Computational Biology / Bioinformatics/Earth's living matter
Hello Sridhar - Do you know whether any estimate has ever been computed of what might be the proportion of present (or recent) living human biomass on this planet (maybe a figure like half a billion tons?) to the combined mass of all other (non-plant, non-fungi, non-bacteria, non-virus) living matter - from Blue Whale to least nematode?
By all means confine the estimate to terrestrial animal life only, if that would make the answer more meaningful.
I imagine there is some eccentric enquiring mind out there somewhere that has prompted such a calculation - though the Internet is silent on the matter.
This is an interesting question. I don't know if this calculation been done. For sure you can get the approximate number of human population on the planet. Using some distribution criteria for weight, based on age and based on ethnic origin, we can get estimate for human biomass. However, I think it would be very difficult to get estimates for other organisms, especially the smaller ones like (insects and other invertebrates). There are definitely many undiscovered species. This is even more difficult for the microbial world, which live not only on the surface, but in the subsurface. Never-the-less, I suspect some intelligent people may have estimated this number, just like how they estimated the probability of presence of life in exo-planets in alien solar systems. So, probably you can do some more searching on the internet using specific keywords, and more importantly keep this question open here or ask in other similar forums, so that others that may be knowledgeable may provide answer/suggestions.