From “Last Universal Common Ancestor More Complex Than Previously Thought,” ScienceDaily (Oct. 5, 2011), we learn:
Scientists call it LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor, but they don’t know much about this great-grandparent of all living things. Many believe LUCA was little more than a crude assemblage of molecular parts, a chemical soup out of which evolution gradually constructed more complex forms. Some scientists still debate whether it was even a cell.
New evidence suggests that LUCA was a sophisticated organism after all, with a complex structure recognizable as a cell, researchers report. Their study appears in the journal Biology Direct.
And they still have a job? Amazing?
“You can’t assume that the whole story of life is just building and assembling things,” Whitfield said. “Some have argued that the reason that bacteria are so simple is because they have to live in extreme environments and they have to reproduce extremely quickly. So they may actually be reduced versions of what was there originally. According to this view, they’ve become streamlined genetically and structurally from what they originally were like. We may have underestimated how complex this common ancestor actually was.”
No argument here. There are many no-speculation examples of life forms
shedding complex parts for survival – the way one might abandon a grand piano in the wilderness.
We’ll leave the giant, gaping question for later.
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