Tuesday, November 04, 2008

In your blood, an elegant clue to life's origins

Rushing through your body as you read this is about five quarts of blood. The stuff is vital to life. You don't think about it. You take it for granted. Pound360 does, too. But an article at the NY Times has renewed our fascination with the stuff.

First, the piece explains that blood is a tissue. Makes sense, it's made of cells. The primary function of this fluid tissue, of course, is to carry oxygen and other nutrients to your cells (so they can operate), and haul away the trash (CO2, ammonia, and other nasties).

"Blood is the foundation of our very existence as multicellular animals." It serves as the "communications network", your body's internet, for directing organs towards a common cause (keeping you alive).

Did you know blood has a salinity "remarkably similar to sea water"? Experts call this an artifact of life's earliest existence on earth, when it was "taking up nutrients from sea water and then eliminating waste products back into sea water.”

Amazing. A clue to one of the greatest mysteries ever, where life came from, had been pulsing through our veins all along.

(Image of blood cells
courtesy US Government)

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.