Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Creature Linking Plants And Animals

Plants are plants and animals are animals, the twine shall never merge, right?

Not so fast!

How about a creature which is part animal and part plant? For many years, scientists have been studying a green slug, which lives between the two worlds.

The slugs feast on algae. However, instead of digesting the whole algae the slugs retain and store the chloroplasts in their own bodies. This enables them to directly convert sun light into energy, as most plants do, through the process known as photosynthesis, and survive without any food for very long time.

The slug is known by its biological name, Elysia chlorotica. Sidney Pierce, a biologist at the University of South Florida in Tampa has been studying them for nearly twenty years. He presented his study on Jan 7, at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, creating a new interest in this unique animal.

During the early part of Christianity, there was no war between science and religion. Saint Augustine believed, the religious texts are allegorical and they must be interpreted anew with the latest scientific discoveries.

In the 17th century, RenĂ© Descartes made his famous assertion, “cogito ergo sum,” which translates, “I think, therefore I am.” Since that time, the world was firmly divided between living and non living.

In the 20th century science has been moving away from the Newtonian world and steadily hammering the Cartesian Partition and punching hole in it. In 1925, Heisenberg shattered the Cartesian partition with his Uncertainty Principle in quantum mechanics. Yet, in the 21st century we are witnessing a return to fundamentalism in many religious groups with new war ensuing between Evolution theory and Creationism.

Maybe, some could argue, that Elysia chlorotica can help society understand Theory of Evolution and begin a new cooperation between religion and science.

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