From Rafi Letzter at LiveScience:
According to two papers published in the journal Cell in January, long ago, a virus bound its genetic code to the genome of four-limbed animals. That snippet of code is still very much alive in humans’ brains today, where it does the very viral task of packaging up genetic information and sending it from nerve cells to their neighbors in little capsules that look a whole lot like viruses themselves. And these little packages of information might be critical elements of how nerves communicate and reorganize over time — tasks thought to be necessary for higher-order thinking, the researchers said.
Though it may sound surprising that bits of human genetic code come from viruses, it’s actually more common than you might think: A review published in Cell in 2016 found that between 40 and 80 percent of the human genome arrived from some archaic viral invasion.
That second paragraph is the real story of course: A great deal of evolution is not Darwinian (common descent) but horizontal (sharing genes with unrelated life forms). Now what becomes of the fabled tree of life?
Bizarrely, Arc seems to have made the jump from virus to animal more than once. The researchers found that Arc genes in humans and other four-limbed creatures seem to be closely related to one another. The Arc genes in fruit flies and worms, however, seem to have arrived separately. More.
Interesting how the premise of the article is that this virus can maybe account for consciousness. Not likely but it can certainly see off classical Darwinian theories of evolution (natural selection acting on random mutation, passed on to offspring).
But would anyone have dared make that the premise of the article?
See also: Philosopher: Materialist claims to explain the mind are like claims to have squared the circle
Philosopher exposes neo-Darwinian Daniel Dennett: Claims “so preposterous as to verge on the deranged”
The illusion of consciousness sees through itself.