Cell biology Evolution Intelligent Design vestigial organs

Oops. “Functionless vestige” of evolution turns out to be better strategy

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**Investigating the motility of swimming Euglena
Euglenids/ Noselli et al.

For centuries, researchers knew that Euglenids, a diversified family of aquatic unicellular organisms, could reshape their bodies in any number of elegant ways but no one knew why they did it. Some researchers think they now know:

“Amongst biophysicists, metaboly was thought to be a way to swim in a fluid, where these cells live,” Arroyo said. “However, protistologists are not convinced by this function for metaboly, since Euglena can swim very fast beating their flagellum, as do many other cell types. Instead, the predominant view is that metaboly [body deformations] is a functionless vestige ‘inherited’ from ancestors that used cell body deformations to engulf large prey. Watching cells executing such a beautiful and coordinated dance, we did not believe that it served no purpose. Our study started as an effort to substantiate such a non-scientific gut feeling.” …

“Inspired by these observations and amateur YouTube videos, we hypothesized that the cell deformations could be triggered by contact with other cells or boundaries in a crowded environment, and that under these conditions, metaboly could be useful to crawl, rather than swim,” Antonio De Simone, another researchers involved in the study, told Phys.org. “Confirming this hypothesis was remarkably easy. As soon as we slightly pressed cells between two glass surfaces, or drove them into thin capillaries, they started to systematically perform metaboly, which resulted in the fastest crawling by any cell type, as far as we know,” added Giovanni Noselli, the first author of the study.

Once they finished testing this hypothesis, the researchers started comparing the crawling behaviour they observed in Euglena with that of animal cells, for which a greater number of studies are currently available. Past studies observed that animal cells crawling in a thin tube tend to push against its walls in order to move forward and overcome the resistance of the fluid in the tube.

“We found that, thanks to their peristaltic deformations, Euglena can push either on the walls or on the fluid to move forward, making of metaboly a remarkably robust mode of confined locomotion,” De Simone said. “They can actually move displacing very little fluid in a ‘stealthy’ propulsion mode, and they cannot be stopped even if the hydraulic resistance in the capillary is increased substantially.” Ingrid Fadelli, “Investigating the motility of swimming Euglena” at Phys.org

It turned out that the cells knew their business better than the researchers but maybe the cells are not Darwinists.

A word on behalf of “non-scientific gut feeling.” Gut feeling is often distilled experience. If you see very little in nature that serves no purpose, you will naturally wonder when someone says, “metaboly is a functionless vestige ‘inherited’ from ancestors that used cell body deformations to engulf large prey.” If you find yourself “Watching cells executing such a beautiful and coordinated dance,” you’d be right to come to this conclusion: “we did not believe that it served no purpose.”

There isn’t anything non-scientific about doubting a pronouncement based on experience and observation. Quite the opposite; it’s the person who refuses to do that and simply recites the dogma who is being non-scientific.

At least, in the real world. In the world of establishment Darwinism, undoubted pronouncement and accompanying certitude may serve many researchers better than observation and evidence.

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See also: “Junk DNA” regulates regeneration of tissues and organs

One junk DNA defender just isn’t doing politeness anymore. Hmmm. In a less Darwinian science workplace, that could become more a problem for him than for his colleagues.

and

Junk DNA can actually change genitalia.

One Reply to “Oops. “Functionless vestige” of evolution turns out to be better strategy

  1. 1
    PeterA says:

    “There isn’t anything non-scientific about doubting a pronouncement based on experience and observation. Quite the opposite; it’s the person who refuses to do that and simply recites the dogma who is being non-scientific.”
    Exactly.

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