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Comb jelly DNA sequence offers “unintuitive facts” about evolution…

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… like, less complex animals like sponges descended from more complex animals like comb jellies.

Your evolution textbook never told you that. Or anything like it. Pretty much told you the opposite. Still, you believe. 😉

From The Scientist

File:Sea walnut, Boston Aquarium.jpg
leidyi (sea walnut)/Steven G. Johnson

Sponges have been generally considered our most ancient animal relatives. But that title may actually belong to members of the anatomically more complex phyla Ctenophora, or comb jellies, according to a report published today (December 12) in Science. This family tree reshuffle has come about thanks to the whole-genome sequencing of the comb jelly Mnemiopsis leidyi.

“If the split between Ctenophores and all other animals was the earliest split in animal evolution, it suggests some unintuitive facts about evolution,” said Finnerty. “For example, that sponges, which are very simple animals that lack a nervous system and lack muscle cells, actually came from an ancestor that had those features.” Ctenophores, he explained, “tend to be really active animals—they are swimmers, they have smooth muscle, they have a nervous system, they prey on zooplankton. . . . They would seem to be representative of a much more complex condition, anatomically and behaviorally.”

Consequently, the suggestion that the Ctenophora might be the earliest branch of the animal family tree “was and has remained controversial,” said Andy Baxevanis, who is head of the Computational Genomics Unit at the National Human Genome Research Institute and led the new study. “It became obvious to us that having a whole genome sequence for the Ctenophores would go along way to resolving the issue.”

Actually, having genome sequences for all Ctenophores might—or might not—go a long toward resolving the issue. It coul render the issue unresolvable against current background assumptions.

More information resolves a problem if we have it by the right handle but lack information about certain parts. However, if—as increasing numbers of researchers are saying—we need to rethink the whole concept of a tree of life, lots more information will mean lots more information that doesn’t fit the old ideas.

Remember, Darwin thought that if only we had more information about the Cambrian period, the problems it posed to his theory would go away. Famously, that never happened, except in the imaginations of his modern day followers, for whom nothing could be a problem except Darwin’s doubt.

See also: Animal that stages light display is 600 million years old? And yes, it is a comb jelly.

Sea creature, nearly 600 mya, wobbles current classifications of life “A 580-million-year-old fossil is casting doubt on the established tree of animal life.” – Nature

3 Replies to “Comb jelly DNA sequence offers “unintuitive facts” about evolution…

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Interestingly, ‘soft-bodied’ Jellyfish may have appeared in the fossil record a few ten million years before the Cambrian Explosion, and have remained virtually unchanged in their basic body plan since they first appeared in the fossil record.

    Instant Body Plans: The Case of Jellyfish – July 26, 2013
    Excerpt: Cubomedusae (box jellyfish) are particularly interesting. They have eyes that are almost human-like! “As the name depicts, Cubozoans have a squarish shape with four tentacles and four rhopalia. Each rhopalium contains six eyes of four different types, two of which (the upper lens eye and the lower lens eye) are highly developed image-forming eyes with cornea, pupil, lens, and retina, much like our own….”
    “The earliest widely accepted animal fossils are rather modern-looking cnidarians, possibly from around 580 million years ago, although fossils from the Doushantuo Formation can only be dated approximately.” So it’s not clear that the dates are right, but even if they precede the main (Cambrian) explosion by 40 million years, they are already “modern-looking.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....74861.html

    Moreover, contrary to evolutionary thought, Jellyfish appear to have essential purpose in preparing, and maintaining, the ecosystem for the Cambrian Explosion, and subsequent life, that was to follow.

