Personal Ecosystem

If some twisted genius vaporized all 10 trillion cells in your body – along with the hair, the fingernails, and other tissue they create – it would not leave empty space behind.  A body-shaped cloud made of bacteria, viruses, and other former stowaways would hover briefly in the air.  The cloud would outline your skin, delineate your lungs, trace your digestive tract.  You might be gone for good, but your shadow biosphere would remain.

   ~ Wired Magazine, Carl Zimmer, The Wired Atlas of the Human Ecosystem

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