The Web of Life | Science & Biology Podcasts

Podcast Excerpt: We live in a world of life. Much of it we can see with the unaided eye, but beyond the range of our natural vision there is a realm of nature in which life still fulfills itself. In a drop of river-water or a speck of road-dust, the microscope reveals to us life in myriad forms, each distinct, but sharing in the one great principle which animates all living things. Every one of these infinitesimal creatures fills a niche of its own in the Universe.

One may sit for hours at a time with an eye riveted to the tube of an ultra-microscope in a maze of wonder, watching the dance of life performed by the teeming bacteria present in a minute drop of water from a stagnant pool. The field of vision is thronged by an innumerable multitude of actively moving, infinitely little living things.

Some are engaged in a rhythmic dance, scarcely moving from their position. Others dart like some torpedo-craft across the field of vision, and pass out of sight. Others move with more leisurely progression like some sight-seer in an historic town; others again, with sinuous movement, ominous of evil purpose, bore their slow way across the visual field; and now and then (lit up by the reflected light, and all aglow like some barbaric princess loaded with precious stones), there swims into our ken a veritable queen of bacterial life. Royally she moves; and, as one wonders, she is gone.

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