A recent discovery has surprised the scientists by unveiling a group of bacteria which hasn’t evolved since 2.3 billion years. The finding is a landmark achievement and shows the absence of evolution for longest-ever time. According to the researchers, these microorganisms present a proof of the extreme evolutionary stasis. Discovered by the scientists at University of California, these microorganisms have been procured off the coast of Australia. The study, funded by NASA, has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Although it seems that the finding is a contradiction of the Darwin’s hypothesis of evolution, the scientists think differently. The researchers opine that this absence of evolution, in fact, supports Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. Rock samples from the coastal waters of Western Australia were examined by the researchers and they found traces of microorganisms which were invisible under naked eye. Samples of the same organisms obtained from the same region from rocks which were about 2.3 billion years old were then studied by the researchers. When a comparison was made, the two samples exhibited similar shapes and chemistry. Apart from being the carbon copy of each other, the samples also resembled some modern sulfur bacteria which can be found off the coast of Chile.
J. William Schopf, a UCLA professor of earth, planetary and space sciences in the UCLA College who was the study’s lead author stated “It seems astounding that life has not evolved for more than 2 billion years — nearly half the history of the Earth. Given that evolution is a fact, this lack of evolution needs to be explained.” Schopf also mentioned that the organisms actually mutated like all other organisms but the mutations could not contribute in improving the organisms and thus didn’t pass on to future generations.
According to Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection, evolution in organisms occur as per the environmental changes. However, its reverse can explain the absence of evolution in these microorganisms. In deep sea water, the environmental conditions remained stable and thus the microorganisms didn’t evolve.