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DailyDirt: We Are Star Stuff And Genetic Mistakes…

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The history of evolution has been largely erased by time and poor record keeping. Sure, we still have a few genomes that look remarkably similar to ancient organisms, and we can try to make some educated guesses about how life on earth developed. We might even be able to re-animate some extinct animals, but we’ll never be able to re-capture the full environment and complex ecology that no longer exists for our most distant ancestors. Still, it’s fascinating to study evolution and to try to witness it in action.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: We Are Star Stuff And Genetic Mistakes…”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Life also may be older than the earth


Taking the number of mutations per generation that can be expected and working backwards from the complexity and variety available to study today, life would almost certainly have to have started before the earth itself was formed. If early earth was much more radioactive than we can account for today, this might explain the discrepancy. My guess would be that earlier versions of the Oklo fission reactors of 1.7 billion years ago:

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

“Mistake” Implies Intention To Do Things Correctly

The trouble with terminology like this is it encourages those with religious/mystical tendencies to jump to certain conclusions. Saying one part of the biological process is an “accident” or “mistake”, implying that the rest of it is not, is subtly but seriously misleading.

Yes, there is a genetic copying process, and yes, it does produce a certain proportion of incorrect copies. The technical term for these is “mutations”. We are the product of billions of years of accumulated mutations. That doesn’t sound very sexy or mystical, but it’s the closest to a succinct expression of the truth.

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