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Chimeras and ConsciousnessEvolution of the Sensory Self$
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Lynn Margulis, Celeste A. Asikainen, and Wolfgang E. Krumbein

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015394

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015394.001.0001

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Early Sensibilities

Early Sensibilities

Chapter:
(p.44) (p.45) 4 Early Sensibilities
Source:
Chimeras and Consciousness
Author(s):

Kenneth H. Nealson

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262015394.003.0005

This chapter describes how sensitive bacteria are. It specifically reviews what is known about bacterial sensation and reports the challenges and research opportunities related to the origins of microbial sensitivity. It tries to stimulate thought about the earliest chemistry- and gene-modulated appearance of sensations in cellular ancestors. This chapter suggests that bacteria in extremely stable non-fluctuating environments are on the lower end of the “microbial IQ” curve. It shows a few examples of sensory capabilities and responses of bacteria to mechanical stimuli, gravity, light, heat and cold, Earth’s magnetic field, salt and water concentrations, alarmones, and many other simultaneously and continuously changing environmental stimuli.

Keywords:   bacteria, bacterial sensation, microbial sensitivity, microbial IQ, mechanical stimuli, gravity, light, magnetic field

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