4.6 Billion Year Symphony of Evolution

 
 

4.6 Billion Year Symphony of Evolution Chapter 12


Last chapter recap: Lin fought and acquired some cnidocytes for its cells and found a hydrothermal vent.

Chapter Twelve War

The first enormous group that Lin faced was a unique one that Lin named “Crystal Microbes.” They flashed with a crystal-like light, and there seemed to be spikes around their bodies that were made from ice. When Lin first saw them, Lin had thought that these were not cells because they seemed like balls of ice.

But they really were not ice, but cells. They would move like cells. Lin was very curious how they had grown such an appearance.

There were tens of thousands of these crystal microbes. They possessed many of the food cracks in the middle area of the rock. They actually were very strong to be able to accomplish this. Lin had to defeat them in order to expand its own territory.

Lin first gathered large numbers of cells around the territory of the crystal microbes. Most of them were diggers and cone-shaped cells. Lin did not plan on having the acid ejectors fight so early.

This was because Lin found, in the process of taking over the food cracks, other cells could also obtain resistance against the dissolving fluid of the acid ejectors.

Lin had initially obtained resistance to the dissolving fluid in the process of fighting the strange cell but Lin was not the only one with this end of evolving ability.

If Lin fought against the crystal microbes, then it might be a very long fight. Then the enemy would have time to evolve the ability to resist the dissolving fluid.

So it was best for the acid ejectors to be a secret weapon to destroy the enemy at the last moment.

Lin’s observer looked down at the nearest group of crystal microbes from higher up. The crystal microbes did not know that they would soon be attacked and were still feeing on the food that popped out occasionally.

Attack!

The cone-shaped cells were the foreguard and charged directly at the group of crystal microbes. When they neared, they quickly used their cone to penetrate the bodies of the crystal microbes. While the crystal microbes were hard, they were not as hard as ice and were immediately run through. Then the cone-shaped cells would quickly turn their bodies and the denticles on the cone would tear the crystal microbes into pieces. Large amounts of dead matter floated in the water … …

The crystal microbes immediately started to fight back after being attacked. Their method was very normal. They tried to stab the cone-shaped cells with their own spikes. The cone part of the cone-shaped cells was very hard and could not be penetrated. As a result, large numbers of crystal microbes were tore apart by the cone-shaped cells again. Not long after, Lin’s cone-shaped cells killed off the crystal microbes around the food crack.

When Lin attacked the crystal microbes at another crack, it discovered that the crystal microbes had changed its course of action. It started to move with organization, surrounding the cone-shaped cells and attacking at once. They would not stupidly attack the hard part of the cone-shaped cells but tried to go behind the cell and stab the soft parts of the cone-shaped cell.

They did not have eyes nor sight … … how did they know when to attack? Lin was very curious about this.

The spikes of the crystal microbes did not carry denticles so when they were stabbed in, they did not create much damage. The cone-shaped cells only had to turn to kill the crystal microbes with the cone. This time, the crystal microbes changed their strategy again. They fought in groups. As long as a large number of spikes were stabbed in, regardless of whether there were denticles or not, they could easily damage the interior of the cone-shaped cells.

There were five hundred cone-shaped cells that Lin had used as the vanguard. At this time, they were being surrounded and attacked by thousands of crystal microbes. Most of the crystal microbes had come from the other food cracks.

So this was how it was. The crystal microbes here were all one group, so they could call reinforcements from far away.

Lin pondered this as he watched the battle. It wasn’t the only one doing this. Those crystal microbesl were also searching constantly for their own advantages in the battle. The cone-shaped cells which did not receive any more orders from Lin slowly started to lose.

Suddenly, numerous crystal microbes appeared in Lin’s field of view. The crystal membrane around their bodies flashed with light as they charged towards the site of battle.

This was … … they were all participating? Lin found that all of the crystal microbes had stopped feeding. They started to move and charged in hundreds of thousands into this battle. Under the squeeze of the large number of crystal microbes, the cone-shaped cells were almost unable to move and stabbed by numerous spikes.

Attack! Lin finally moved to the second step. Numerous diggers charged to enter the battle. The diggers did not have a cone, and their ability to damage was lower. However, the diggers had an advantage because of their enormous number. There were 7793 digger cells in total. And in terms of one on one, the diggers were better than the crystal microbes.

