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← Rare Protozoan from Sludge in Norwegian Lake Does Not Fit On Main Branches of Tree of Life

AgriculturalAtheist's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by AgriculturalAtheist

Comment 1 by Richard Dawkins :

Irritating, headline-seeking rubbish. This creature may be our most distant eucaryotic cousin, but that makes it a very close cousin compared with bacteria.

Richard

Well that does seem a bit harsh. Is this organism, in fact, not a bacterium? I think it is important to consider how unique its genome is compared to all other non-bacterial (or viral) life. Consider if the organism had been larger, a multicellular beast whose DNA did not appear closely related to ANY known plant or animal. Would size, then, have made any difference? It always seems that the public's disinterest with the microscopic world is that if you've seen one protozoa, you've seen them all - which is why most people imagine a huge genetic difference between chimpanzees and humans than actually exists, and fails to consider that ALL mammals (and indeed vertebrates) have more in common with each other than many species of worms have with each other - let alone single-celled life, in which the sheer number of species and genetic diversity is this effect multiplied greatly. Most do not consider this simply because they are invisible to the eye, and even when magnified, one does not know what to look for to appreciate the differences.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 20:04:26 UTC | #937805