Throwing a horseshoe into the works of Darwinism, many life forms simply reduce their complexity in order to survive. Yes, natural selection works and is real but — because it depends on randomness — it doesn’t produce reliably complexity all by itself any more than winning a lottery ticket reliably produces wealth.
Well, it’s a good thing for “evolutionary theory” that it doesn’t “preclude” life forms becoming “simpler over geological time.” That’s called devolution and it is in fact very common.
Re the researcher’s comment, “It may seem very unlikely that such complex traits could evolve twice, independently, but evolution doesn’t always follow a simple path,” well, he is virtually admitting that Darwinism stretches (snaps?) the bounds of probability but no one is allowed to discuss that honestly. That is most likely why there is a controversy in the first place.
Researchers: “The alternative candidates for our most distant animal relatives are the comb jellies: beautiful, transparent, globe-shaped animals named after the shimmering comb-rows of cilia they beat to propel themselves through the water.”
Remote vehicles and autonomous vehicles may have a huge role to play in exploring the vast proportion of the ocean that is currently largely unknown. We will probably see stranger stuff yet.
Both groups of life forms are at least 500 million years old. Using a bigger data set, this group of researchers favors the sponges. But we surely haven’t heard the last of it.