First look at the manuscript

So the text below is the result of several rounds of revisions.  I’ve since made a few more changes, but I thought it would be a good place to start.  I haven’t done any copy editing yet, but if you have any suggestions or criticisms about the concepts involved, I’d love to hear them!  If you know of any early earth geologists or evolutionary biologists, please ask them to give this a look, as I would particularly like the input of professional scientists.

It’s Alive!
The Universe Verse: Book 2

The universe started out tiny and dense,
made out of energy truly intense,
it expanded and cooled, becoming immense,
it’s continued to grow and to cool ever hence.

And then it began to get really weird,
as fundamental forces just up and appeared.

Then quickly the quarks, the first particle bits,
made out of light, in a bright blinding blitz;
then hadrons and atoms in a flurry of fits.

They build into stars, their centers ignite,
as particle parts turned back into light.

Atoms will fuse, stars explode and reform,
new stars pull together, old atoms rewarm.

And some of those stars in the more recent ages,
made the first planets in their formative stages.

When heavier atoms are involved, it appears,
stars can support small orbiting spheres.

Heavy atoms are ejected, they go speeding round,
where they get collected, in the orbit they’ve found.
By gravity connected, to their star they stay bound.

These atoms were fused when old stars could assist ‘em.
Then the gravity of new stars was able to enlist ‘em,
in creating new structures we call solar systems.

Not all stars have planets, they’re relatively rare.
But there’s so many stars, so we need not despair.
There’s billions of stars, so there’s planets to spare.

But start judging planets for livable worth,
and soon you will see, there’s a pretty grim dearth.
But we know there was one star able to birth,
the right sort of planet, and that planet is Earth.

Our Earth is a planet with features worth flaunting,
with all the right things to make creatures worth wanting.

It’s in perfect place, with the just-right position,
to catch just enough of our sun’s light emission.
It’s got the right atoms, and the correct conditions,
so atoms can build into forms of nutrition.

But at first the Earth was ugly and mean.
It was nothing compared with today’s lively scene.
Nothing was living, not one measly bean.

In fact, the surface was too hot to walk,
because early Earth was all molten rock.

Over time, as it cooled, things began to adjust,
and slowly our planet grew a thin solid crust.

The next thing Earth lacked, which it had to develop,
was atmospheric gas to protect and envelop.

Gas came to the surface from the inside out,
as volcanoes erupted with many a spout,
while gravity kept this gas hanging about.

Here atoms combine by their chemical rules,
producing combinations we call molecules,
like water, the simplest of life making tools.

As the Earth cooled, it started to rain,
icy space comets added more water gain.
The land became flooded, with nowhere to drain.

Until we arrived at the fantastic new notion,
that Earth would be covered with a low lying ocean.
A fertile pot of primordial potion.

This powerful puddle is a very special place,
as it was the beginning of the whole human race.

Plus all of the animals, bacteria and plants,
we all started here by the seat of our pants!

All life began here, but the question is how?
if you’re willing to listen, I’ll tell you right now.

First let’s define what it means to be alive,
As it’s the only way we will ever arrive
at an answer that logic and reason derive.

So:
Life must reproduce, and work to survive.

But self-reproduction all alone’s not enough,
as it only makes more of just the same stuff.

In order to create life, we need small variation,
when a reproducer makes the next generation.

Mistakes let life break the status quo curse,
allowing populations to become more diverse.

“Okay,” you may say, “that’s enough yappin,’’
now I know what we need, but how did it happen?”

Well somewhere there were atoms, in aquatic suspension,
combining to make molecules without least apprehension,
in countless combinations too many to mention.

With a good bit of help from some source of heat,
New structures would form as new atoms would meet.
They might form a lump or a clump or a sheet.

They kept on combining in the same random dance,
‘till the right sort of molecules were created by chance.

For the process to start, all that it takes,
is a reproducing unit that makes some mistakes.

When the right one formed, well it practically exploded,
and it didn’t take long till the world was loaded.

The one made two, and those two made four,
then eight, then sixteen, soon you cannot keep score.
Just fifteen splits later there’s fifteen thousand more,
and thirty makes more than a billion to store.

