Cambrian explosion Origin Of Life

Earlier than thought files: Ancient and well-travelled worm

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At ScienceDaily we learn that “New Evidence Shows Mobile Animals Could Have Evolved Much Earlier Than Previously Thought” (May 18, 2011):

A University of Alberta-led research team has discovered that billions of years before life [animals?] evolved in the oceans, thin layers of microbial matter in shallow water produced enough oxygen to support tiny, mobile life forms.

The researchers say worm-like creatures could have lived on the oxygen produced by photosynthetic microbial material, even though oxygen concentrations in the surrounding water were not high enough to support life.

Worm tracks (trace fossils) have been found from 555 million years ago, and it’s suggested that the worms could have got their oxygen from photosynthetic biomats at a time when it was otherwise absent, thus could be much older in origin.

Some ask whether that doesn’t that raise questions, as well as answer them: If multicellular worms co-developed with microbes 650 million years ago … score one for either self-organization or design.

(Note: ) Shall we call the file ETs? Earlier Thans?

5 Replies to “Earlier than thought files: Ancient and well-travelled worm

  1. 1
    DrREC says:

    I think part of the problem of these science by press release snippets from Science Daily is how badly they are often written!

    This release is just awful.

    For example:

    “The most widely accepted date for the start of life on Earth is 700 to 600 million years ago when oxygen was produced in deep ocean water.”

    Life-which is more than just animals-is thought to be 3.7 billion years old, and the great oxygenation event is around 2.4 billion years ago. Complex Ediacaran fauna become apparent around 600 million years ago.

    And oxygen produced in deep ocean water? By what?!?–not ‘life’ I guess, since photosynthesis doesn’t operate at depth.

    So the idea “If multicellular worms co-developed with microbes 650 million years ago … score one for either self-organization or design” skips about 3 billion years of the microbes living alone.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    semi OT:

    Imaging Technology Reveals Intricate Details of 49-Million-Year-Old Spider – (May 18, 2011) — Excerpt: Scientists have used the latest computer-imaging technology to produce stunning three-dimensional pictures of a 49 million-year-old spider trapped inside an opaque piece of fossilized amber resin.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....080106.htm

  3. 3
    ellazimm says:

    DrREC: I agree it’s very badly written. I’m guessing that what they meant was that life on dry ground (earth) started less than a billion years ago. Just a guess though.

    Anyway, a news item is NOT a research paper so . . . no sense in picking it apart.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Another nail in the coffin for the central dogma of the modern synthesis;

    New level of genetic diversity in human RNA sequences uncovered
    Excerpt: A detailed comparison of DNA and RNA in human cells has uncovered a surprising number of cases where the corresponding sequences are not, as has long been assumed, identical. The RNA-DNA differences generate proteins that do not precisely match the genes that encode them.,,, Nearly half of the RDDs uncovered in the new study cannot be explained by the activity of deaminase enzymes, however, indicating that unknown processes must be modifying the RNA sequence, either during or after transcription. ,,, Although all of the individuals analyzed in the study had a large number of RDDs, there was a great deal of variability in the specific RDDs found in each person’s genetic material.”
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....ences.html

  5. 5
    David Tyler says:

    DrREC @ 1
    “Life-which is more than just animals-is thought to be 3.7 billion years old, and the great oxygenation event is around 2.4 billion years ago. Complex Ediacaran fauna become apparent around 600 million years ago.”

    You are right – the numbers appear rather odd. I’m willing to be proved wrong, but I’d like to make a prediction. Just as stromatolites appear to provide oases for mobile animals in the Ediacaran, the prediction is when Proterozoic and perhaps Archaean stromatolites are examined with trace fossils in mind, they will be found. If this is confirmed, I’ll be happy to expand on the background to the prediction.

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