Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Refuting Creationism - It's Yet Another of Those 'Missing' Links!

Scanning electron micrographs of Fensomea setacea, gen. & sp. nov. (GeoB*184) in (A, B) ventral view, (C) left lateral view, (D) right lateral view, (E) dorsal view, and (F) ventral apical view. Scale bars = 5 µm.
Phytoplankton: The discovery of a missing link - LMU München

Here is yet another example of scientists refuting Creationist dogma simply by discovering the facts. This is easily done of course, without the slightest intent on the part of the scientists because the facts are invariably at odds with evidence-free, superstition-based Creationism, so we would expect the facts and the truth to expose the fallacies and lies Creationist frauds fool their credulous dupes with.

In this case, the dogma refuted is that there are no missing links. The facts reported by the scientists based at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany, is that they have discovered a 'missing link' between the two major phylogenetic groups of unicellular algae known as the dinophytes or dinoflagellates, which sheds new light on the evolution of these organisms.

Missing links at the unicellular organism level might not sound significant to those who, like Creationists, don't understand taxonomic levels, but they are no less significant, or 'transitional', than would be 'missing links' between, for example, chimpanzees and hominins or between old world monkeys and the African great apes. The point is that these organisms lie at the origin of two different taxonomies or branches of the evolutionary tree.
As the Ludwig-Maxillians University news release explains:
Missing links have made many important contributions to the understanding of evolution. Among the best known examples among macrofauna are the Urvogel Archaeopteryx and the coelacanth (Latimeria). But the recognition and documentation of a living missing link in the microscopic domain is also highly significant. Up to now, the Cladopyxidaceae have been classified within the Gonyaulacales, while other Dinophyceae with a comparable hyposome were assigned to the Peridiniales. Thanks to the recognition of this missing link, we have now shown that these are misaassignments. Based on our work the two large groups can now be morphologically defined in a more coherent manner, which clarifies their evolutionary history. The modern Cladopyxidaceae are most probably quite similar to the last common ancestor of all dinophytes, which originated about 200 million years ago. They are the last suvivors of a group that was much more abundant during the times of the dinosaurs.

Marc Gottschling, first author
Department of Biology: Systematics, Biodiversity & Evolution of Plants,
GeoBio Center
Ludwig‐Maximilians University, München, Germany
Over the course of evolutionary time, marine microorganisms have undergone an immense range of diversification. This applies in particular to the group known as dinophytes. Also known as dinoflagellates, these unicellular algae can account for a significant fraction of the phytoplankton in the oceans, and their ecological and economic significance is correspondingly high. A team of researchers led by LMU biologist Professor Marc Gottschling now reports the identification of a missing link between the two major phylogenetic groups of dinophytes, which sheds new light on the evolution of these organisms.

Many dinophytes are characterized by a bipartite protective structure called a theca, which consists of cellulosic plates synthesized in specialized vesicles that lie immediately below the plasma membrane. The patterning of the plates is often species- and group specific. In the new study, Gottschling and his colleagues focused on a monoclonal dinophyte strain that had been assigned to the Cladopyxidaceae. Using a combination of morphological analysis by electron microscopy and genetic characterization (by ribosomal RNA sequencing), they discovered – much to their surprise – that its phylogenetic position reveals it to be a ‘missing link’ between the two major groups of thecate dinophytes – the Gonyaulacales and the Peridiniales. In addition, the study showed that this dinophyte represents a new genus and species, which they named Fensomea setacea in honor of the micropaleontologist Robert A. Fensome.
The group's findings are published, open access in Scientific Reports:
Dinophyte evolution is essentially inferred from the pattern of thecal plates, and two different labelling systems are used for the important subgroups Gonyaulacales and Peridiniales. The partiform hypotheca of cladopyxidoid dinophytes fits into the morphological concepts of neither group, although they are assigned to the Gonyaulacales. Here, we describe the thecate dinophyte Fensomea setacea, gen. & sp. nov., which has a cladopyxidoid tabulation. The cells displayed a Kofoidean plate formula APC, 3′, 4a, 7″, 7C, 6S, 6′′′, 2′′′′, and slender processes were randomly distributed over the echinate or baculate surface. In addition, we obtained rRNA sequences of F. setacea, gen. & sp. nov., but dinophytes that exhibit a partiform hypotheca did not show a close relationship to Gonyaulacales. Character evolution of thecate dinophytes may have progressed from the ancestral state of six postcingular plates, and two more or less symmetrically arranged antapical plates, towards patterns of only five postcingular plates (Peridiniales) or more asymmetrical configurations (Gonyaulacales). Based on our phylogenetic reconsiderations the contact between the posterior sulcal plate and the first postcingular plate, as well as the contact between an antapical plate and the distalmost postcingular plate, do not represent a rare, specialized gonyaulacoid plate configuration (i.e., the partiform hypotheca of cladopyxidoid dinophytes). Instead, these contacts correspond to the common and regular configuration of peridinioid (and other) dinophytes.

Incidentally, Creationists who have been fooled into believing that the Theory of Evolution is a theory in crisis, might like to consider the central role it plays in the thinking of these biologists and how it explains the observable evidence. Nowhere do the researchers show signs of considering that their findings support the childish notion of magic special creation or organisms which have since remained unchanged or are 'devolving' (© 2019; Michael J Behe/Discovery Institute). Like millions of other biomedical scientists, these professionals recognise the TOE as central to their understanding of the processes that produce speciation and biodiversity.

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