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Macroscopic life in the Palaeoproterozoic

Our knowledge of the fossil record has changed immensely since 1859, when Darwin felt obliged to explain why his hypothesis of gradualism was not confirmed by the study of fossil successions. His argument was, as is well known, that the fossil record exhibits extreme imperfection. The abrupt appearance of macrofossils at the base of the Cambrian was recognized and Darwin deduced that the evolutionary origins of those animals must have extended well back into the Precambrian.

“One-and-a-half centuries of subsequent research have revealed a vast microscopic fossil record of unicellular protists and bacteria extending, some would argue, as far back as there are sedimentary rocks from which they could be recovered. But although fossils of millimetre- to metre-scale multicellular organisms characterize the 90 million years of the Ediacaran period that precedes the Cambrian, pre-Ediacaran macroscopic fossils are exceedingly rare.”

Over the years, various attempts have been made to vindicate Darwin’s approach. The Ediacaran fauna shows that soft-bodied animals were preserved in the Precambrian, even in coarse sandstone beds, suggesting that fossils are not found because they were not there. In any case, there is no gradualist understanding of the Ediacaran fauna or any gradualist connection with the fossils of the “Cambrian Explosion”. Prior to this, there is a unicellular fossil record with very few suggestions of macroscopic fossils. The newly reported finds are from sediments dated at 2.1 billion years old. They are interpreted by the researchers “as highly organized and spatially discrete populations of colonial organisms” with growth patterns “commonly associated with multicellular organization”. If correct, this makes them the earliest known multicellular life.
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24 Responses to Macroscopic life in the Palaeoproterozoic

  1. Thanks for this post David, as you pointed out these 2.1 bya fossils,,,,

    Do New Fossils Soften the Cambrian Explosion? – July 2010
    Excerpt: Second, these “fossils” are of dubious interpretation. They may be nothing more than fairy-ring colonies growing outward like bacteria in a Petri dish. Perhaps the matlike remains were flexible enough to fold on the inside in some cases. There is no indication of a coelum or tissue differentiation. They do not appear transitional to Ediacaran fossils, let alone to Cambrian animals.
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100705a

    ,,,, do not alleviate the problem of the Ediacaran fauna,,,,

    The Avalon Explosion:
    Excerpt: Ediacara fossils [575 to 542 million years ago (Ma)] represent Earth’s oldest known complex macroscopic life forms,,, A comprehensive quantitative analysis of these fossils indicates that the oldest Ediacara assemblage—the Avalon assemblage (575 to 565 Ma)—already encompassed the full range of Ediacara morphospace. (i.e. they appeared abruptly in the fossil record and retained their same basic shape and form throughout their tenure in the fossil record before they went extinct prior to the Cambrian explosion.)
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/.....19/5859/81

    ,,,,nor do they present any gradualist connection with the fossils of the “Cambrian Explosion”,,,

    Deepening Darwin’s Dilemma – Jonathan Wells – Sept. 2009
    Excerpt: “The truth is that (finding) “exceptionally preserved microbes” from the late Precambrian actually deepen Darwin’s dilemma, because they suggest that if there had been ancestors to the Cambrian phyla they would have been preserved.”
    http://www.discovery.org/a/12471

    Deepening Darwin’s Dilemma – Jonathan Wells – The Cambrian Explosion – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4154263

    ,,,,,,,, what the “fossils” actually do reflect, given the overblown hype of evolutionists gave to these “fossils”, is the desperation Darwinists have for any evidence whatsoever to soften the blows of the Avalon and Cambrian explosions.

  2. gpuccio, to touch a little on the time period between the origin of life and the Cambrian explosion, that you had asked me about earlier, I can trace a general picture of what was going on during those billions of years for you:

    First and foremost, we now have concrete evidence for photosynthetic life suddenly appearing on earth, as soon as water appeared on the earth, in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth.

    U-rich Archaean sea-floor sediments from Greenland – indications of >3700 Ma oxygenic photosynthesis
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2004E&PSL.217..237R

    Life – Its Sudden Origin and Extreme Complexity – Dr. Fazale Rana – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4287513

    then,,,

    From 3.8 to .6 billion years ago photosynthetic bacteria, and to a lesser degree sulfate-reducing reducing bacteria, dominated the geologic and fossil record (that’s over 80% of the entire time life has existed on earth). The geologic and fossil record also reveals, during this time, a large portion of these very first bacterial life-forms lived in complex symbiotic, mutually beneficial, colonies called Stromatolites. Stromatolites are rock like structures the photo-synthetic bacteria built up over many years, much like coral reefs are slowly built up over many years by the tiny creatures called corals. Although Stromatolites are not nearly as widespread as they once were, they are still around today in a few sparse places like Shark’s Bay Australia.

