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About the humble worm and modern research

albion_autumn_fields_dorset.jpg

Dorset Image: Black Beck

I do not spend much time noticing worms unless I am digging and accidentally chop one in half. Charles Darwin, however, did observe this boneless animal, which has no eyes or ears but a number of hearts and a very long intestine.

He wrote an entire book about them, observing that all plants, and consequently all life, would vanish from the face of the earth if worms disappeared. Our lives depend on animals who pass soil through their bodies, transporting minerals, and tilling the earth to create a network of pores through which water, nutrients, and air can circulate.

Worms have not been studied much since Darwin, but it's hoped that will change. Volunteers are being sought for help in carrying out Britain’s first census of earthworms.

Harnessing the energies of thousands of people to produce research is a modern development - and can be immensely effective.

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