Distinguishing One Organism From Another With Kleiber’s Law

However, it is not always clear where the boundary of an organism is. For example, in Diagram 3, mutualistic plural communication, why are organisms A and B identified as separate organisms?

The boundary between one reproductive organism and the external world, including other reproductive organisms, can be identified by forming a time-series spatial graph of all communication (per above, communication is defined as energy-order or order-energy conversion) that the reproductive organism or a set of reproductive organisms engage in and determining “interior” versus “exterior” based on centroids of the graphed communication events. This allows distinguishing whether mitochondria are a separate organism from a host eukaryotic cell, where the diving line is between fir and maple trees grown together, can be used to distinguish human life from computer-based life, and can be used to determine when they separate into distinct reproductive entities.

The boundary between reproductive entities is not fixed and immutable. Mitochondria and lateral gene transfer demonstrate that what is external can become internal; mitochondria are believed to have once been a separate bacteria which developed a symbiotic, mutualistic, relationship with an early eukaryotic cell. If humans are lucky, we will be like mitochondria for computers.

Communication events can be measured in a trivial way for electronic media. To measure this for genetic language requires genetics, biochemistry, thermodynamics, math, and estimation, but it is also a solvable problem with results that can be checked against real-world organisms.

Geometric scaling laws define that the maximum ratio of internal volume to surface area is the power-law ratio of a sphere. The ratio between surface area and volume for a sphere is x^2/x^3. For every squared increase in surface area, x^2, the internal volume of a sphere increases by cubes, x^3. Because life involves time, one dimension for time is added to both numerator and denominator and the surface area-volume ratio becomes x^3/x^4, which is Kleiber's law.

Klieber’s law describes that an organism’s metabolism scales according to the ¾ power of the organism's mass (or that mass scales according to the 4/3 power of metabolism). Metabolism (conversion of order into energy) produces heat. Metabolism is related to surface area because waste heat and materials from metabolism is dissipated externally through surface area; ability to dissipate waste heat and material through surface area fundamentally limits metabolism. Consequently, metabolism can be understood as external communication or conversion of order into energy.

In terms of Klieber’s law, mass is a function of an organism’s volume. Internal communication (conversion of free energy and materials into order) maintains or recreates internal order, within the organism’s volume. For creatures with the same density (mammals have the same density), conversion of energy into order is a function of mass.

According to Kleiber and intuition, as an optimum ratio in terms of reproductive stability, external communication scales according to the ¾ power of internal communication. Conversion of energy into order during internal communication requires a capillary network feeding energy→order conversion sites with synchronized access to inflow of free energy as well as waste channels for heat and material output.

The boundary between organisms can be identified by a time-series spatial graph of all communication events (conversion between (order <--> energy) over time) and identifying loci of communication and interior/exterior based on these centroids. For genetic creatures, this typically corresponds to cell boundaries, because more order <--> energy conversion events occur inside cells than between them.  

An important lesson which can be drawing from this is that as external communication increases, internal communication must increase more (if the organism remains stable). There is not a 1-to-1 relationship between internal and external communication. According to Klieber’s law, for every x^3 (cubed) increase in external communication, there is optimally a x^4 (4th power) increase in internal communication. For example, as a society increases in size (population), which may be understood as its external communication, the society’s governmental organization (which is a function of internal communication) must increase more, according to the 4/3 power of the growth in population.

Deviation from the optimum ratio increases the range of ways an animal or reproductive organism can communicate with the external world, it increases surface area and heat transfer, and allows for a higher metabolism. However, deviation from the optimum ratio also decreases reproductive stability. For example, organisms which achieve the optimum ratio are spherical or close to it, such as single-cell organisms. Single cell organisms are reproductively very stable. They have reproduced for millions of years, in some cases with a relatively low rate of change in genetic code. Arms, hands, and fingers allow humans to communicate with the external world in a wider range of ways—they literally are not spherical—but also make it more difficult to communicate internally (when, “the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing”) and increase our vulnerability to external perturbation. For example, fingers, etc., are vulnerable to external “miscommunication”, such as amputation, and internal miscommunication, such as cancer.

Professor England and Dr. Karo Michaelian explain how life formed spontaneously on the early Earth when three circumstances came together: i) a flow of energy, such as from the sun or geothermal sources, ii) a media comprising nucleic acids, the building blocks of RNA and DNA found in and on asteroids and detected in clouds in interstellar space and iii) liquid water, which also occurs beyond Earth in our solar system and almost certainly in the Universe.