    Both the oldest Stromatolite fossils, and the oldest bacterium fossils, found on earth demonstrate an extreme conservation of morphology which, very contrary to evolutionary thought, simply means they look very similar to Stromatolites and bacteria of today.

    Odd Geometry of Bacteria May Provide New Way to Study Earth’s Oldest Fossils – May 2010
    Excerpt: Known as stromatolites, the layered rock formations are considered to be the oldest fossils on Earth.,,,That the spacing pattern corresponds to the mats’ metabolic period — and is also seen in ancient rocks — shows that the same basic physical processes of diffusion and competition seen today were happening billions of years ago,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....152520.htm

    AMBER: THE LOOKING GLASS INTO THE PAST:
    Excerpt: These (fossilized bacteria) cells are actually very similar to present day cyanobacteria. This is not only true for an isolated case but many living genera of cyanobacteria can be linked to fossil cyanobacteria. The detail noted in the fossils of this group gives indication of extreme conservation of morphology, more extreme than in other organisms.
    http://bcb705.blogspot.com/200.....st_23.html

    Contrary to what materialism would expect, these very first photosynthetic bacteria found in the geologic and fossil record are shown to have been preparing the earth for more advanced life to appear from the very start of their existence by producing the necessary oxygen for higher life-forms to exist, and by reducing the greenhouse gases of earth’s early atmosphere.

    Interestingly, the gradual removal of greenhouse gases corresponded to the gradual 15% increase of light and heat coming from the sun during that time (Ross; Creation as Science). This “lucky” correspondence of the slow increase of heat from the sun with the same perfectly timed slow removal of greenhouse gases from the earth’s atmosphere was necessary for the bacteria to continue to live to do their work of preparing the earth for more advanced life to appear.

    Why Didn’t Early Earth Freeze? The Mystery Deepens – April 2010
    Excerpt: The results were “very surprising,” Rosing says. As to the question of what kept the planet warm instead of CO2, he says his research points to two possibilities. First, Earth’s land masses were much smaller billions of years ago, meaning that the oceans, which generally are darker than continents, could absorb more of the sun’s heat. Second, because life was brand new, organisms were manufacturing little of the gases that help clouds form. So, more sunlight reached the surface.
    There are bound to be other factors, Rosing says. “I think that our paper is just one link in a long chain of further refinements of our understanding of the early Earth and of the dynamics of our planet.”,,,,,,,

    This following paper offers methane gas as a possible contributing solution to the faint sun paradox:

    Methane-Based Greenhouse and Anti-Greenhouse Events Led to Stable Archean Climate
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.g.....p?id=22846

    More interesting still, the byproducts of the complex biogeochemical processes involved in the oxygen production by these early bacteria are (red banded) iron formations, limestone, marble, gypsum, phosphates, sand, and to a lesser extent, coal, oil and natural gas (note; though some coal, oil and natural gas deposits are from this early era of bacterial life, most coal, oil and natural gas deposits originated on earth after the Cambrian explosion of higher life forms some 540 million years ago). The resources produced by these early photosynthetic bacteria are very useful, one could even say necessary, for the technologically advanced civilizations of today to exist.

    The following video is good for seeing just how far back the red banded iron formations really go (3.8 billion years ago). But be warned, Dr. Newman operates from a materialistic worldview and makes many unwarranted allusions of the “magical” power of evolution to produce photosynthetic bacteria. Although to be fair, she does readily acknowledge the staggering level of complexity being dealt with in photosynthesis, as well as admitting that no one really knows how photosynthesis “evolved”.

    Exploring the deep connection between bacteria and rocks – Dianne Newman – MIT lecture video
    http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/496

    These following articles explore some of the other complex geochemical processes that are also involved in the forming of the red banded iron, and other precious ore, formations.

    Banded Rocks Reveal Early Earth Conditions, Changes
    Excerpt: Called banded iron formations or BIFs, these ancient rocks formed between 3.8 and 1.7 billion years ago at what was then the bottom of the ocean. The stripes represent alternating layers of silica-rich chert and iron-rich minerals like hematite and magnetite. First mined as a major iron source for modern industrialization, BIFs are also a rich source of information about the geochemical conditions that existed on Earth when the rocks were made. http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....184428.htm

  3. continued gpuccio,,,

    Rich Ore Deposits Linked to Ancient Atmosphere – Nov. 2009
    Excerpt: Much of our planet’s mineral wealth was deposited billions of years ago when Earth’s chemical cycles were different from today’s.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....193640.htm

    Interestingly, while the photo-synthetic bacteria were reducing greenhouse gases and producing oxygen, and metal, and minerals, which would all be of benefit to modern man, “sulfate-reducing” bacteria were also producing their own natural resources which would be very useful to modern man. Sulfate-reducing bacteria helped prepare the earth for advanced life by detoxifying the primeval earth and oceans of poisonous levels of heavy metals while depositing them as relatively inert metal ores. Metal ores which are very useful for modern man, as well as fairly easy for man to extract today (mercury, cadmium, zinc, cobalt, arsenic, chromate, tellurium and copper to name a few). To this day, sulfate-reducing bacteria maintain an essential minimal level of these heavy metals in the ecosystem which are high enough so as to be available to the biological systems of the higher life forms that need them yet low enough so as not to be poisonous to those very same higher life forms.

