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I offer some quotations from an article in Time magazine a while back (When life exploded, TIME, 12/5/95) which generally expose the underbelly of the problem for evolutionary origin of life: The article pointed out that all animal phyla except perhaps bryozoa are present in early Cambrian, and that they all appear within a very small slice of time ("no more than 10 million years") :

Steven Gould of Harvard: (paleontologist) "Fast is now a lot faster than we thought, and that's extraordinarily interesting"

Samuel a Bowring, M.I.T.(geologist): "We now know how fast fast is, and what I like to ask my biologist friends is, How fast can evolution get before they start feeling uncomfortable?"

Rudolph Raff, Indiana U. (biologist): "There must be limits to change. After all we've had these same old body plans for half a billion years."

G. M. Narbonne, Queens U. (paleontologist): "What Darwin described in the Origin of Species was the steady background kind of evolution. But there also seems to be a non-Darwinian kind of evolution that functions over extremely short time periods--and that's where all the action is."

What we know (and virtually all we know with certainty) is that the body plans of essentially all of the major groups of organisms that we recognize today were already in existence in the Lower Cambrian fossil record. As the authors quoted above assert, the fossil record is a record of stasis, not of change. Every major kind of animal we find today on the earth was already represented in some form in these earliest fossiliferous sediments.

A major milestone in the history of Molecular Biology has just been achieved in the complete resolution of the genome of the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. Caenorhabditis is the first complex organism for which we now know the entire genetic sequence. Its 95 million base pairs represent some 23,000 genes. A minimum of 40% of these genes are also represented in humans. The nature of evolutionary phylogenetic relationships and the assumptions of molecular taxonomy are that genes shared in common by similar and disparate organisms are also shared by the common ancestor of such forms. Thus 40% of the genes held in common by Caenorhabditis and humans represent a minimum figure for the complexity of the common ancestor of nematodes and humans, an ancestor, that up until very recently was characterized as having almost no features, and is, of course only hypothetical, and without fossil representation.

We can no longer labor under the illusion that these posited ancestral forms are just simply not preserved. We are now speaking of events projected deep in the Precambrian, not events of the "[less than] ten million years" that we are playing with in China and in the Ediacaran fauna. There are no deep Precambrian metazoan fossils. Yet this is when all major groups of animals would have had to originate in the naturalistic scenario. For further details see the papers on complexity and on the origin of life elsewhere at this site.


Ó 2010 Arthur V. Chadwick, Ph.D.