, this way of looking at the world might help.

It’s almost passé at this point, like an annoying friend who keeps talking about yesterday’s news, to point out that “species,” as a concept, don’t really exist. There are upwards of two dozen different ways to define what any group of organisms constitutes a species. None are any better than the other,  especially for... see more