The concept that matter in general is the expression of the heterotropic trend permits us to explain further some of its characteristics which have been of great importance in biological development. Heterotropy can be seen working to maintain existing entities as long as possible, to conserve their characteristic properties in spite of changes in the environment. Heterotropy could result in unchanged values which would appear as constants of an entity and would indeed identify the entity. It is hierarchic organization which would tend to permit conservation of constants.

Each biological entity—just as any entity in nature—can ultimately be defined by the series of characteristic properties which it is able to conserve. Constancy is the criterion which permits us to judge the importance of a property to an entity. The longer a property is kept constant despite environmental changes, the greater its fundamental importance to the entity. The progressive addition of secondary parts through hierarchic organization represents an effective means of preserving constants of the lower entities. New properties, added with the formation of each new hierarchic entity, represented new constants. This explains why considering the constants, it can be seen that those incorporated in the lower entities are the best conserved. The higher a constant in the organizational hierarchy, the less well preserved it will be.

The idea that constants correspond to the character of the environments through which the individual has phylogenetically passed, and that they are conserved through hierarchic organization, permits us to try to extend our understanding of conditions present in past environments. Cations and even anions would represent only one type (apparently the most important) of the constants maintained through hierarchical organization. Other constants, correctly interpreted, would indicate in what direction we must search for conditions which prevailed in the environment when the respective hierarchic entities that make up a given organism were established during phylogenetic development.

As examples, let us consider the conservation of salinity and temperature as constants. Values for salinity of the metazoic compartment and of the blood and values for temperature have been seen to be constants characterizing species. Differences between these constants in different species show a succession conforming with paleontological data. In the interpretation given by Rene Quinton, constants would indicate the times when various species originally appeared in nature.

According to our concept of hierarchic organization, these constants may be interpreted otherwise. They would not indicate the moment when the lowest entities of the respective species were formed, but rather the time in the development of these species when the hierarchic entities capable of conserving the respective constants appeared. In other words, they would not indicate the earliest moments of appearance of the first entities which later developed to form the respective species, but would indicate a relatively late moment in the creation of the metazoic entity which has appeared able to conserve, as its own constant, this specific attribute of the environment. In the case of salinity, this would correspond to the constitution of the metazoic entity itself which has retained the composition of the early sea in its intercellular fluids. As far as temperature is concerned, the entity which would appear able to conserve it has to be regarded as much more complex and even to be related to the appearance of systems of organs which are sufficiently sensitive to changes in temperature and which also possess the means of insuring constancy for temperature.

The conservation of different elements in different compartments appears to be characteristic. In order to maintain its constants for elements the entity has to oppose their uncontrolled circulation. The role of hierarchic entities in conserving ancestral conditions would explain why an entity would have to oppose particularly the penetration of the constituents which characterize the succeeding environments. This has appeared evident for the cations. The boundary formations which have to play the principal role in the creation of each entity must also insure its identity by barring uncontrolled penetration of elements characterizing the new environments. Invasion by such elements would correspond to an abnormal event which must be corrected. If the invasion progressed beyond a certain limit, it would create a condition incompatible with further existence of the entity.

Water Circulation

The passage of complex organized animals into the new environment of terrestrial life brings to the fore the problem of the place of water in hierarchic systematization. It appears to us an acceptable concept that water does not circulate freely in the organism. Its appearance in hierarchic entities can be understood if, as we did for the other constituents, we relate water to its place in the environment in which phylogenetic development has taken place. In the first near volcano environments, which applied to the subnuclear entities, water was relatively scarce, which explains the high concentration of the constituents in the nucleus. The mud of the earth's crust is richer in water, which explains the difference between the nucleus and the cytoplasm, with the latter richer in water. The sea was the environment for the metazoic compartment, which explains the richness of water in this compartment. The so called "internal sea" consequently can be seen only in the metazoic compartment. With the passage into the terrestrial environment with its air medium, the water again becomes scarce and has to be conserved. The circulation of water between compartments is governed by osmotic forces which are determined by the original richness in water of the respective environments. The importance of water circulation appears evident when an abnormality in its distribution occurs. Water arriving in a compartment—alone or with a cation—in an amount above that corresponding to the constant for that compartment, is separated from the constituents of the entity in order to reestablish the characteristic constant value. Such separation of abnormal amounts is accomplished according to the compartment, through the appearance of vacuoles, edema, exudates or diuresis.

Animals And Plants

The concept of hierarchic organization in which each entity can conserve its own environment allows us to consider in a new light various other problems of living organisms. One concerns the fundamental differences between animals and plants. Analysis of the constituents of the metazoic secondary part provides a new criterion for distinguishing between animals and plants and gives logical meaning to its distinction. Animals can be characterized as having sodium as the cation of their metazoic compartment; from the cell level on, they have had the sea as their temporary or even permanent environment. Plants, on the other hand, have potassium as the principal cation for their metazoic compartment, indicating that, from the cell level on, they have had the earth's crust as their environment, passing thus directly from mud to air. By their actual attachment to the soil, plants continue this relationship to the mud. Their relative immobility is in accord with continuation of the terrestrial air environment in their development. The mobility of animals, on the contrary, can be seen to have its origin in the fact that they have had the sea as their environment at least for a period of time, i.e., from the cell period until the appearance of those animals which left the sea. We can interpret the appearance of cellulose and lignin as part of the plant sustaining means which would bring to plants indispensable external protection against the hardness of the soil environment. Cellulose and lignin are not necessary for animals which experienced much of their evolution in the sea.