    Bacterial Heavy Metal Detoxification and Resistance Systems:
    Excerpt: Bacterial plasmids contain genetic determinants for resistance systems for Hg2+ (and organomercurials), Cd2+, AsO2, AsO43-, CrO4 2-, TeO3 2-, Cu2+, Ag+, Co2+, Pb2+, and other metals of environmental concern.
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....04577v8t3/
    http://www.int-res.com/article.....26p203.pdf

    The role of bacteria in hydrogeochemistry, metal cycling and ore deposit formation:
    Textures of sulfide minerals formed by SRB (sulfate-reducing bacteria) during bioremediation (most notably pyrite and sphalerite) have textures reminiscent of those in certain sediment-hosted ores, supporting the concept that SRB may have been directly involved in forming ore minerals.
    http://www.goldschmidt2009.org...../A1161.pdf

    As well, geological processes helped detoxify the earth of dangerous levels of metal:

    The Concentration of Metals for Humanity’s Benefit:
    Excerpt: They demonstrated that hydrothermal fluid flow could enrich the concentration of metals like zinc, lead, and copper by at least a factor of a thousand. They also showed that ore deposits formed by hydrothermal fluid flows at or above these concentration levels exist throughout Earth’s crust. The necessary just-right precipitation conditions needed to yield such high concentrations demand extraordinary fine-tuning. That such ore deposits are common in Earth’s crust strongly suggests supernatural design.
    http://www.reasons.org/TheConc.....tysBenefit

    And on top of the fact that poisonous heavy metals on the primordial earth were brought into “life-enabling” balance by complex biogeochemical processes, there was also an explosion of minerals on earth which were a result of that first life, as well as being a result of each subsequent “Big Bang” of life there afterwards.

    The Creation of Minerals:
    Excerpt: Thanks to the way life was introduced on Earth, the early 250 mineral species have exploded to the present 4,300 known mineral species. And because of this abundance, humans possessed all the necessary mineral resources to easily launch and sustain global, high-technology civilization.
    http://www.reasons.org/The-Creation-of-Minerals

    To put it mildly, this minimization of poisonous elements, and “explosion” of useful minerals, is strong evidence for Intelligently Designed terra-forming of the earth that “just so happens” to be of great benefit to modern man.

    Man has only recently caught on to harnessing the ancient detoxification ability of bacteria to cleanup his accidental toxic spills, as well as his toxic waste, from industry:

    What is Bioremediation? – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSpjRPWYJPg

    Clearly many, if not all, of these metal ores and minerals laid down by these sulfate-reducing bacteria, as well as laid down by the biogeochemistry of more complex life, as well as laid down by finely-tuned geological conditions throughout the early history of the earth, have many unique properties which are crucial for technologically advanced life, and are thus indispensable to man’s rise above the stone age to the advanced “space-age” technology of modern civilization.

    Inventions: Elements and Compounds – video
    http://videos.howstuffworks.co.....-video.htm

    Bombardment Makes Civilization Possible
    What is the common thread among the following items: pacemakers, spark plugs, fountain pens and compass bearings? Give up? All of them currently use (or used in early versions) the two densest elements, osmium and iridium. These two elements play important roles in technological advancements. However, if certain special events hadn’t occurred early in Earth’s history, no osmium or iridium would exist near the planet’s surface. http://www.reasons.org/Bombard.....onPossible

  4. continued gpuccio,,,

    As well, many types of bacteria in earth’s early history lived in what are called cryptogamic colonies on the earth’s primeval continents. These colonies dramatically transformed the primeval land into stable nutrient filled soils which were receptive for future advanced vegetation to appear.

    CRYPTOBIOTIC SOIL -
    Excerpt: When moistened, cyanobacteria become active, moving through the soil and leaving a trail of sticky material behind. The sheath material sticks to surfaces such as rock or soil particles, forming an intricate web of fibers throughout the soil. In this way, loose soil particles are joined together, and an otherwise unstable surface becomes very resistant to both wind and water erosion.
    http://www.nps.gov/archive/jot.....rusts.html
    http://jimswan.com/111/cryptogamic.htm

    Bacterial ‘Ropes’ Tie Down Shifting Southwest
    Excerpt: In the desert, the initial stabilization of topsoil by rope-builders promotes colonization by a multitude of other microbes. From their interwoven relationships arise complex communities known as “biological soil crusts,” important ecological components in the fertility and sustainability of arid ecosystems.( Of note: Phylogenetic analyses performed by the researchers have further shown that the evolution of the trait occurred separately in three different genera; an example of “convergent evolution” (read evolutionary miracle story), rather than a tie to a single common rope-building ancestor.)
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....203140.htm

    Materialism simply has no answers for why these different bacterial types, and biogeochemical processes, would start working in precise concert with each other preparing the earth for future life to appear from the very start of their appearance on earth.

