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Great Sea Depths Hiding Ancient Creature

on November 27, 2010

Great sea depths have been hiding an ancient creature. Is it Leviathan?

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No, it’s not Leviathan, but rather seaweed—two types of seaweed, to be specific, that scientists have found growing more than 650 ft (200m) underwater. That’s “certainly deep for a photosynthetic organism,” emphasizes California State University–Fresno biologist Frederick Zechman, one of the researchers involved in the research.

The team hoped to place the mysterious algae within the tree of evolution.

Although the seaweed had already been identified, its genetic makeup was unknown until Zechman’s team collected samples from both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for testing. The team hoped to place the mysterious algae within the tree of evolution—but it was in for a surprise.

DNA analysis turned up two unexpected results. First, it appears the algae is not closely related to any of its expected evolutionary kin, but is instead biologically distinct. Second, the genes are so unique that the scientists consider the algae to be extremely ancient—perhaps a billion years old or more. “These green algae are among the earliest . . . if not the earliest diverging lineage of green plants,” Zechman explains.

The team has therefore dubbed the algae a “living fossil” even though it is not known from the fossil record. The alternative, creationist explanation is that the tree of evolution is a flawed model of biological origins, because not all organisms are genetically related—life is more like an “orchard” than a tree. Distinct forms of life most likely represent unique creations of God during Creation Week, not “primitive” or “ancient” life-forms. Furthermore, if the evolutionists were right that the algae are living fossils, it would merely be another case of an organism having changed little in hundreds of millions of years.

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