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LUCA Considered Earth’s Original Ancestor Says University of Montreal

on December 20, 2008
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PhysOrg: “Earth’s Original Ancestor was LUCA, Study on Origins of Life” LUCA: I am your father?

From the University of Montreal comes “another argument against intelligent design,” if the press releases can be believed.

"Our data suggests that LUCA was actually sensitive to warmer temperatures and lived in a climate below 50 degrees.”

Québécois and French researchers have published a new study in Nature postulating the characteristics of the so-called “Last Universal Common Ancestor” of all life, or LUCA. But the press release notes that the “3.8-billion-year-old organism was not the creature usually imagined” and that the study “changes ideas of early life on Earth.”

But just how, you ask? Study coauthor Nicolas Lartillot, a professor of bioinformatics at the University of Montreal, reports, “It is generally believed that LUCA was a heat-loving or hyperthermophilic organism. . . . However, our data suggests that LUCA was actually sensitive to warmer temperatures and lived in a climate below 50 degrees.”

And what data is that, you ask? Lartillot continues, “We identified common genetic traits between animals, plant, bacteria, and used them to create a tree of life with branches representing separate species. These all stemmed from the same trunk—LUCA, the genetic makeup that we then further characterized.” In other words, whatever we all have in common, that must have been what LUCA was.

According to the release, the research supports the idea that earliest life on earth used RNA as opposed to DNA, though the release doesn’t explain how. But there’s a twist, as the release reveals:

RNA is particularly sensitive to heat and is unlikely to be stable in the hot temperatures of the early Earth. The data of Dr. Lartillot with his collaborators indicate that LUCA found a cooler micro-climate to develop, which helps resolve this paradox and shows that environmental micro domains played a critical role in the development of life on Earth.

What it sounds like to us is that the evolution-driven conclusions of these researchers run completely contrary to what evolutionists believe about the early earth. To solve the problem, they posit cooler “micro-climates,” without any evidence, that conveniently bypass the contradiction. Now that takes faith!

So far even the most widely accepted evolutionary scenarios for the origin of life rely completely on imagination and guesswork and are wholly based on presupposing that life evolved (e.g., by extrapolating back to the supposed LUCA). That actually doesn’t surprise us; when dealing with the unrepeatable past, operations science (experiments, repeatable results, falsifiable hypotheses) doesn’t work. It all comes down to presupposed stories about the past.


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