    As well, several different types of bacteria are found to be integral, “key”, for the nitrogen fixation cycle required for plants:

    Engineering and Science Magazine – Caltech – March 2010
    Excerpt: “Without these microbes, the planet would run out of biologically available nitrogen in less than a month,” Realizations like this are stimulating a flourishing field of “geobiology” – the study of relationships between life and the earth. One member of the Caltech team commented, “If all bacteria and archaea just stopped functioning, life on Earth would come to an abrupt halt.” Microbes are key players in earth’s nutrient cycles. Dr. Orphan added, “…every fifth breath you take, thank a microbe.”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100316a

    Planet’s Nitrogen Cycle Overturned – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: “Ammonia is a waste product that can be toxic to animals.,,, archaea can scavenge nitrogen-containing ammonia in the most barren environments of the deep sea, solving a long-running mystery of how the microorganisms can survive in that environment. Archaea therefore not only play a role, but are central to the planetary nitrogen cycles on which all life depends.,,,the organism can survive on a mere whiff of ammonia – 10 nanomolar concentration, equivalent to a teaspoon of ammonia salt in 10 million gallons of water.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....132656.htm

    Moreover, the overall principle of long term balanced symbiosis, which is what we have with the overall chemical cycles of the earth, is a very anti-random chance fact which pervades the entire ecology of our planet and points powerfully to Craftsmanship:

    God’s Creation – Symbiotic (Cooperative) Relationships – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4023110

    Since oxygen readily reacts and bonds with many of the solid elements making up the earth itself, and since the slow process of tectonic activity controls the turnover of the earth’s crust, it took photosynthetic bacteria a few billion years before the earth’s crust was saturated with enough oxygen to allow a “sufficient level” of oxygen to be built up in the atmosphere, as evidenced by the red banded iron formations and other geological evidence.

    New Wrinkle In Ancient Ocean Chemistry – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: “Our data point to oxygen-producing photosynthesis long before concentrations of oxygen in the atmosphere were even a tiny fraction of what they are today, suggesting that oxygen-consuming chemical reactions were offsetting much of the production,”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....141217.htm

    Once oxygenation of the earth’s mantle and atmosphere was accomplished, higher life forms could finally be introduced on earth. Moreover, scientists find the rise in oxygen percentages in the geologic record to correspond exactly to the sudden appearance of large animals in the fossil record that depended on those particular percentages of oxygen. The geologic record shows a 10% oxygen level at the time of the Cambrian explosion of higher life-forms in the fossil record some 540 million years ago. The geologic record also shows a strange and very quick rise from the 17% oxygen level, of 50 million years ago, to a 23% oxygen level 40 million years ago (Falkowski 2005, 2008). This strange rise in oxygen levels corresponds exactly to the abrupt appearance of large mammals in the fossil record who depend on those high oxygen levels. Interestingly, for the last 10 million years the oxygen percentage has been holding steady around 21%. 21% happens to be a “very comfortable” percentage for humans to exist. If the oxygen level was only a few percentage lower, large mammals would become severely hampered in their ability to metabolize energy; if only a few percentage higher, there would be uncontrollable outbreaks of fire across the land (Denton; Nature’s Destiny).

    The interplay of the biogeochemical (life and earth) processes that produce this balanced. life enabling, oxygen rich, atmosphere are very complex:

    The Life and Death of Oxygen – 2008
    Excerpt: “The balance between burial of organic matter and its oxidation appears to have been tightly controlled over the past 500 million years.” “The presence of O2 in the atmosphere requires an imbalance between oxygenic photosynthesis and aerobic respiration on time scales of millions of years hence, to generate an oxidized atmosphere, more organic matter must be buried (by tectonic activity) than respired.” – Paul Falkowski
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20081024a

    This following article clearly indicates that the life sustaining balanced symbiosis of the atmosphere is far more robust, as to maintaining the finely tuned balance of the atmosphere for the “expendable” higher life, than Global Warming alarmist would have us believe:

    Earth’s Capacity To Absorb CO2 Much Greater Than Expected: Nov. 2009
    Excerpt: New data show that the balance between the airborne and the absorbed fraction of carbon dioxide has stayed approximately constant since 1850, despite emissions of carbon dioxide having risen from about 2 billion tons a year in 1850 to 35 billion tons a year now. This suggests that terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans have a much greater capacity to absorb CO2 than had been previously expected.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....141842.htm

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,

    I have a few other pieces of evidence gpuccio, but that should be enough to let you know that there definitely was a lot more going on in those billions of years prior to the Cambrian explosion than evolutionists would lead us to believe.

