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Natural Asymmetries

When imbalances gain the upper hand

I have written about symmetry once and had pointed out that many animals (and humans) apparently exhibit an innate preference for symmetric over asymmetric patterns. And yet, if we examine Nature and her organisms more closely we find numerous examples of asymmetries. It starts already with the “Big Bang” and the atomic organization of matter and antimatter; you’ll find it with L (left) and D (right) forms of polarized light rotating sugars like glucose (the latter chirality very common, the former very rare). And you’d wonder why cells use only the L-forms of amino acids to build left-handed proteins, when the D-form is nothing but the right-handed mirror image of the L form. But we can move on to whole organisms and although most are at least outwardly symmetric, internal organs (as a look into the human body confirms) are frequently not. —>

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The beauty of symmetry

rats live on no evil star / ta ke ya bu ya ke ta

When I had a routine brain-scan years ago, the doctor exclaimed excitedly: “What a beautiful symmetric brain you have!So I wondered, aren’t all brains supposed to be symmetric?

In fact, are we humans not members of the large group of animals know as ‘Bilateralia’, in which left and right sides of the body should be mirror images? Continue reading