It’s amazing how clear a picture of the history of life these days:
Using uranium-lead dating, Senckenberg scientists, in cooperation with an international team, were able to date the onset of the “Cambrian explosion” to precisely 538.8 million years ago. During the “Cambrian explosion,” all currently known “blueprints” in the animal kingdom appeared within a few million years, while at the same time the so-called “Ediacara biota” – a group of unique, specialized life forms – became extinct. The study was recently published in the scientific journal Terra Nova.
The ancestors of today’s snails, insects, worms, bivalves, crustaceans, sea stars, vertebrates, and ultimately even humans – they all began with the “Cambrian explosion,” which served as the starting point of modern life on earth.
Moreover, the scientists’ data series reveal that the development of the fauna took place within a very short period. The transition from the “Ediacara biota” – multi-celled but very simply organisms – to the diverse Cambrian life forms occurred over less than 410,000 years. “From a geological point of view, this represents a veritable sprint,” according to the research team. Based on the current study, this rapid faunal change may be best explained as a kind of “biological arms race”: New fundamental traits accelerated the subsequent evolution and fueled the next “adaptive breakthrough.” “For example, if an organisms became increasingly mobile and fed on prey, previously even less mobile animals had to come up with new ways to protect themselves – which may have led to the rapid development of shells or skeletons. One achievement thus engendered the next – and, by necessity, within a shortened period of time,” says Linnemann in summary.
“Uranium-lead dating shows that the Cambrian explosion is younger than previously thought” at Phys.org
Even if these researchers are a teensy bit optimistic about their pinpoint accuracy, the pattern is clear: The history of life is becoming a field markedly less favorable to hand-waving. And note, in 410,000 years, the transition from the multicellular but simple Ediacaran life forms to the diverse Cambrian life forms is supposed to have taken place purely by natural selection acting on random mutation (Darwinism). Aw, come on.
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See also: Bringing the Cambrian mysteries to life
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