  5. just one more cite gpuccio, I got to show you this one:

    Dr. Ross points out that the extremely long amount of time it took to prepare a suitable place for humans to exist in this universe, for the relatively short period of time that we can exist on this planet, is actually a point of evidence that argues very strongly for Theism:

    Anthropic Principle: A Precise Plan for Humanity By Hugh Ross
    Excerpt: Brandon Carter, the British mathematician who coined the term “anthropic principle” (1974), noted the strange inequity of a universe that spends about 15 billion years “preparing” for the existence of a creature that has the potential to survive no more than 10 million years (optimistically).,, Carter and (later) astrophysicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler demonstrated that the inequality exists for virtually any conceivable intelligent species under any conceivable life-support conditions. Roughly 15 billion years represents a minimum preparation time for advanced life: 11 billion toward formation of a stable planetary system, one with the right chemical and physical conditions for primitive life, and four billion more years toward preparation of a planet within that system, one richly layered with the biodeposits necessary for civilized intelligent life. Even this long time and convergence of “just right” conditions reflect miraculous efficiency.
    Moreover the physical and biological conditions necessary to support an intelligent civilized species do not last indefinitely. They are subject to continuous change: the Sun continues to brighten, Earth’s rotation period lengthens, Earth’s plate tectonic activity declines, and Earth’s atmospheric composition varies. In just 10 million years or less, Earth will lose its ability to sustain human life. In fact, this estimate of the human habitability time window may be grossly optimistic. In all likelihood, a nearby supernova eruption, a climatic perturbation, a social or environmental upheaval, or the genetic accumulation of negative mutations will doom the species to extinction sometime sooner than twenty thousand years from now.
    http://christiangodblog.blogsp.....chive.html

    One scientist is far more pessimistic about the “natural” future lifespan of the human race to reach 20,000 years:

    Humans will be extinct in 100 years says eminent scientist – June 2010
    http://www.physorg.com/news196489543.html

  6. New data show that the balance between the airborne and the absorbed fraction of carbon dioxide has stayed approximately constant since 1850, despite emissions of carbon dioxide having risen from about 2 billion tons a year in 1850 to 35 billion tons a year now…

    Meaning that the 45% rate of emitted CO2 that remains in the atmosphere has remained constant.

    Of course that also means that CO2 is increasing as a percentage of the atmosphere.

    …there definitely was a lot more going on in those billions of years prior to the Cambrian explosion than evolutionists would lead us to believe.

    That’s one of the oddest statements I’ve heard.

  7. BA:

    Thank you for all the interesting information.

    I like the concept of “Intelligently Designed terra-forming of the earth” very much. And I absolutely believe in that.

    Indeed, I belive in cosmological Intelligent Design, and not only at the Big Bang, but also after. But I rarely speakmof that, because I am convinced that we have much stronger evodence for biological design, so I stick to that. And you know very well what kind of opposition we meet even there, where the evidence should be able to convince any sensible being in a couple of hours most…

    Regarding Cyanobacteria, just a personal attestation: I have seen them at work estensively in my sons’ aquarium, and I declare that there is nothing they can’t do! :)

    I am really curious about when eukaryotes really appeared. Have you any material about that?

  8. I am really curious about when eukaryotes really appeared. Have you any material about that?

    I’d be interested in how old BA thinks the earth is.

  9. no gpuccio I don’t have any information on when eukaryotes first made their appearance, be something for me to sniff around a little for,,, I do have this though, on the symbiotic relationships of the first multicellular life that might interest you:,,,

    Interestingly, “simple” Jellyfish and Sponges appeared suddenly in the fossil record a few ten million years before the Cambrian Explosion, and have remained virtually unchanged since they first appeared in the fossil record. Moreover, contrary to evolutionary thinking, Jellyfish and Sponges appear to have essential purpose in preparing the ecosystem for the Cambrian Explosion that was to follow.

