21 March 2015

An unreliable map

Leeuwenhoek observed an astonishing proliferation of tiny animals "incredibly small; nay, so small, in my sight, that I judged that even if 100 of these very wee animals lay stretched out one against another, they could not reach the length of a grain of course sand; and if this be true, then ten hundred thousand of these living creatures could scarce equal the bulk of a course grain of sand."

...We have at best an unreliable map of the land that enchanted Leeuwenhoek. We should rejoice and explore.
from The unseen world: reflections on Leeuwenhoek (1677) by Nick Lane

Image is a tree of life by Bill Martin, 1998

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