And here is where that variation is vital:
it makes populations dynamic and tidal,
not identical ones that are static or idle.

When the whole world became full to the brim,
the limited resources would cause natural trim.

Some of the molecules would soon face rejection,
as they would be finished by natural selection.

The poor reproducers get left in the past,
while the ones that succeed make copies that last.

It’s like all of life gets run through a sieve,
they compete to survive, and the better ones live.

Progress is slow, but there’s been lots of time,
since our humble beginnings as primitive slime.

Some two billion years with a steady tradition,
of natural and constant cutthroat competition.

A beautifully simple and sublime solution:
life made itself through it’s own evolution.

With evolution in gear, life could get cracking,
producing the protection it was so sorely lacking.

The first thing life needed was some sort of pack,
so evolution evolved us the cellular sack.

The cell is the vessel in which life can contain,
it’s precious information, within a membrane.

Inside of its cell life was happy to reside,
safely protected from what was outside.
Here new molecules were constantly tried,
till life chanced upon the first nucleotide.

They are the base for a chemical code,
so living information can be easily stowed.

Now copies could be made that were much more exact,
and life form achievements could be better tracked,
so progress could be kept and gradually stacked.

This code took the form of a double spiral thread,
which copied so well, that quickly it spread,
reproducing until all others were dead.
Eventually, to all modern life forms it led.

We know this because all life to this day,
is written in the language of that same DNA.
Everything about us, it manages to say,
with four nucleotides: G, C, T and A.
In sequences so long they’d reach clear to next May:
a gazillion combinations that repeat and replay.

These DNA strings are living instructions,
for the creation of creature constructions.

DNA’s great success is the fact it can talk,
as a code for aminos, which are life’s building blocks.
There’s twenty amino acids our bodies must stock,
our DNA orders them, they fold and interlock.

The resulting formation is an organic protein,
the movers and shakers of the biology scene.
They’re the pieces and parts of each living machine.
All the DNA that makes one is a part of one gene.

DNA meant life’s genes were well replicated,
and the protection of cells kept them all isolated,
so life was in danger of becoming stagnated,
as less variation was being created.

Evolution, of course, was prepared to get fixing,
the problem would be solved with sexual mixing.

Sex can take place as a gene swapping trade,
or parents can cooperate so offspring are made.

Either way it allows for new gene combinations,
and provides a sure source of routine innovations.

But the traders can’t be too genetically distant,
or the genes which are traded will be inconsistent.

As a result there formed sexual rules,
like the evolution of different gene pools.

Each pool is a species, a life form distinct,
with its own set of genes, that are relatively linked,
traded just within species through sexual instinct.

A species is a unit with which we can measure,
biodiversity, which we ought to treasure.

These species evolved in ways that were shrewd,
with amazing abilities that began to include,
using water and sunlight as their sole source of food.

Photosynthesis uses our sun’s radiation,
to power the process of organic creation.

Plants are the ones who can harness the sun,
creating the fuel on which we all run.

Plants spread out in a great mighty bloom,
Filling the oceans, they crowded for room,
Making food for other cells that need to consume.

Cells learned to sense, they learned how to move.
The pressure was great, they all had to improve,
eat or be eaten, their life line removed.

Each cell improved along it’s own front,
As some cells evolved into ones that would hunt.

Predator ate prey, while those prey were induced,
to prey upon those who primarily produced.

Now life was organized along a food chain,
with cells eating others in an effort to attain,
the resources they needed for their life to sustain.

And in this food fight in the cell cafeteria,
each became skilled in selected criteria,
until they developed into mighty bacteria.

In the great tree of life, they were the first blossom.
Still around now, it’s because they are awesome.

Much life would follow, but they were initial,
with their appearance, life on Earth was official.

So we started with Earth, and it’s volcanic rumble.
Atoms thrown together in a chemical jumble.
Down the path to life they unwittingly stumbled.
Evolving into cells in a bumbling tumble.

With cells, life arrived at a new era’s eve.
Oh those strands of DNA, and the life forms they weave!
Complicated creatures you would never conceive,
but believe me, life has much more to achieve!

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About jldunbar

An artist and science-enthusiast who loves making books
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