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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

What is the point of evolution in bacteria?


This is yet another question I was asked. The idea was that bacteria aren’t becoming complex organisms “on the way”, so what is the point?

This is like another question often asked by sceptics “If humans evolved from monkeys, how come there are no monkeys becoming humans nowadays?” The Earth is a rich place, rich with resources, rich with diversity. Humans did not evolve from monkeys, it’s not like monkeys are living in the past and we are living in the present. We all live in the present, and monkeys have spent time evolving like we have. Monkeys are adapted to their environment, and we are to ours, and bacteria are to theirs. Could you live off bananas, in a tree? Could you turn water, carbon dioxide and light into food? No. There are many different niches on Earth, each of which is inhabited by different organisms. Hot springs, dry deserts, deep oceans, high mountains and an airplane are all very different places. Why would there only be one species?? We are complex for our environment, but we are not universally adaptable to anything. We CAN live in deep oceans, but that’s not our home address.

Back to the question. The point of evolution in bacteria is to have bacteria live. If that so happens to increase their complexity due to their environment and the selection pressures present (which are due to more basic, chemical or physical factors and properties), then that’s just a side effect. Food for thought.

2 comments:

  1. My question regarding bacteria was about "How" evolution exerts itself on bacteria compared to multicellular species; I never said "why"! In another word, I'm not skeptic of evolution at all but I'm considering myself one of many who want to fine tune the definition of evolution.
    Evolution is our generalization of the following;
    A) In fact the laws of subatomic physics govern the electron-orbital sharing to occur in the spacetime sequencing. Therefore all molecular events, including organic ones, are governed by these laws.

    B) Also the laws of electro-thermodynamics result in consequential (evolutionary) events in protoplasm/cytoplasm or any other biologically noticeable event. DNA, RNA, enzymes, buffers, cytoplasm, proteins,neural fluxing,,,,,,are all products & outcomes of the (A) & (B) together. What we call evolution is nothing but the consequences of these laws at work but during geo-ecosystemic time periods. Cheers

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  2. I agree with you there...

    But why anonymous? :P

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