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"Surface environments change all the time and when they change, the biology changes," he said. "But the muds underneath the ocean don't receive any signals from the above environment."
The microbes described in the study live 4 to 12 inches beneath the deep sea sediments, in one of the most stable environments on Earth. Their world is cold and dark -- an endless night that feels none of the effects of either ice ages or warming spells.
"There is no turning of sediments, things don't get stirred up, there is no oxygen at all -- they get no time signal, there is no change," said Schopf.
The microbes reproduce asexually, which keeps genetic changes to a minimum, and their simple ecosystem requires only nitrate and sulfur for energy.
"They are well adapted for their environment, and there isn't any competition," Schopf said.
So with no pressure to change, Schopf proposes that these organisms didn't.
Punctuated equilibrium is not at all at odds with evolution. And for the thousandth time, please stop strawmanning by referring to evolution as what Darwin originally proposed. It's been expanded and refined with more and more evidence a hell of a lot over the last 150 years.
“These microorganisms are well-adapted to their simple, very stable physical and biological environment,” he said. “If they were in an environment that did not change but they nevertheless evolved, that would have shown that our understanding of Darwinian evolution was seriously flawed.”
Schopf said the findings therefore provide further scientific proof for Darwin’s work. “It fits perfectly with his ideas,” he said.
Yes perhaps then this study should show support for PE instead of the more gradualistic idea that Darwin proposed...
It's impossible to understand that until we understand abiogenesis which we don't. Just because organisms exist in a certain environment, doesn't mean abiogenesis can occur in that environment. It's entirely possible and perhaps likely that abiogenesis occurred in a particular set of circumstances (which we so far have not duplicated), and then once life started there, it dispersed and migrated to and adapted to other environments, some of which might not be conducive to abiogenesis.
originally posted by: iDope
a reply to: PhotonEffect
Would this not be good evidence to support the theory that any planet with water must have some sort of life? These bacteria live beneath the mud, don't require optimal temperatures or light, and any planet with ice on the surface likely has some sort of fluid beneath, unless it is so distant from it's parent sun.