    Marine animals cause a stir – July 2009
    Excerpt: Kakani Katija and John Dabiri used field measurements of jellyfish swimming in a remote island lake, combined with a new theoretical model, to demonstrate that the contribution of living organisms to ocean mixing via this mechanism is substantial — of the same order of magnitude as winds and tides. (Winds and tides, due to their prevention of stagnation, are known to be essential for life on earth.)
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....30-08.html

    Sponges Determine Coral Reef’s Nutrient Cycle
    Excerpt: Sponges, which have worldwide distribution in the oceans, filter water. They take up planktonic particles such as bacteria and excrete inorganic nutrients. In turn, these nutrients can facilitate the growth of marine plants and other organisms. Sponges filter water at a phenomenal rate: if the seawater were to remain stationary, the sponges would have completely pumped it away within five minutes,,,, these organisms play a key role in the marine nutrient cycle due to their incredible capacity to convert enormous quantities of organic plankton into inorganic material (nutrients). http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....085649.htm

    Fossils of all types of sponges alive today have been found virtually unchanged in rocks dated from 580 to 523 million years ago. Sponges with photosynthesizing endosymbionts produce up to three times more oxygen than they consume, as well as more organic matter than they consume. (Wikipedia)

    Barrel and Chimney Sponges Filtering Water – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7E1rq7zHLc

    The mysterious Ediacara biota, which appeared abruptly, alongside the Sponges and Jellyfish, in the pre-Cambrian fossil record, and which defy classification as either plant or animal, much less classification of essential symbiotic purpose, largely disappeared from the fossil record a few million years before the Cambrian Explosion and thus are not seen to be viable as precursors to the Cambrian Explosion.

    The Avalon Explosion:
    Excerpt: Ediacara fossils [575 to 542 million years ago (Ma)] represent Earth’s oldest known complex macroscopic life forms,,, A comprehensive quantitative analysis of these fossils indicates that the oldest Ediacara assemblage—the Avalon assemblage (575 to 565 Ma)—already encompassed the full range of Ediacara morphospace. (i.e. they appeared abruptly in the fossil record and retained their same basic shape and form throughout their tenure in the fossil record before they went extinct prior to the Cambrian explosion.)
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/.....19/5859/81

    My guess is that, as with photosynthetic bacteria, sulfate reducing bacteria, sponges, and jellyfish, Ediacara biota will ultimately be found to have a essential biogeochemical role in preparing the earth for more advanced life to appear in the Cambrian explosion. This following paper, although evolutionary in its basis, offers a few tantalizing clues as to what that essential purpose for Ediacara biota might have been.

    The mysterious Ediacara biota:
    Excerpt: “many questions remain. In particular, we might consider why the earliest known Ediacarans thrived in a deep ocean setting, when the oxygen apparently so vital for their evolution had already been abundant in shallow marine environments for millions of years.”
    http://www.nerc.ac.uk/publicat.....nimals.pdf

    This following study adds weight to my guess that the mysterious Ediacara biota were essential for detoxifying the deep ocean:

    You Mean There Really Was a Cambrian Explosion? – June 21 2010
    Excerpt: Using novel geochemical techniques developed by Newcastle University’s Dr Simon Poulton, the team found that beneath oxygenated surface waters, mid-depth oceanic waters were rich in sulphide about 1.8 billion years ago, conditions that may have persisted until oxygenation of the deep ocean more than 1 billion years later. These widespread sulphidic conditions close to the continents, coupled with deeper waters that remained oxygen-free and iron-rich, would have placed major restrictions on both the timing and pace of biological evolution. Dr Poulton, who led the research, explained: “It has traditionally been assumed that the first rise in atmospheric oxygen eventually led to oxygenation of the deep ocean around 1.8 billion years ago. “This assumption has been called into question over recent years, and here we show that the ocean remained oxygen-free but became rich in toxic hydrogen-sulphide over an area that extended more than 100 km from the continents. It took a second major rise in atmospheric oxygen around 580 million years ago to oxygenate the deep ocean.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....explosion/

  10. gpuccio the last 3 videos on this page have animated clips of Ediacaran biota:

    Exotic Cambrian Animals and Plants and Ediacaran biota – Animated videos
    http://www.lightproductionsvid.....imals.html

    Petrushka, I believe the universal transcendent constants, elucidated to incompressible precision in the anthropic principle, and that do not arise from any “material basis”, have not varied one iota since Almighty Transcendent God set them in place during the creation of the universe, thus I am what is termed a “old earth” creationist. i.e. I believe the dating to be accurate to around +4 billion years for the earth.

  11. BA:

    Thanks again.

    I must say that I am really fascinated by the Ediacara metazoa. That’s really a mystery, and I do like mysteries.

    You seem to assume that Ediacara beings were in some way “less advanced” than Cambrian, and not simply “different” (which was instead my impression). Have you any empirical basis for that belief?

  12. gpuccio, not really, might need to tone down that assumption.

  13. Well “coincidentally” here is a new video that fits perfectly with your thread David Tyler:

    Granville Sewell PhD Math – Comparing The Jumps Seen In The Fossil Record To The Jumps Needed In Software
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....36441.html

  14. thus I am what is termed a “old earth”

    Thanks for clearing that up. I haven’t really figured out everyone’s position her, but it appears there are many flavors of ID.

    How would you characterize Michael Denton’s “Natures Destiny”?

