In the heterotrophic theory for the origin of life, we imagine a primordial soup that is rich in organic compounds and the first organisms emerge eating those compounds. Since these organic compounds are external to this early organism, this early organism is a heterotroph. But it is not like any current heterotroph since it doesn't eat other organisms or their byproducts. Is there a special name for this 'type-0' heterotroph?

At some point, some organisms emerge that eat other organisms (i.e. eat those 'type-0' heterotrophs that are already around). These new organisms are more like the standard heterotrophs of today. Is there a special name for this 'type-1' heterotroph?

I am looking for the terminology that distinguishes the heterotroph that eats only organic compounds that are non-organisms in the primordial soup ('type-0') versus the heterotroph that eats other organisms ('type-1').

Normally, I could call the 'type-0' a primary heterotroph and the 'type-1' a secondary heterotroph. But we usually think of primary heterotrophs as things that eat autotrophs and at the start of the heterotropic theory, there are no autotrophs to eat. The primordial soup of the environment itself is the 'producer'.

If there is no standard name, would it be strange to call the 'type-0' heterotrophs as 'nullary heterotrophs' and the organisms that eat other organisms as 'non-nullary heterotrophs'?

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@Artem, it's been a while! Good to see you back on Biology.SE.

I doubt that any rigorous terminology exist to describe these "type-0 heterotrophs" living on "non-organismic" organic compounds.

You might be assuming that early organic matters can naturally be categorized as being fundamentally alive vs fundamentally non-living. It is more a question of philosophy of the definition of life than anything else but, to my experience, most authors who wrote about the definition of life tend to consider early life as a spectrum from "definitely not living" to "definitely a living thing". The existence of this spectrum questions the need for the terminology you are looking for.

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