From “The Black Queen Hypothesis: Basis of a New Evolutionary Theory” (ScienceDaily, Mar. 27, 2012), we learn,
The Black Queen Hypothesis, as they call it, puts forth the idea that some of the needs of microorganisms can be met by other organisms, enabling microbes that rely on one another to live more efficiently by paring down the genes they have to carry around. In these cases, it would make evolutionary sense for a microbe to lose a burdensome gene for a function it doesn’t have to perform for itself. The authors, Richard Lenski and J. Jeffrey Morris of Michigan State University, and Erik Zinser of the University of Tennessee, named the hypothesis for the queen of spades in the game Hearts, in which the usual strategy is to avoid taking this card.
“It’s a sweeping hypothesis for how free-living microorganisms evolve to become dependent on each other,” says Richard Losick of Harvard University, who edited the paper. “The heart of the hypothesis is that many genetic functions provide products that leak in and out of cells and hence become public goods,” he says
Well sure, living at the expense of others can certainly work, but let’s not confuse it with innovation. In evolution, it’s new faculties we need to explain, not loss of old ones.
Those of us who think that the law of entropy really does make sense in the long run (Darwinists have a big problem with it) would never doubt that life forms could lose skills and capacities and just depend on other life forms. That could, of course, be a road to extinction. Which raises a question, what natural brakes prevent it from becoming a deadly epidemic of information loss?