This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.


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

Charonomicrobium's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Charonomicrobium

          [Comment 24](/articles/645747-rare-protozoan-from-sludge-in-norwegian-lake-does-not-fit-on-main-branches-of-tree-of-life/comments?page=1#comment_938281) by  [AgriculturalAtheist](/profiles/186711)          :

                 > [Comment 9](/articles/645747-rare-protozoan-from-sludge-in-norwegian-lake-does-not-fit-on-main-branches-of-tree-of-life/comments?page=1#comment_937826) by   [rationalmind](/profiles/46875) :> > > > [Comment 8](/articles/645747-rare-protozoan-from-sludge-in-norwegian-lake-does-not-fit-on-main-branches-of-tree-of-life/comments?page=1#comment_937805) by    [AgriculturalAtheist](/profiles/186711) :> > > > > > > [Comment 1](/articles/645747-rare-protozoan-from-sludge-in-norwegian-lake-does-not-fit-on-main-branches-of-tree-of-life/comments?page=1#comment_937695) by     [Richard Dawkins](/profiles/53) :> > > > > > 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?> > > > > > > NO! Bacteria are prokaryotes that lack organelles or a proper nucleus. This is a protozoan. It is a eukaryote with those structures.This is one of the most fundamental differences in life on earth.I'd be the last person to argue from authority as it is not a rational way to make a conclusion. However, I would caution anyone to be VERY sure of their facts before they accuse Richard Dawkins, of all people, of making a mistake concerning a matter involving the evolution of life on earth.> > > Yes, I KNOW that, which is why I was pointing out that the organism, though small, is NOT a bacterium.Richard's comment also seems to me to beg the question that, given this "may" be our most distant eucaryotic cousin (which, one would think is no small feat of a discovery and worthy of note in biology and here), it is STILL a long way away from bridging the "gap" between bacteria and the first true unicellular organisms.  Humans of all persuasions have a long history of debating what might be in these gaps, but is it not a bit of a leap to suggest the chasm is yet very great between bacteria and the first cell? How would we know what such an intermediate would look like, or how fast it would appear?To consider how I interpreted his logic, what if the statement had been (as indeed it might have been a century or so ago when microscopic life, let alone ANCIENT microscopic life, was little known): "The trilobite may be our most distant cousin, but that makes it a very close cousin compared with bacteria."  It just seems intended to steal the thunder or downplay the significance of the discovery.  Or, if it is significant, but he takes issue with the the way the article is written, then what, if any, is the significance of the discovery? Does it even warrant a paper published on it?

Hate to break it to you, but bacteria are unicellular organisms too. The first eukaryote did not constitute the "first cell".

Fri, 04 May 2012 13:13:22 UTC | #939637