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Re: Mice given bat-like forelimbs through gene switch

--- John Wilkins <john@wilkins.id.au> wrote:

> On 21/01/2008, at 4:55 PM, Jura wrote:
> >> Jura wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >>> Technically bacteria and viruses are not
> >> organisms, as
> >>> they are only single celled.
> >>
> > --- Tim Williams <twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> >> I don't know where you got this from, but it is
> >> simply not true.  Bacteria are certainly
> organisms.
> >> They are single-celled organisms.  So are
> archaea.
> >> Many eukaryotes are single-celled too, especially
> >> those critters historically known as "protists"
> or
> >> "protozoans".
> >
> > ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> >
> > Not to be rude, but this is taught in biology 101
> (and
> > anatomy 101). An organism is a collection of organ
> > systems, which in turn are a collection of tissues
> > that are in themselves, a collection of cells.
> >
> Not to be rude, but that is codwallop. An organism
> is typically any  
> free living, and occasionally not, cell or group of
> cells that is  
> coherently organised and has both metabolic and
> reproductive  
> functions. Viruses? Happy to say they are not
> organisms, but *any*  
> cell that functions singly is an organism.

What you are describing is life. Life forms and
organisms are not one and the same (despite the
prevalence of its use for everything including
viruses). The latter is a "higher" level of
organization of the former. 


> You might like to read the now classic book:
> Buss, Leo W. 1987. The evolution of individuality.
> Princeton, N.J.:  
> Princeton University Press.
> Apart from the fact that what you say evidences
> extremely poor sources  
> (your Biology 101 teachers if they are responsible
> for it) this is a  
> well understood convention. You are going against
> 200 years of  
> biological practice here.


This has nothing to do with biology teachers. This is
what is written in all the textbooks. Now I realize,
as many others have, that textbooks aren't exactly
renowned for their stunning accuracy, but this is
quite literally the first thing that these books talk
about. This usually pops up in the first couple pages
of the first chapter. If this really was an erroneous
statement, then I believe it would have been caught
and fixed in the textbooks long before I was born.


"I am impressed by the fact that we know less about many modern [reptile] types 
than we do of many fossil groups." - Alfred S. Romer

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