July 19, 2016

Evolution and Life as We Know it

Timothy Birdnow

I have some news on Evolution that may interest everyone.

First, Terra Daily is claiming that evolution moved more swiftly when the planet was hot. From the article:

"n a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Richard Wolfenden, PhD, and his colleagues found that the rate of a certain chemical change in DNA - a key driver of organisms' spontaneous mutation rates and thus of evolution's pace - increases extremely rapidly with temperature. Combining that finding with recent evidence that life arose when our planet was much warmer than it is now, the scientists concluded that the rate of spontaneous mutation was at least 4,000 times higher than it is today.

"At the higher temperatures that seem to have prevailed during the early phase of life, evolution was shaking the dice frantically," said Wolfenden, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the UNC School of Medicine.

A much faster pace of evolution means that species could have proliferated much more rapidly than they do now, affording the flora and fauna of Earth ample time to acquire their enormous diversity and complexity."

end excerpt.

Ah, we have the key to this research; they want to find a way to explain how life could have evolved through random mutations to the point where it is now in inadequate time. The story continues:

""Recent evidence from rock samples in Australia indicates that life forms arose on Earth as early as 4.1 billion years ago - almost in the blink of an eye after the appearance of liquid oceans," Wolfenden said.

At that time, the average temperature at the Earth's surface would have been near the boiling point of water - 100 degrees Celsius, about 75 degrees higher than today."

End excerpt.

Here is a good explanation about anaerobic thermophiles. From the paper:

"...These microorganisms can thrive at temperatures over 50 °C and, based on their optimal temperature, anaerobic thermophiles can be subdivided into three main groups: thermophiles with an optimal temperature between 50 °C and 64 °C and a maximum at 70 °C, extreme thermophiles with an optimal temperature between 65 °C and 80 °C, and finally hyperthermophiles with an optimal temperature above 80 °C and a maximum above 90 °C. The finding of novel extremely thermophilic and hyperthermophilic anaerobic bacteria in recent years, and the fact that a large fraction of them belong to the Archaea has definitely made this area of investigation more exciting."


"Among anaerobic and thermophilic microorganisms, anaerobic thermophilic Archaea are certainly the most "extreme” in terms of inhabited ecosystems. They represent the deepest, least evolved branches of the universal phylogenetic tree (Figure 1). They often use substrates, which are thought to have been dominant in the primordial terrestrial makeup, indicating that they could have been the first living forms on this planet [1,2,3,4,5,6]. Studies into how they manage thermostability at the protein and membrane structural level have elucidated many traits of protein, membrane and nucleic acid structure; however, there is not yet a full understanding of the principles of thermostability"

End excerpt.

Given that the tendency of DNA is to denaturate at high temperatures, one wonders how this trait came to be in DNA IF life evolved starting with these thermophilic creatures. Also if there is an explosion in evolution as a result of high temperatures why aren't ocean vents overflowing with life? We do indeed find very different life forms there, but it does not appear we have higher mutation rates than anywhere else. More study would be needed.

Perhaps random mutations and environmental pressures on reproduction are not the answer to life at all?

In another Terra Daily story we are told that the number of species on Earth is dropping to dangerously low levels.

From the article:

"Researchers at University College London based their study on data from hundreds of international scientists, crunching 2.38 million records for more than 39,000 species at more than 18,000 sites in the world.

They sought to estimate how biodiversity has changed over time, particularly since humans arrived and built on land.

Areas most affected included grasslands, savannas and shrublands, followed by many of the world's forests and woodlands, said the report.

Using a reference known as the Biodiversity Intactness Index (BII), which captures changes in species abundance, researchers said a safe limit of change is generally considered about a 10 percent reduction in BII.

In other words, "species abundance within a given habitat is 90 percent of its original value in the absence of human land use," said the report.

The study showed that global biodiversity has fallen below that threshold, to 84.6 percent."

End excerpt.

First, we do not know how many species exist on Earth, nor do we know how many have existed. This is another example of using incomplete computer models. For example, the thermophiles I mention above were not known until recent years, and we have likely just scratched the surface. One fifth of all shark species have been discovered within the last decade, and this year we have discoved no less than 60 new species of dragonfly. We have frogs with teeth, walking catfish, the Beelzebub bat, and a plethora of other bizarre creatures of whom we had no idea. See here and here for a few examples.

Also, we have learned that there are many more fish in the sea, by a factor of ten and perhaps more. We keep finding out how little we know. Yes, some creatures are dying out, but others are doing just fine.

If Evolution is correct this is to be expected. There is no static biosphere. That is the same myopic thinking that sees a static climate and ascribes any changes in weather to some nefarious human activity.

Finally, Here is an article claiming all non-African blacks are partially decended from Homo Neanderthalis.

Good. I always had a soft spot for those Frankenstein-headed guys. And one must wonder; Neanderthals had high, flat foreheads, indicative of heavy frontal lobe development, suggesting they were quite intelligent. They also developed a technology far superior to any around them until the coming of Cro-Magnon. They were head and shoulders above the other hominids.

Maybe they were too smart for their own good? Perhaps they decided to interbreed with Cro-Magnon because the latter were more nimble and bred faster? It may be they practiced primitive eugenics and bred themselves right out of existence.

If nothing else, they probably died easier in the colder climates of Europe and Asia, especially since it was harder for them to find hats that fit with those big square heads. The African Homo Sapiens were better suited to haberdashery than the poor Neanderthals.

One wonders, too, about hybridization; the Neandertal genes should still be in the mix and should come out at some point. I suspect they do; most of tehm probably will vote for Hillary Clinton in the next election (as she represents the things a Neanderthal people would like, such as interbreeding with a foreign people dutifully brought in from the Third World, gun control - as they failed to keep up in the paleolithic arms race, etc/

Doubt me on that? Just take a look at Al Franken...

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