  15. Petrushka you ask:
    How would you characterize Michael Denton’s “Natures Destiny”?

    I absolutely loved the book. In fact I bought several copies for some of my friends. The only hang up I had with the book is, after he had elucidated many wonderful evidences for design, that I thought, if I remember correctly, that he gave way to much leeway for some type of “deistic” explanation, that I thought unwarranted.

  16. If the “destiny” of life is embedded in the parameters of creation, how is that different from Deism?

  17. Petrushka you asked:

    “If the “destiny” of life is embedded in the parameters of creation, how is that different from Deism?”

    That is a correct observation that it does not separate Deism and Theism so much from that view of the evidence, in so far as it goes, but as Michael Denton himself points out in this video, which was made several years after his “Destiny” book, once you start to consider the necessary infusion/embedding of information into material in order to have life in the first place, and the complete failure of material processes to generate information, you very much are forced to consider Theism as the only rational solution: (I might add that the suddenness of the fossil record that David Tyler leads the post with surely is not Deistic friendly)

    No Beneficial Mutations – Not By Chance – Evolution: Theory In Crisis – Denton – Spetner
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4036816

    But in all the reading Ive done in the life-sciences literature, Ive never found a mutation that added information All point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not increase it.
    Lee Spetner – Ph.D. Physics – MIT – (Not By Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution)

  18. My understanding of Deism is that there is a creator, but that he doesn’t meddle with or alter the laws of nature once they are in motion. (I assume there is a version of Deism that allows for occasional miracles, but not continuous tweaking.)

    So do you envision life emerging as a result of parameters embedded at creation, or do you believe there is continuous tweaking?

    Or something else?

  19. David Tyler, here is a paper that recently came out that you may interested in since it deal with the pre-Cambrian time period:

    Global Biogeochemical Changes at Both Ends of the Proterozoic: Insights from Phosphorites
    http://www.liebertonline.com/d......2009.0360

    comment on the article, from a design perspective is here:

    Increases in Oxygen Prepare Earth for Complex Life
    Excerpt: We at RTB argue that any mechanism exhibiting complex, integrated actions that bring about a specified outcome is designed. Studies of Earth’s history reveal highly orchestrated interplay between astronomical, geological, biological, atmospheric, and chemical processes that transform the planet from an uninhabitable wasteland to a place teeming with advanced life. The implications of design are overwhelming.
    http://www.reasons.org/increas.....mplex-life

  20. Petrushka, the universe wide chasm that separates Deism (and even materialism) from Theism all boils down to information. i.e. As Stephen Meyer loves to rightly ask, “Where did the information come from for life?” Some Theistic evolutionists have argued that a “tinkering” God takes away from the Glory of God, but I beg to differ in that if God wanted to make it perfectly clear to us, all to human, mortals, that He can and does freely exercise His will in this universe, then these active periods of purposeful creation of life (Infusions of Information), which are abundantly clear in the fossil record, contrary to the obfuscating rhetoric of Darwinists about the fossil record, are clear “road signs” to us of the personal, caring, purposeful, and even the transcendent nature of God. And in fact drives a stake through the heart of any materialistic argument, of multiverses, that would try to supplant a Deistic universe. Indeed for me, it makes the fact that we mere mortals can possibly have a personal relationship with this transcendent God, who did not just sit back in a mezzanine to watch His “program” unfold, all the more plausible. But not only do I hold that the evidence we witness throughout the history of life on the earth make it clear that God is active in His personal involvement in this universe, but I also hold that God, made His involvement in this universe all more personal, when He became incarnate as human and “reunited” fallen finite man with infinite God, so that we fallen mortals might once again have a personal relationship with God And believe it or not I have some very interesting evidence to strongly suggest that is exactly what happened:

    notes:

    I find it extremely interesting that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its “uncertain” 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that I exist?

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    This is obviously a very interesting congruence in science between the very large (relativity) and the very small (quantum mechanics). A congruence they seem to be having a extremely difficult time “unifying” mathematically into a “theory of everything”.(Einstein, Penrose).

    The Physics Of The Large And Small: What Is the Bridge Between Them?
    Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: This, (the unification of General Relativity and Quantum Field theory), would also have practical advantages in the application of quantum ideas to subjects like biology – in which one does not have the clean distinction between a quantum system and its classical measuring apparatus that our present formalism requires. In my opinion, moreover, this revolution is needed if we are ever to make significant headway towards a genuine scientific understanding of the mysterious but very fundamental phenomena of conscious mentality.
    http://www.pul.it/irafs/CD%20I.....enrose.pdf

