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What Kind of Symbiote Is Venom, Scientifically Speaking?

Life has been evolving on Earth for billions of years, and in that time, living has gotten a lot more complicated than just one thing eating another thing. Life is an intricate web of competition, exploitation, and symbiosis. But what if an alien creature that bonded with a host and hated Spider-Man came to Earth? How would biologists describe it? Could they even categorize it? In other words, what kind of symbiote is Venom? (Both pronunciations of “symbiote” are actually fine, but one definitely makes you sound weird.)

In my latest episode of Because Science, I’m breaking down the biology of the famous alien symbiote (more commonly “symbiont”) known as Venom. For whatever reason, in common parlance “symbiosis” usually has a positive connotation—two different organisms working together for the benefit of both. But symbiosis gets more complicated the more examples you look at. A mosquito imbibing a bit of blood for her brood is also a symbiotic relationship; more specifically, a parasitic symbiosis. A spider building a web on a plant is a “commensal” symbiosis. Categorizing life gets sticky real fast. (Not like that though.)

Life and the relationships within it gets extremely complicated. So where do we start with Venom? Watch my latest episode above to find out!

After you watch the new episode, check out my last video on why you should beware the phaser’s maximum setting, buy a Because Science shirt, mug, hat, or collectible pin, and follow me on Twitter or on Instagram to give me a suggestion for the next episode. Want Because Science even earlier? Subscribe to Alpha for access to the show two full days before anyone else.

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