The Story Of Evolution For Children
Once upon a time and long ago, 500 million years ago to be exact, all the lifeforms on Earth were composed of only one cell, instead of the billions of cells that we have in our bodies today. We call these single-celled beings microbes, and some of them such as ameba and bacteria, and some of them are still around today.

They reproduced by splitting in half. But there became so many of them that they began to poison their environment (Earth) with their own wastes, just as we today are polluting the Earth with our waste products and burning carbon dioxide into the air which, while it doesn't affect the Earth's climate as some believe, does create acid rain which depletes the minerals from the soil it lands on which, in turn, reduces the quality of food.

So all the microbes got together to try to think of a way to solve the problem. "How can we conserve our resources, and not have to consume so much and create so much waste that there is no room left for us to live our lives?" they asked.

The answer they decided upon was that they should form colonies of many microbes, so that they would need less space, energy and resources to live. They would produce fewer by-products and would have protection from predators by banding together in a group. The colonies they formed became all the multicellular things alive today. We call banding together in a group "aggregating".

Each colony delegated different responsibilities to different microbes in the colony depending on their abilities.Some microbes became the eyes of the colony, some became the digestive and transportation systems within the colony, and some were in charge of reproduction.

Because the microbes had reproduced by splitting in half before aggregating, some colonies had microbes who were identical twins of microbes in other colonies. If identical twin microbes of different colonies were in charge of reprodcution, their colonies could reproduce with each other.  And those colonies that could reproduce with each other became one species, evolving as time went by into the forms they have today, if they were successful, or reverting back into single-celled organisms or "de-volving" if they weren't successful as colonial aggregations species.

Most multicellular (colony) species around today such as ourselves are permanent in their aggregation and never revert back to being microbes, but there are some living things that still start out as microbes who get together to form colonies. Rock lichens for example are a colony made of  a fungus and an algae microbe, or a fungus and a cyanobacterium, and some lichen colonies are made of all 3 together. To reproduce, they have to devolve back into microbes until they find the right partners to aggregate or evolve with back into lichens. Sometimes, the microbes in lichens will devolve back into microbes and never form back into lichen but will remain microbes.

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