Chloroplast and other genes (was Lucy in Newsweek)

Bob Mesibov mesibov at SOUTHCOM.COM.AU
Fri Apr 9 10:36:29 CDT 2004

Richard Pyle wrote:

In other words, if we're going to attempt to reconstruct evolutionary
history, we are (for the most part) confined to the remnants of information
that have been passed from generation to generation over the history of life
on Earth.

Richard & I had an interesting off-list chat on this topic, and I think it's
important to clarify what he means here by 'evolutionary history'. 'Evolutionary
history' in this context is the history of descent of extant organisms, and
nothing else. Those 'remnants of information' in the genome tell us nothing
whatosever about the vast number of extinct life-forms, and nothing
whatosever about where, when and how of evolution. 'Evolutionary history' as
derived from the genome is a precis of a summary of an abstract of a
synopsis of the immensely complicated history of life on Earth.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery
Home address: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
Home phone: (03) 6437 1195

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