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The fossils that don’t fit in the Cambrian


Remember the jackass-a-rama last month about how we should stop referring to the Cambrian explosion as an explosion and start referring to it in terms that sound like an elephant’s intestinal troubles?

Well, okay, courtesy of friends, here’s some stuff that really happened in terms of research into the amazing Cambrian. Just a bit, read the rest:

A brief article on Phys.org teases that a “Study reveals true origin of oldest evidence of animals.” Spoiler alert: no animals were found. Instead, two teams of evolutionary scientists, claiming to “have resolved a longstanding controversy surrounding the origins of complex life on Earth,” took another look at steroid signatures in rock thought to be produced by sponges. Did that prove animals had evolved before the explosion?

The joint studies found molecular fossils extracted from 635-million-year-old rocks aren’t the earliest evidence of animals, but instead common algae.

The researchers from The Australian National University (ANU), Max Planck Institute and Caltech say the finding has big implications for our understanding of evolution.

But then we learn that geological processes can also produce the steroids, so biology didn’t have anything to do with it. What were the big implications, then? No evolution!

“While it holds true sponges are the only living organism which can produce these steroids, chemical processes can mimic biology and transform common and abundant algae sterols into ‘animal’ sterols,” he said.

That makes the headline very deceptive: “Study reveals true origin of oldest evidence of animals.” The “true origin” was the oldest evidence of non-animals!

Evolution News, “First Animals? Fossils Won’t Fit Cambrian Evolution” at Evolution News and Science Today

Paper. (paywall)

It’s probably going to take a while to pound the real story out of a lot of situations. Not much help to be expected from the fossils in the science bureaucracy.

ET: So JVL is under the ignorant assumption that today’s single-celled organisms just didn’t get the “right” mutations. ??? Just because one or maybe several 'members' of a population 'got' or inherited a mutation does not mean that the whole population should or would get it. And, if those who did not get that mutation were still well adapted to their environment then there is no reason they would not continue to thrive and reproduce. Let's say your 'family' was lactose intolerant. And after centuries of dealing with that problem they had learned methods for dealing with that issue. And they were successful, they thrived and reproduced. IF a mutation happened which gave some members of your 'family' the ability to process lactose they would have some slight advantage in some situations. The advantage might be enough to 'fix' the mutation into a sub-population of your 'family'. But because the 'family' had learned to deal with lactose intolerance they would not just die out and become superfluous, they would continue to live and thrive because they were successful. They might not even be in direct competition with the lactose digesting sub-family. You always go for the most simple and most polarising view of the matter. Real life is complicated as messy and, mostly, there are many, many strands working at the same time. JVL
So JVL is under the ignorant assumption that today's single-celled organisms just didn't get the "right" mutations. Unfortunately he doesn't have any idea what those "right" mutations are or if any amount of genetic change is up to the task. ET
BobRyan: They cannot explain the continuing existence single-celled organisms, which should have evolved millions or billions of years ago. Uh huh. If you had a bunch of well-adapted single celled creatures and then, somehow, a multi-cellular life form evolved that doesn't force all the left-over single celled creatures to change or die. That's just silly. Think of it this way: if some people moved away from German to America that doesn't mean Germans stop existing. JVL
Fossils do not explain much of anything from a Darwinist perspective. There are no mutations showing between moments to be found. They cannot explain the continuing existence single-celled organisms, which should have evolved millions or billions of years ago. The continued existence of single-celled organisms shows evidence of adaptation, which is quite different from evolution. BobRyan
Peace & joy. I got a BA in Geography. Can we just cut to the chase and 'splain what is The New Truth? My understanding, but I am EASILY confused, was that The Cambrian Explosion took, oh, longer than 1 weekend. So are The Experts now saying that during that 100 million years or so, NO new "animals" (preferably puppies & kittens; slime worms need not apply) appeared on Earth? mahuna

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