The recent unearthing of my childhood fossils and stones collection has resonated with my belief in the gradual structuring and reinvention of our human body over time. I do not believe that we consist only of our isolated selves, our personal lifelong genes. We are not self-contained, pure and untainted within our skins; and current developments inmicrobiology andgenetics give me encouragement in believing this. What if each of us, when we were tapped with a little fossil hammer, broke open to reveal complex beauty? The beauty created by additional beings within us that have gifted their pattern to our make-up. Maybe we have many quiet contributors within us that will not be revealed for a very long time, despite how clever we think we are in scientific terms. Until the relevant patch of earth cracks and crumbles, the true face of the stone will not be exposed to examination and awe. What I am suggesting is that we are the sum of many people - past and present - and also many other things, so that our physiology and health may get a little improved, or a little worsened over a period of our lives; or maybe both of these possible actions, in one lifelong balancing act. The possibility that some creature could slip a few genes in to another unrelated creature simply by living with them was once thought to be extremely rare. Recent studies on intracellular bacteria and their hosts seriously question this view When I look at the magnificent tracery of ancient fossils within my stone collection I'm excited about what we can learn in the near future about the greater complexity of our human body - if we are prepared to think inside and outside ourselves.