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Earth Science

Organism Closest To Original "Tree of Life" Discovered 198

An anonymous reader writes "Scientists have discovered a benign algae eating protozoan in a lake near Oslo, Norway whose gene sequence does not match any known organism living on earth today, and this beasty combines genetic characteristics across plant, animal, and fungal kingdoms. It is believed to be the closest living organism to the original organisms that spawned all animal life on earth."
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Organism Closest To Original "Tree of Life" Discovered

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  • really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by symes ( 835608 ) on Monday April 30, 2012 @06:16AM (#39843195) Journal

    I can't say I know a great deal about this area but it strikes me that "gene sequence does not match any known organism living on earth today" is not appropriate, seeing as we know so very little about what is crawling around the deepest parts of our oceans. It could well be this Norwegian fellow is quite ordinary.

  • Re:really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MartinSchou ( 1360093 ) on Monday April 30, 2012 @06:25AM (#39843215)

    So, your problem is with the fact that it doesn't match any known organism, because we don't know what else might be out there?

  • by Muad'Dave ( 255648 ) on Monday April 30, 2012 @10:28AM (#39844917) Homepage

    ...benign algae eating protozoan...

    So was it:
    1) a protozoan that eats benign algae (a benign-algae-eating protozoan ...)
    2) a benign protozoan that eats algae (a benign, algae-eating protozoan ...)
    3) a benign algae that was observed eating a protozoan (a benign algae, eating protozoan, ... [newspaper headline style])

  • Usher's fault (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Monday April 30, 2012 @10:50AM (#39845151)
    The whole taking the six days literally thing is a Protestant error. It's what you get when a lot of very literally minded people, such as Bishop Usher, collide with a metaphor. Even Newton fell for it, trying to work out the date of the Creation from the Bible and starting with Christmas falling on 25th December, 1AD. As Jay Gould used to call it, it is a failure to distinguish "non-overlapping magisteria", i.e. astronomy and geology on the one hand do not intersect with a poetic exploration of history and society on the other.

    The funny thing is that this literalism is very recent. As per my sig, quoting Tennyson, educated Victorians were already familiar with an enormously expanded timescale and the idea of replacement of species (he was writing in 1844, before Darwin published). And at school we used to sing that Victorian hymn which included the words "A thousand ages in thy sight are like an evening gone" - English protestants had no trouble at all with the idea that the "days" of Genesis were metaphorical

    Whether the original writers thought that, of course, is moot. But who did you believe in the early 1800s - a nomadic goat herder or the clever young men at Cambridge who were making such exciting discoveries? And why do apparently educated Americans claim to believe something that was shown to be false over 200 years ago?

  • Re:Oblig. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RodBee ( 2607323 ) on Monday April 30, 2012 @11:25AM (#39845581)

    You sound just like a fanatical "let's invade churches and call them stupid" Atheist.

    I am an Atheist myself. I think Gods are very improbable, and not needed to explain the universe. Thing is, I find bad enough that religious people try to convert me, so I don't do the same, because I don't want people to hate me.

    Also, I don't think that religious people are stupid. Maybe they have a reason to believe in a God. Maybe they are afraid of death. Maybe they never gave it a serious thought. There are a lot of reasons why someone would believe in God, and I refuse to believe stupidity is the only one.

    That said, I think I'm answering a troll. Well, whatever. I've already written this anyways,

  • Re:Oblig. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gestalt_n_pepper ( 991155 ) on Monday April 30, 2012 @11:44AM (#39845831)

    I'm an agnostic, and I suspect that there are plenty of alien critters far in advance of us who would look pretty godlike if we stared at 'em up close. Might even be a few sentients that survived the creation and destruction of universes and possibly have even influenced same (or started a brand new universe as a gaming platform). Depends on what you think might be godlike.

  • Re:Oblig. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2012 @12:28PM (#39846369)

    Please EXCUSE my dear Aunt SALLY; -1^.5=-1, but (-1)^.5=i

  • Re:Oblig. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sique ( 173459 ) on Monday April 30, 2012 @12:28PM (#39846371) Homepage

    No, by definition, a good scientist is good at science. There were deeply religious scientists (Max Planck), there were pathologically paranoid scientists (Kurt Gödel), there were confessedly agnostic scientists (Albert Einstein), there were esoterics (Isaac Newton), pantheists (Gottfried Leibniz) and atheist zealots (Bertrand Russell).

    To believe that a scientist has to have a certain worldview to become a good scientist is a religion in itself.

  • Re:Oblig. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Monday April 30, 2012 @01:22PM (#39847127)

    You are completely ignoring the new anti-rationality pro-dark age crusade being waged by the radical christians, islamists, jews and hindu's of the world. Not to mention the christian apocalyptic cults and the general attempt by the faithful to convert or exterminate each other.

    Read your bible christian. Beginning to end. Old and new testament and tell me your god isn't a murderous psychopath instituting insane and arbitrary laws and demanding adoration under threat of violence. Your god is an evil god.

Profanity is the one language all programmers know best.