The diggers that entered the fight used their denticles to break off the spikes of the crystal microbes before cutting the other’s bodies into pieces. The crystal microbes constantly tried to stab through the fragile parts of the diggers.

The observer had always been at a distance and supervising the entire battle for Lin.

Lin’s preliminary estimate of the crystal microbes was more than twenty thousand of them. Here, they did not have any of the reinforcements. All of the crystal microbes were participating in the battle but the balance was not tilted towards them. The crystal microbes were actually losing and retreating.

A digger could probably match about five crystal microbes.

If this continued … … en?

Lin suddenly had a strange feeling and received a message from a certain digger. This digger had been attacking the crystal microbes like normal using its denticles. Originally, this should have torn the enemy to pieces but this digger did not manage to accomplish this. The crystal microbe that was its target was just pushed slightly further away.

Then this digger was surrounding by large numbers of crystal microbes and killed.

This phenomenon slowly spread through Lin’s cell group. No matter if it was the digger sand the cone-shaped cells, their sharp weapons were unable to harm the crystal microbes any longer, and what they could do was just push them away.

Was this evolution? The enemy could evolve hard shells that could defend against denticles and spikes so quickly?

Lin was very surprised because the crystal microbes had a much faster evolution rate than other cells.

… … Wait, no!

Lin found that there was a crystal microbe that was not damaged when it was stabbed by the cone-shaped microbe. However, it was pushed towards another cone-shaped cell and this cone-shaped cell easily stabbed through this crystal microbe.

In other words, the crystal microbes had not become hard themselves, but … …

Lin started to observe carefully. It found that there was a layer of something covering the denticles and spikes of the diggers and cone-shaped cells that could not damage the crystal microbes.

It was something that looked like a sticky black material. If the cone-shaped cells and diggers came into contact with it, then their offensive ability would decrease greatly.

Lin also noticed that this sticky black substance was also floating on the battlefield along with the corpses of cells. Of course, there hadn’t been any at the start of battle or Lin would have noticed it.

The sticky substance would not glue onto the crystal microbes, and only onto Lin’s cells.

In other worse, it was the crystal microbes that had released this substance. Just like how the acid ejectors were not harmed by their own acid, the crystal microbes would not be affected by the sticky liquid.

Under the aid of the sticky substance, the sticky microbes once again had the advantage. They could easily surround and kill the diggers and cone-shaped cells that could not attack. Enormous losses occurred to Lin’s cell group.

… … It was bad … …

Lin tried to direct the cells to avoid the sticky substance as it observed.

Lin noticed that the crystal microbes were not releasing the sticky substance so where did it come from?

… … there it was!

Lin’s gaze stopped on the area behind the crystal microbes arm. There were several large crystal microbes ten times the size of normal crystal microbes there. There were no thorns on their bodies, but the sticky substance was being exuded from their membranes.

So that was how it worked. It seemed like the crystal microbes was like Lin, and had a cell group composed of different cell types.

Lin immediately moved into action. It sent out special troops towards those large-sized crystal microbes and planned on killing them all.

The troops were made out of the diggers but they were now very similar to the rock insects. They had many mutualistic cnidocytes on the surface of their bodies and Lin also knew how to have those cnidocytes attack.

The cell had to give a message of danger. Lin was not sure of the details. But it only had to have the cells prepare to fight for the cnidocytes to become nervous and shoot at anything that came near them.

These diggers that carried the cnidocytes were just about 300 in number. Each digger usually had about five cnidocytes. There were more than 3000 little crystal microbes surrounding those large crystal microbes.

Each cnidocyte could only attack once and it would take a long time for them to grow another stinger.

It would not be easy … …

But there were only six large crystal microbes, so Lin only had to hit the targets six times in order to end this battle.

Translator Ramblings:Lin has good sense to be cautious … … but it is so warlike. Eat, kill, eat, kill

I’m not sure if the crystal microbes are actual bacteria by the categorization we use for bacteria … … or protists. I need to know what the insides of the “crystal microbes” are like. The “crystal” structure reminds me of diatoms which have silica cell walls.

Scanning electron microscopy of Radiolaria actinomma (NOT a diatom) from ZEISS Microscopy ().

Also, here’s a video of Paramecium spp. shooting out its tricocysts were are similar to cnidoblasts. Some Paramecium spp. have mutualistic relationships that make them appear green but they are the hosts of algae, rather than the symbiont.