Moment of Zen – That One Thing You Learned in High School Biology

Everyone learned exactly one thing in high school biology, and it’s that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.

Good for you!

It’s also the reason we have complex life on Earth.

It’s why we have bugs, fish, humans, Muppets, and Nick Offerman.

Billions of years ago, a Earth only had single-celled organisms on it. They floated around in every single drop of water, in our disgusting murky oceans, existing in tiny microscopic ecosystems just dorking around, vibing, and absorbing each other.

One day, a big fat hunter cell sucked in another, smaller cell, but instead of absorbing it as energy, the two cells formed the first symbiotic relationship on Earth. The big outer cell protected the little inner cell from the environment and absorbed food, and since the smaller inner cell had a safe bounty of resources to convert into energy for the pair. The extra energy allowed the host cell to grow, and grow it did! It’s outer walls thickened, it’s nucleus expanded and became a teensy-weensy bit more aware of the world around it, and it was able to eventually evolve expensive new hardware that made it so much better than either of the two cells could ever do on their own.

That tiny inner cell? It became the very first mitochondria.

Today, every single animal on the planet is built from these cells that came to be that day, billions of years ago. It was one tiny little happenstance that lead to an explosion of new life over hundreds of millions of years. It took a planet ridden with bacteria-rich oceans hundreds of millions of years to accidentally spawn the first modern cell, and since then, every single living creature we’ve ever seen has come from that singular moment.



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