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Brainless worm found to have vertebrate brain scaffold

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tail at top left, proboscis at top right/A. Pani

From “Evolutionary Surprise: Developmental ‘Scaffold’ for Vertebrate Brain Found in Brainless Marine Worm” (ScienceDaily, Mar. 14, 2012), we learn,

The origin of the exquisitely complex vertebrate brain is somewhat mysterious. “In terms of evolution, it basically pops up out of nowhere. You don’t see anything anatomically like it in other animals,” says Ariel Pani, an investigator at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole and a graduate student at the University of Chicago.

But recently in the journal Nature, Pani and colleagues report finding some of the genetic processes that regulate vertebrate brain development in (of all places) the acorn worm, a brainless, burrowing marine invertebrate that they collected from Waquoit Bay in Falmouth, Mass.

Imagine that. The divergence was at 500 million years ago.

“What this means is the last (common) ancestor of the hemichordates and the vertebrates, even though it presumably did not have a vertebrate-like nervous system, had some very complex and vertebrate-like mechanisms for establishing its body plan,” Pani says. “And one of the broad implications is that weird, squishy marine animals can be very informative in terms of understanding the evolution of vertebrate development and genetics in a way that you wouldn’t expect.”

The “broad implications” are way more than that, of course. The broad implications are that the system did not randomly evolve but rather was designed.

A friend points to the last sentence of the abstract of the Nature paper:

We propose that these genetic programs were components of an unexpectedly complex, ancient genetic regulatory scaffold for deuterostome body patterning that degenerated in amphioxus and ascidians, but was retained to pattern divergent structures in hemichordates and vertebrates.

– Ariel M. Pani, Erin E. Mullarkey, Jochanan Aronowicz, Stavroula Assimacopoulos, Elizabeth A. Grove, Christopher J. Lowe. Ancient deuterostome origins of vertebrate brain signalling centres. Nature, 2012; 483 (7389): 289 DOI: 10.1038/nature10838

It may be “unexpectedly complex” now, but if this kind of thing continues to turn up, that phrase will wear as thin as “earlier than thought” and “surprising.”

“Possible” is not supposed to be a synonym for “implausible.” This is why sociologist Steve Fuller says that Darwinism is going to perish in the same type of mess that floored astrology. Finally, even Top People lose track of all the excuses.

Finally, some enfant terrible realizes that we can have evidence-based evolution or Darwinian evolution. If we choose Darwinian evolution, we have mounting problems with the evidence; if we choose the latter, we have problems with neither.

Then it’s goodbye Charlie!

Darwin and evolutionists always presumed these creatures were primitive and like creatures, in the fossil record, were primitive. If they are as complex as us then it ruins simple to complex presumptions. I say a creator never made any living thing as more or less complex then anything else. Robert Byers
It would be a little more accurate (but longer and denser) to say that a brainless worm has a genetic scaffold for body development similar to the one that regulates vertebrate brain development. Starbuck
Brainless worm found to have vertebrate brain scaffold
In other news evolutionists were found to have the genes to develop a spine. Researchers are no trying to figure out what turned those genes off in that small segment of the population. Joe

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