What's a Humipedon?
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  • Release Date: 2022-07-26
  • Humus
  • soil genesis
Video Introduction

This video is adapted from 10.3390/soilsystems6030059

Nobody really knows what "humus" is. Even if the same word is at the origin of "human".

In this short video we try to explain the reason for this coincidence. Humus is the meeting point of two opposing processes: biodegradation and bioconstruction of molecules or organic bodies (= built around a skeleton of carbon atoms). In other words, it is the point where the phenomena of life and death meet. To live, you must first die (Figure 1). Or vice versa, as in the question: "Was the chicken or the egg born first?"

Figure 1. To stay alive, you must die, first. 

The early Earth was devoid of life if we consider that life begins with a first "living cell". A name has also been found for it: LUCA (Last universal common ancestor). Problem: to make a cell you need complex components that could be considered "already alive". It is objected that in order to be alive it is necessary to reproduce. Unfortunately, even an atom is so complex, if studied in its elementary components, that we have not yet understood what it is made of, except by activating our imagination. We don't know if an atom is "alive". At the molecular level, thinking that a DNA molecule is somewhat "alive" is not considered absurd. Although not everyone agrees that viruses are alive (ttps://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-viruses-alive-2004/ ).

In the short video the hypothesis is enunciated that Miller-Urey's soup was a soil at its origins, an archaic humipedon. Certainly there is organic matter in the black space of the universe. It is very likely that organic molecules from space were also present on the surface of planet Earth when LUCA was generated. Before LUCA there was only a Miller-Urey soup. Admitting this does not only mean that this is how life was born, but also that it may continue to generate like this; that LUCA was born in an embryo of "soil"; that this soil embryo still exists today and continues to generate life, even if conditions have changed. It is assumed that at the origin, every living embryo is a tiny Miller-Urey soup. In Miller-Urey's soup no living beings are born but ecosystems, ecosystems that contain parts of living beings or complete living beings that are not separate from their environment of genesis. We know the story for the next steps. Citing only the nerve centers of history, Darwin's evolution of species, explained by Lovelock for the chemical-physical aspects at the planet level and by Margulis for the biological ones at the level of living primordial entities, connected to the rest of the living as in the observations of Darwin. From the point of view of a soil scientist, the process is still active and should be seek in the humipedons. 

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Zanella, A. What's a Humipedon?. Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/373 (accessed on 12 April 2024).
Zanella A. What's a Humipedon?. Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/373. Accessed April 12, 2024.
Zanella, Augusto. "What's a Humipedon?" Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/373 (accessed April 12, 2024).
Zanella, A. (2022, July 26). What's a Humipedon?. In Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/373
Zanella, Augusto. "What's a Humipedon?." Encyclopedia. Web. 26 July, 2022.