It took Charles Darwin 44 years to publish his last best selling book from his observation and work on the role of earthworms in soil formation. His last book was published in 1881, six months before he died, with the title: The Formation of Vegetable Mould, through the Action of Worms, with Observation on Their Habits, which was well accepted by all people including the farmers. Earthworms have an important role in soil fertility and productivity.
On the contrary, Darwin’s former three books about natural selection: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1859), The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871), and The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872), were controversial and gain critics until now. In fact, natural selection, the driving force of evolution, happens in all microorganisms, plants, animals, human beings, and in the universe.
Darwin mentioned in his last book, “The plough is one of the most ancient and most valuable of man’s inventions; but long before he existed the land was in fact regularly ploughed, and still continues to be thus ploughed by earth-worms. It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played such an important part in the history of the world.” He calculated that there were 53,767 earthworms per acre fertile land. A large proportion of soil passes through the gut of earthworms, and they can turn over the top 15 cm of soil in ten to twenty years. Earthworms make holes through their burrowing activities and perform several beneficial functions: provide channels for root growth, increase infiltration, improve water-holding capacity, bury and shred plant residue, stimulate microbial activity, mix and aggregate soil.
The wormholes in the soil are relatively easy to observe and understand, on the other hand the wormholes in the universe are still in a hypothetical formula with very complicated calculations that have not been proven. There have been some calculations in general relativity about the origin of the wormhole in the universe, since a century ago, from Albert Einstein to Stephen Hawking. I am sure that their first thought about wormholes came after reading Darwin’s book about earthworms.
Scientific American magazine (February 2, 2017) published an article by Paul Sutter with the title, Are Wormholes a Dead End for Faster-Than-Light Travel? The concept of wormholes in the universe got its start when a physicist Ludwig Flamm, realized in 1916 that a black hole (a region of space-time exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing-not even particles and electromagnetic such as light-can escape from inside it) can be extended to a white hole (a hypothetical region of space-time which cannot be entered from the outside, although matter and light can escape from it; it is the reverse of a black hole). There are many questions concerning the idea of wormholes in astrophysics. One of the questions is: “Could we actually warp and bend space-time to make a convenient tunnel (short cut through a wormhole), making all of our galactic dreams (time machine) come true?” The author answered that it is not likely at this moment even though scientists are working hard on it.
Until now there is no evidence of living creatures in the universe, outside of the blue planet earth. The “worms” which create “wormholes” in the universe are still in mystery. Someday, if the wormholes are true, it will be not so important again to find their creator, and the biological material will be different out there.
The first photo above is from the cover of the third edition of Darwin’s book On the Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms (1883), about the soil formation with the most active soil organic matter near the surface under the vegetation, the location where more wormholes can be found. The second photo is the “embedding diagram” of a Schwarzchild wormhole from Allen McC (2007).
– Bintoro Gunadi