Thursday, April 24, 2008

Galaxies in our Biology Books & The Cosmic Food Chain

Galaxies are Living Things Too

One of the things I find most fascinating about the interstellar realm is how much its nature can mirror a single living organism on Earth. For one could maintain that galaxies qualify, even in a biologist terms, as living things.

Galaxies are born, and move and grow, and eat, and excrete, and reproduce, and attain a level of homeostasis, evolve, and inevitably die.

So why don't we see galaxies in our biology books? Just because they are not made of organic cells?

Some definitions of life include viruses and they are acellular. Plus, viruses don't metabolize either. Perhaps then, someday, we will see galaxies in 10th grade biology textbooks.

We are Not Alone

Nevertheless, doesn't this reclassification of taxonomy have the potential to drastically alter our self-perceptions as individuals as well as a species?

Don't we become the ants and the galaxies the humans when we examine the cosmos in this fashion?

And furthermore, don't we answer one of the most insatiable and fundamental questions to ever exist: Are we alone?

For if we consider galaxies to be living things, then not only are we sure we're not alone anymore, but we know that we actually live within, on, and amongst billions of other living things.

Cosmic Cannibals

Some evidence toward this theory is that galaxies eat.

Did you know that our cosmic crib, the Milky Way, is eating another galaxy as we speak, churning up its stars and dust and gases, making itself full with delicious space objects and accessing the energy within them, as say, me with pizza?

If you really think about it, this means we live amidst, or more accurately, inside the belly of a cannibal. In fact, the final frontier is really just a cannibal's firepit.

Top of the Food Chain?

That said, where on the cosmic food chain are we exactly?

According to, "it looks as if our Milky Way will be subsumed into its giant neighbour, the Andromeda galaxy, resulting in an elliptical galaxy, dubbed 'Milkomeda,' the new home for the Earth, the Sun and the rest of the Solar System in about two billion years time. The two galaxies are currently rushing towards each other at approximately 500,000 kilometres per hour."1

Therefore, interestingly, when viewing galaxies as living systems, not only are humans removed from the top of the biological food chain, but so is the galaxy in which we reside.

Note: I understand that this post is a stretch and may anger biologists as well as astrophysicists, but as a curious person I found this supposition way too interesting and metaphorically rich to not at least purpose in non-technical terms to whoever may stumble upon my blog.


Magma Sloth said...

I've been really interested in the concept of our universe being an incomprehensibly small portion of a larger organism. Our stars just atomic nuclei surrounded with obedient subatomic planets orbiting to create a , our star clusters acting as molecules and proteins. Nebulae are simply organelles floating in a cosmic soup of "biodiversity", all trying their hardest to unintentionally keep the galaxy alive, which in itself is a single-celled organism swimming around in a cesspool of galactic life-forms. All of these galaxies collide to feed off of star energy like a herbivore, tear into passing galaxies like a carnivore, or even consume dust, weaving matter into nebulae as an evolutionary measure so a self-sustaining galaxy can produce plenty of stars on its own, allowing it to travel longer distances without starvation. Zoom out of this galactic ecosystem to find all of these superclusters fractalizing into web-like patterns, very much like the neurons in our brain, and quite possibly acting as an organic super-computer for some extra-dimensional organism existing far beyond the scope of our current imagination; for now...

Magma Sloth said...

whoops, I meant to say "Our stars just atomic nuclei surrounded with obedient subatomic planets orbiting to create an atomic cloud, or an oort field."