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Cambrian monster Hallucigenia had relatives, surviving kinfolk?

File:Hallucigenia Artist's Rendering.jpg
Hallucigenia, artist rendering/Scorpion451

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse (the thing was named after a bizarre dream), it had relatives throughout the Cambrian world and maybe survives in the “velvet worms” of today.

Here, from the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada:

Upon re-examining Hallucigenia specimens using cutting edge techniques, researchers noticed that its defensive spines strongly resemble a group of small, isolated spiny elements found worldwide that had puzzled scientists for decades, with both groups of spines having subtle surface ornamentation and a structure resembling a stack of ice cream cones. These characteristics were sufficiently unequivocal for researchers to suggest that the small isolated spines were indeed related to Hallucigenia. Along with its relatives, Hallucigenia formed a group of animals that spanned the planet’s ancient Cambrian seafloors.

“From Canada to the United States, China to Mongolia, and the United Kingdom to Australia, we now know that during the Cambrian period Hallucigenia had relatives all over the world”, said Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron, Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology at the ROM, and lead author of the study. “This study shows that because spines were more resistant to decay, they could actually preserve more readily in many conventional fossil deposits but it is only in exceptional sites like the Burgess Shale that we find complete articulated specimens with spines attached to the rest of these delicate soft-bodied animals.”

And today?

Hallucigenia bears a striking resemblance to its modern relatives, the velvet worms, which live in fallen logs in jungles throughout the world – though Hallucigenia long precedes the earliest forests, or indeed the earliest life on land.

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velvet worm/Martin Smith

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG

So they never really died out, or not exactly. Oh well, they are small. We are big. And we have coffee. Note this also:

Though it was discovered more than a century ago, Hallucigenia was first restudied by renowned palaeontologist Simon Conway Morris in 1977 because of its “bizarre and dream-like quality,” much like a hallucination, and has gone on to become one of the Burgess Shale’s most recognizable creatures.

Hallucigenia was preceeded by psilocybin cjs1946
OT: "Part 2: Dr. Cornelius Hunter on ENCODE and "Junk" DNA" http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2013-07-31T15_59_11-07_00 bornagain77
a few assorted notes on the Cambrian explosion:
Infographic on Cambrian Explosion from 'Darwin's Doubt' http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/07/its_darwins_dou074341.html A Graduate Student (Nick Matzke) Writes - David Berlinski July 9, 2013 Excerpt: Representatives of twenty-three of the roughly twenty-seven fossilized animal phyla, and the roughly thirty-six animal phyla overall, are present in the Cambrian fossil record. Twenty of these twenty-three major groups make their appearance with no discernible ancestral forms in either earlier Cambrian or Precambrian strata. Representatives of the remaining three or so animal phyla originate in the late Precambrian, but they do so as abruptly as the animals that appeared first in Cambrian. Moreover, these late Precambrian animals lack clear affinities with the representatives of the twenty or so phyla that first appear in the Cambrian. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/07/a_graduate_stud074221.html The Enigma of Metamorphosis Is Hardly Limited to Butterflies - October 2011 Excerpt: Even more mysteriously, it appears that the most ancient phyla were metamorphic from the beginning, based on the few larval forms that have been preserved. This suggests that these Cambrian animals had not one but two or more developmental stages at the outset,,,, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/10/the_enigma_of_metamorphosis_is051541.html Darwin's Dilemma - Excellent Cambrian Explosion Movie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWEsW7bO8P4 Cambrian - Animated Video Snapshot http://www.metacafe.com/w/8554429 Challenging Fossil of a Little Fish What they had actually proved was that Chinese phosphate is fully capable of preserving whatever animals may have lived there in Precambrian times. Because they found sponges and sponge embryos in abundance, researchers are no longer so confident that Precambrian animals were too soft or too small to be preserved. “I think this is a major mystery in paleontology,” said Chen. “Before the Cambrian, we should see a number of steps: differentiation of cells, differentiation of tissue, of dorsal and ventral, right and left. But we don’t have strong evidence for any of these.” Taiwanese biologist Li was also direct: “No evolution theory can explain these kinds of phenomena.” http://www.fredheeren.com/boston.htm picture - 550 million year old fossil fish - "Most major animal groups appear suddenly in the fossil record 550 million years ago, but vertebrates have been absent from this 'Big Bang' of life. Two fish-like animals from Early Cambrian rocks now fill this gap." "Lower Cambrian Vertebrates from South China" - Nov. 1999 http://www.evolutionnews.org/cambrianfish.jpg The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories - Stephen Meyer - 2004 "Neo-Darwinism seeks to explain the origin of new information, form, and structure as a result of selection acting on randomly arising variation at a very low level within the biological hierarchy, mainly, within the genetic text. Yet the major morphological innovations depend on a specificity of arrangement at a much higher level of the organizational hierarchy, a level that DNA alone does not determine. Yet if DNA is not wholly responsible for body plan morphogenesis, then DNA sequences can mutate indefinitely, without regard to realistic probabilistic limits, and still not produce a new body plan. Thus, the mechanism of natural selection acting on random mutations in DNA cannot in principle generate novel body plans, including those that first arose in the Cambrian explosion." http://www.discovery.org/a/2177 Stephen Meyer - Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4050681
Dr. Stephen Meyer comments at the end of the preceding video,,,
‘Now one more problem as far as the generation of information. It turns out that you don’t only need information to build genes and proteins, it turns out to build Body-Plans you need higher levels of information; Higher order assembly instructions. DNA codes for the building of proteins, but proteins must be arranged into distinctive circuitry to form distinctive cell types. Cell types have to be arranged into tissues. Tissues have to be arranged into organs. Organs and tissues must be specifically arranged to generate whole new Body-Plans, distinctive arrangements of those body parts. We now know that DNA alone is not responsible for those higher orders of organization. DNA codes for proteins, but by itself it does not insure that proteins, cell types, tissues, organs, will all be arranged in the body. And what that means is that the Body-Plan morphogenesis, as it is called, depends upon information that is not encoded on DNA. Which means you can mutate DNA indefinitely. 80 million years, 100 million years, til the cows come home. It doesn’t matter, because in the best case you are just going to find a new protein some place out there in that vast combinatorial sequence space. You are not, by mutating DNA alone, going to generate higher order structures that are necessary to building a body plan. So what we can conclude from that is that the neo-Darwinian mechanism is grossly inadequate to explain the origin of information necessary to build new genes and proteins, and it is also grossly inadequate to explain the origination of novel biological form.’ - Stephen Meyer - (excerpt taken from Meyer/Sternberg vs. Shermer/Prothero debate - 2009)

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