Re: Darwinian Interlude

From: Martin Striz (
Date: Fri Feb 04 2005 - 12:38:45 MST

--- Phil Goetz <> wrote:

> That's brilliant! I was recently wondering why
> so many of the important proteins and genes seem to
> have been developed long ago rather than recently.

So many important proteins evolved long ago because 90% of what happens in
your body is basic cellular processes. Doesn't it seem obvious that cells
would have become extremely efficient at biochemical metabolism long before
they exploded into multicellular forms? Something like a yeast cell is not
simple and weak. It is exquisitely well-adapted to surviving and amazingly

To put it another way: when people are told that life evolved only unicellular
forms for the first 2.5 billion years, and multicellular forms only in the last
1 billion years, they assume that most of the complexity arose recently. I
would argue that there's more complexity WITHIN the cell than in the community
of cells known as the organism. There's more complexity in a single protein
than in the macro-structure of an arm. The rate of complexity aggregation
could have remained constant, or even slowed down.

That article offers an interesting new speculation about early evolution, but
that's not why biological structures have been conserved for so long.


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