    Marine animals cause a stir – July 2009
    Excerpt: Kakani Katija and John Dabiri used field measurements of jellyfish swimming in a remote island lake, combined with a new theoretical model, to demonstrate that the contribution of living organisms to ocean mixing via this mechanism is substantial — of the same order of magnitude as winds and tides. (Winds and tides, due to their prevention of stagnation, are known to be essential for life on earth.)
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....30-08.html

    Like Jellyfish, Sponges are also thought to have preceded the Cambrian explosion. Moreover, sponge and jellyfish fossils are soft-bodied and still record no transitional fossils to the Cambrian phyla during the pre-Cambrian period in question:

    Dr. Stephen Meyer: Darwin’s Dilemma – The Significance of Sponge Embryos – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPs8E7y0ySs

    Challenging Fossil of a Little Fish
    What they had actually proved was that Chinese phosphate is fully capable of preserving whatever animals may have lived there in Precambrian times. Because they found sponges and sponge embryos in abundance, researchers are no longer so confident that Precambrian animals were too soft or too small to be preserved. “I think this is a major mystery in paleontology,” said Chen. “Before the Cambrian, we should see a number of steps: differentiation of cells, differentiation of tissue, of dorsal and ventral, right and left. But we don’t have strong evidence for any of these.” Taiwanese biologist Li was also direct: “No evolution theory can explain these kinds of phenomena.”
    http://www.fredheeren.com/boston.htm

    Response to John Wise – October 2010
    “So, where then are those ancestors? Fossil preservation conditions were adequate to preserve animals such as jellyfish, corals, and sponges, as well as the Ediacaran fauna. It does not appear that scarcity is a fault of the fossil record.”
    Sean Carroll developmental biologist
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....38811.html

    At North Dakota State University, Presenting the Positive Case for Design – Casey Luskin – February 14, 2012
    Excerpt: Indeed, Simon Conway Morris notes in his book Crucible of Creation that in the Burgess Shale fossil collections which document the Cambrian explosion, “about 95 per cent are either soft-bodied or have thin skeletons.” [p. 140].
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....56351.html

    Pre-Cambrian Explosion – Jonathan Wells – (How do you change a jellyfish into a trilobite?) – video
    https://vimeo.com/32428029

    and sponges, like jellyfish, (and much contrary to evolutionary thought), are also found to have essential purpose for preparing, and maintaining, the ecosystem for the life that was to follow in the Cambrian Explosion:

    Sponges Determine Coral Reef’s Nutrient Cycle
    Excerpt: Sponges, which have worldwide distribution in the oceans, filter water. They take up planktonic particles such as bacteria and excrete inorganic nutrients. In turn, these nutrients can facilitate the growth of marine plants and other organisms. Sponges filter water at a phenomenal rate: if the seawater were to remain stationary, the sponges would have completely pumped it away within five minutes,,,, these organisms play a key role in the marine nutrient cycle due to their incredible capacity to convert enormous quantities of organic plankton into inorganic material (nutrients).
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....085649.htm

    Moreover, sponges with photosynthesizing endosymbionts produce up to three times more oxygen than they consume, as well as more organic matter than they consume (Wikipedia). Here is a video that reveals to us just how efficient sponges are at filtering water

    Barrel and Chimney Sponges Filtering Water – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7E1rq7zHLc

  2. 2
    Querius says:

    Unfortunately, the data once again contradicts the current consensus, and a complex and improbable explanation will need to be carefully retrofitted into the accepted evolutionary orthodoxy.

    So, please be kind to your Darwinist professors and their followers. This is not a happy time for them. Expect them to be nervous and grouchy for a while until an explanation can be agreed on.

    -Q

  3. 3
    jerry says:

    sponges, like jellyfish, (and much contrary to evolutionary thought), are also found to have essential purpose for preparing, and maintaining, the ecosystem

    One of the things that is consistently ignored is the necessity of an ecology for life to exist. An ecology is much more complex than just an organism because it includes thousands of organisms (and all their internal complexity) leading complementary existences.

    These organisms are necessarily limited but built for some adaptation in order for the ecology to survive. So what the Darwinist sees is just the limited adaptation alone and not the necessity for this adaptation to be limited. Which it is for every organism that has ever been examined.

    The Darwinist then abstracts from this limited adaptive capacity to the universe of all origins of species when there is no evidence that any organism ever had or does have this capability. Yes, species do adapt but we should look to ecological necessity for this design and not to the origin of species in general.

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