We asked them, and we learned a lot, including:
Common ancestry was at one time mainly a religious dispute. Everyone thinks they know what happened at the iconic Scopes “Monkey” Trial (they don’t, actually).
But now, since genome mapping became routine, the unthinkable has happened: Actual genomes do not demonstrate the Tree of Life in the neat and orderly way that underlies Darwinian accounts of evolution. They could hardly be expected to do so, given the creativity many life forms exhibit with their own genes via natural genetic engineering, horizontal gene transfer, epigenetics, and a crowd of other mechanisms. The Tree of Life has become a bush or a circle of life.
Finally, when we add up all the demonstrable mechanisms of change in life forms over time, a great deal of the picture is still missing. Either there are many more mechanisms still to be discovered or there is a fundamental force we are not accounting for.
Part of the answer probably lies in the application of information theory to the history of life. On that score, see The Information Enigma More.
See also: Talk to the fossils: Let’s see what they say back
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