In “Ancient sea jelly makes tree of life wobble” (Nature, September 7, 2011), Amy Maxmen explains, “Fossil suggests evolutionary order requires revision.” More than that, probably.
A 580-million-year-old fossil is casting doubt on the established tree of animal life.
The researchers, led by paleontologist Feng Tang of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences in Beijing, believe that Eoandromeda is the ancient ancestor of modern ocean dwellers known as comb jellies — gelatinous creatures similar to jellyfish, but rounder and with eight rows of iridescent paddles along their sides. If they are right, it would be the oldest known fossil of a comb jelly. And that would support a rewrite of the animal tree.
The supposed tree is actually a ground cover already, okay? But you can rewrite it if you want. The rest of the article is a snarl of disputes over precedence of fossils, much as if it were an old-fashioned imperial court disputing precedence of titles.
Let’s keep our eye on the main point: These complex creatures lived nearly 600 million years ago. So how much time does that leave for Darwinian evolution (natural selection acting on random mutation)?
Anyway, now we know what Darwin’s spin doctors do, faced with improbable specified complexity: They get into a dispute over classification, hoping no one will notice the key numbers.
See also: Scholar claims Darwin never called it a tree of life.
Redwood tree’s genes differ from top to bottom.