What life exists in living and nonliving things?

If your alright with nonspecific species, then bacteria are the answer. They are ubiquitous and many are autotrophic; they make their own food, some literally metabolizing rock. They are a foundational lifeform. Even viruses can’t match them, as they require DNA/RNA to live (they require life to live). There are bacteria that require no host or life to eat and so are the answer to your question. Research deep sea vents for more about water to crust interfacing bacteria. Then research bacteria discovered in deep rock from mines. You’ll come to find the organisms of our planet that make their living from nonliving things are bacterial. They likely have viruses in them, but those viruses require their life. The bacterial host requires the Earth’s matter and energy to live.

Puts things into perspective…

3 Comments

    1. Hi Prof. Larson and Jim,

      Indeed, we are made of stuff and lots of bacteria. Here are some fascinating points for us to ponder:

      (1) To the surprise of many people, there are far more bacteria (including the gut bacteria) than human cells in and on the human body (from my memory, it is a ratio of 10 to 1, though some more recent estimates are lower, like 3 to 1). We are all far more “foreign” and less “human” than we previously thought.

      (2) These bacteria are crucial and indispensable to the ecological balance and functioning of our health. The imbalance and paucity of these microbiomes can cause obesity and other health issues.

      (3) These bacteria constantly communicate with and moderate our immune system.

      (4) These bacteria can also influence our mood.

      (5) The human skin is also the largest organ of the human body, and harbours different kinds of bacteria (and bugs) depending on location.

      (6) Growing up in an overly clean environment increases the likelihood and severity of allergies and asthmas.

      (7) The news about plastic-eating bacteria is true. Unfortunately, there are many kinds of plastic, and those bacteria can only handle a very specific kind of plastic, as far as I can ascertain. In any case, we may become increasingly reliant on bacteria to clean up the environment.

      Bacteria will surely survive humans should we ever become extinct.

      Liked by 1 person

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