A new study is raising some serious questions about the theory of evolution as many of us have long accepted it. New evidence, taken from an examination of mitochondrial DNA, suggests that all living animals on Earth may have an ancestral history going back no more than 200,000 years. The study was conducted by David S. Thaler of the University of Basel and Mark Young Stoeckle of Rockefeller University.
This, of course, is going to come as a great shock to people on both sides of the origins of life debate. The result is almost certain to run into significant resistance from those who believe in the standing evolutionary theory unquestioningly. And would-be proponents of the finding may even feel somewhat queasy about it owing to their fear of being labeled anti-science.
Thaler commented, “This conclusion is very surprising, and I fought against it as hard as I could.”
That’s understandable. Practically every professional working in biology, and the life sciences, in general, have staked their entire career on the traditional Darwinian theory. If the reigning theory is proven wrong- it would require the demolition of every life science textbook currently in circulation.
And that would be just the beginning. It would be fair to doubt if there are enough copies of Microsoft Office in the world to rewrite all of the existing texts within an agreeable timeframe.
According to conventional wisdom, evolution- based on the unfathomably slow process of genetic mutation and natural selection is settled science. This standard theory posits that the process of evolution requires millions on millions of years to deliver measurable results.
But the data delivered by Thaler and Stoeckle indicates that 90% of all living animal species alive today share mitochondrial DNA that is much younger than the time frame required to support the traditional Darwinian theory.
As should be expected, the study was carried out through a somewhat novel means. Traditionally, scientists look only at nuclear DNA. Nuclear DNA varies dramatically from one species to another. This means it is easy to draw distinctions between the DNA of one animal and another. In science, establishing contrasts is very useful. But the terrific utility of nuclear DNA studies has lead researchers to pay very little attention to mitochondrial DNA for the purposes of evolutionary research—that is, until now.
After studying the mitochondrial DNA of more than 100,000 animal species, Thaler and Stoeckle found compelling indications that the vast majority of the creatures studied emerged around the same time as modern humans. They arrived at this conclusion by comparing what is called neutral mutations. These are genetic variances that have no outward expression in the body of the animal.
That is to say, a neutral mutation is undetectable by any means except examination of the mitochondrial DNA. Scientists compare these neutral mutations to the rings on a tree as they are indicators of the age of the genetic line to which they belong.
These neutral mutations across 100,000 species- including humans- all emerged between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago. The obvious conclusion is that all of the 100,000 animal species studied have a time of origin in common.
Stoeckle went on to remark, “Culture, life experience, and other things can make people very different, but in terms of basic biology, we’re like the birds. By determining the genetic variation within species of the animal kingdom, made possible only recently by the burgeoning number of DNA sequences, we’ve documented the absence of human exceptionalism.”
The evidence shows that all of the mitochondrial DNA the researchers looked at began functioning no earlier than 200,000 years ago. In “evolutionary” terms, that is a cosmic blink of the eye.
If the explanation is entirely chemical and biological- as standard evolutionary theory declares- it means these 100,000 species would all have had to have evolved in the span of just 100,000 years or less. That is something which the mechanics of living systems as they are currently understood cannot explain.
For those with the courage to think these findings through, there is only one question; how can the vast majority of living animal species be approximately the same age?
There’s nothing in the finding to suggest that the traditional view of evolution is not still a deep part of the mechanics of life in the universe as we know it. What it does mean is that one event or a concatenation of interrelated events is responsible for practically every form of life on Earth as they exist now.
It could mean that someone, or something, put us here.
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