    How the Power of Intention Alters Matter – Dr. William A. Tiller
    Excerpt: Quantum mechanics and relativity theory are the two prime theoretical constructs of modern physics, and for quantum mechanics and relativity theory to be internally self-consistent, their calculations require that the vacuum must contain an energy density 10^94 grams per cubic centimeter. How much energy is that? To find out you simply use Einstein’s equation: E=MC2. Here’s how this comes out in practical terms. You could take the volume of, say, a single hydrogen atom (which is incredibly small, an infinitesimally small fraction of a cubic centimeter), and multiply that by the average mass density of the cosmos, a number which is known to astronomers. And what you find out is that within the amount of vacuum contained in this hydrogen atom there is, according to this calculation, “almost a trillion times as much energy as in all of the stars and all of the planets out to a radius of 20 billion light years!” If human consciousness can interact with that even a little bit, it can change things in matter. Because the ground state energies of all particles have that energy level due to their interaction with this stuff of the vacuum. So if you can shift that stuff of the vacuum, change its degree of order or coherence even a little bit, you can change the ground state energies of particles, atoms, molecules, and chemical equations. In conclusion, despite our attachment to it and our feeling of its solidity and persistence, what we think of as the physical universe is an almost incomprehensibly minuscule part of the immensity of All That Is. “Matter as we know it,” Tiller concludes poetically, “is hardly a fragrance of a whisper.”
    http://www.spiritofmaat.com/ar.....tiller.htm

    Yet, this “unification”, into a “theory of everything”, between what is in essence the “infinite world of Quantum Mechanics” and the “finite world of the space-time of General Relativity” seems to be directly related to what Jesus apparently joined together with His resurrection, i.e. related to the unification of infinite God with finite man:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3993426/

    The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31 -
    William Dembski
    Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.” http://www.designinference.com.....of_xty.pdf

    Philippians 2: 5-11
    Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    “Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature.”
    St. Augustine

    Thus, much contrary to the mediocrity of earth, and of humans, brought about by the heliocentric discoveries of Galileo and Copernicus, the findings of modern science are very comforting to Theistic postulations in general, and even lends strong support of plausibility to the main tenet of Christianity which holds Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God.

    Matthew 28:18
    And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and upon earth.”

    This following video shows one reason why I personally know there is much more going on than what the materialistic philosophy would lead us to believe:

    Miracle Testimony – One Easter Sunday Sunrise Service – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995314

  21. then these active periods of purposeful creation of life (Infusions of Information), which are abundantly clear in the fossil record…

    And somethimes the infusion is gradual, as in the infusion of information necessary for the mammalian middle ear?

  22. Petrushka, I can no longer maintain a position of “evolutionary” continuity from primates to humans once the full scope of scientific evidence has become more clear to me,,,

    Human Evolution? – The Compelling Genetic & Fossil Evidence For Adam and Eve – Dr. Fazale Rana
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4284482

    ,,, if you want to maintain that position through imagined connection of similarity, you are free to do so, but I find it a extremely weak position that does not fully consider the evidence and a position that is becoming much weaker now that the genetic “signature of individuality” is becoming much stronger for humans. i.e. Junk DNA is being shown to be functional.

  23. 23

    bornagain77 @ 19
    “here is a paper that recently came out that you may interested in since it deal with the pre-Cambrian time period:”

    Yes, papers like this are very interesting. Almost invariably, the researchers look for a chemical trigger for the evolutionary explosion in the Lower Cambrian. It is as though, when conditions are right, any evolutionary transformation is possible! All this overlooks the necessity of new biological information – and the problem of the origins of complexity is reduced to the effect of chemical factors.
    As far as I can see, the history of Precambrian life can be linked to environmental factors: the life forms we see are the life forms appropriate to the environments they live in. Changes in oxygen, phosphorus, calcium, etc are important stages in environments becoming more “modern” and permitting a greater diversity of life forms. In an earlier blog, I concluded:
    If it is the case that biological diversification is triggered by environmental factors, it can be argued that this is an indication of design in the workings of the natural world. Create a suitable environment, and it is filled with living things! Maybe the story of life on Earth is governed by ecology: where conditions are appropriate, the animals and plants that can live in those environments move in to colonise them. Ecology, rather than evolution from primitive ancestors, may be the key to understanding the development of living things.
    (Source: http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....e_cambrian)

  24. David Tyler, here is another article that recently came out that you may find interesting, It shows plate tectonics to be operative for the vast majority of time the earth has existed:

    Geophysical Detection of Relict Metasomatism from an Archean (~3.5 Ga) Subduction Zone
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/...../5956/1089

    As well, Plate tectonics are shown to be fine-tuned and thus tied to the “terra forming” design perspective here:

    Evidence of Early Plate Tectonics
    Excerpt: Plate tectonics plays a critical role in keeping the Earth’s temperature constant during the Sun’s significant brightness changes. Almost four billion years ago, the Sun was 30 percent dimmer than it is today, and it has steadily increased its light output over the intervening period. This steady increase would have boiled Earth’s oceans away without plate tectonics moderating the greenhouse gas content of the atmosphere.
    http://www.reasons.org/evidenc.....-tectonics

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