The ancestor of all life on Earth might have been a gigantic planetary super-organism

All life on Earth is related, which means we all must share a single common evolutionary ancestor. And now it appears that this ancestor might have been a single, planet-spanning organism that lived in a time that pre-dates the development of survival of the fittest. That’s the idea put forward by researchers at the University of Illinois, who believe the last universal common ancestor, or LUCA, was actually a single organism that lived about three billion years ago. This organism was unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and was basically an amorphous conglomeration of cells.

Instead of competing for resources and developing into separate lifeforms, cells spent hundreds of millions of years freely exchanging genetic material with each other, which allowed species to obtain the tools to survive without ever having to compete for anything. That’s maybe not an organism as we would comprehend it today, but that’s the closest term we have for this cooperative arrangement. All that we know about LUCA is based on conjecture, and the most promising recent research has been in figuring out what proteins and other structures are shared across all three domains of life: the unicellular bacteria and archaea and the multi-celled eukaryotes, which are where all plants and animals evolved from. This isn’t a foolproof method — it’s possible that two extremely similar but not identical structures could evolve independently after LUCA split into the three domains — but it’s a good starting point.

More here The ancestor of all life on Earth

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4 Responses to The ancestor of all life on Earth might have been a gigantic planetary super-organism

  1. alfy says:

    Oh dear. Deskarati readers will be well aware that there are two common journalistic phrases which, when encountered in a piece on evolution, give away that the author knows bugger all about the subject. One is “missing link”, (There isn’t one), and the other is “survival of the fittest”. Technically it is a tautology or circular definition.

    Q “How do we know that this organism is the fittest?” A “Simple, because it survives better.”
    Hence, survival of the fittest means, “the survival of the ones that survive”, a circular argument.

    The idea that “we all must share a single common evolutionary ancestor” is not a fact, but a speculation, and it may or may not be true. There is as much likelihood that it is untrue as the converse.

    The sweetly naïve concept that “the organism that lived in a time that pre-dates the development of survival of the fittest” shows a fundamental ignorance of evolution. Do the researchers at the University of Illinois imagine that natural selection was like a kind of “law”, that once passed by some sort of legislature had to be obeyed by all organisms?

    Natural selection is a completely fundamental process, and it operates even in the realm of simple organic molecules as well as living organisms. There was never a time which “pre-dated” natural selection. The suggestion that “instead of competing for resources and developing into separate lifeforms, cells were freely exchanging genetic material with each other” is a political or sociological theory rather than a biological one.

    How do the authors explain that a sudden change occurred, when natural selection appeared one day, and active competition began? As the article says, “all that we know about LUCA is based on conjecture”, it is indeed, and remarkably weak conjecture at that. I do wonder it the intellectual structure of the theory of natural selection is ever taught at American universities. If it was better done then their academics would not fall into these logical pitfalls.

  2. Geza says:

    Here are a few sentences from New theory of evolution:
    Generally we can say that “ evolution “ is scientific idea when we would like express development from the beginning to the higher or complex form of existence. Many scientists believe that this standpoint based on abundance scientific arguments specific in paleontology where argument for evolution is biological fossil rest of the life. Taking evolution as an universal idea we can create question: if Universe evaluated from the “ big bang “ toward form of the Universe as science know it, to the Earth, and if Life evolve from protozoa to human being, then, what is with evolution of Man and mankind? Did the human being as a result of biological evolution evolve further, if evolve, where and to which direction? On this question some evolutionist think that traditional biological evolution stops and begin new social, which belongs only to the human being and mankind. For that thesis there are many arguments, because human being and mankind obviously change itself. It is enough just take 2000 years and we can clearly see changeable man and mankind. The changes what we can se are not obvious as fossil changes, as a fish change into reptile, or primate to the man, because these changes is cause by human being as an subject of evolution with their creation and work. However, if we observe the originated changes from standpoint of the man characteristic before 2000 years and today , we can easily see that man’s characteristic is essentially changes. From the miserable man who was “ afraid of the thunder “ he changes themselves into mental and physic huge who already “ everything see and know “ and who operate not only with Earth force bat also with the star forces. Changes in the present time have such dynamics and characteristic which bring the traditional evolution theory to the point when the theory become questionnaire in front of the creative power of the human being. Expression is that scientific knowledge and power are brings human being to the position to be designer of the inter-universe life forms. I would like to stress two words: crates and evolve. Evolutionist must have question: what is happened with the evolution when a subject of evolution becomes the human being by human creation in avery field of human activity? Of course, answer on these question we can’t find out if we only read Darwin’s theory of evolution, or any another theory because the modern word begin with mediation of the human products evolution. We have there thesis that the mankind change himself too the Superorganism in which every particular human being become the mankind cell with analogy as biological cell in ours organism. Did idea of the new biological Superorganism has scientific – evolutionary sense?
    From my point of view these idea has sense because we have to many arguments for these thesis. All arguments what we have instruct us indeed that these process built up the know macro organism begin what is named here Superorganism. In my book these macro organism have gave them preliminary name HOMOTERAS. HOMOTERAS is a subject of knew biology theory. Human being is end of the traditional evolutionary theory but a goal of the new theory is the NEW BEINIG, which is growing up as evolution of the mankind. Difference between macroorganism (Homoteras) and Superorganism is in definition of the Homoteras and Superorganism. The Homoteras is an inter-cosmic makroorganism who is in evolutionary maximum whit capability to renew itself. Mankind evaluates in this direction! These trends speak to us that the holder of knew theory would be knew science – the science of the mankind. In too these know science everybody welcome especially from the scientist’s community but they must to transform him from their narrow scientific aim to science philosophers – the futurist. Subject of those scientist is consideration of the relation between human beings and the evolutionary grow up mankind, i.e. relation between human being and growing up the knew macro organism. Who will appear in the future?

  3. Geza says:

    I want to add to previous comments the following:

    Especially in the USA are present debate about creationism vs. evolucionism , as they were two phenomena are mutually exclusive. My research suggests that evolutionism and creationism are two parallel and complementary process or phenomenon. However, it is can be seen only when it appears as the object of evolution transmute in the subject of evolution, which is evident in the evolution of Man and humanity.
    Traditional evolutionism begins with the random appearance of life, while today we have the fact that the ” object of evolution ” became the subject. Scientist has become the subject of manipulation with the structure of DNA molecules, genes, chromosomes, proteins, and finally with the cells, and thus with the appearance, or created an entirely new creature without the traditional process of evolutionary struggle for survival, modification and adaptation.
    That circumstance convinces us that the object of evolution turned
    In to the subject of evolution, and we are witnesses that in the our time. This is one of the key messages of the new theory of evolution which I have set as a BIOLOGYCAL THERY OF THE UNIVERSE.

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