Tiktaalik, the Fish, Sheds New Clues on the Origin of Life and Land Mammals

For decades, scientists around the world have been on the relentless quest to ultimately research and solve the greatest mystery surrounding the origin of life. They have built, developed, and simulated many different experiments and hypotheses detailing and explaining the origin of life and the evolution of land mammals.

Some hypotheses have been useless and meaningless, but some have proven to be of little credible, such as the Stanley L. Miller’s experiment, known as the Miller–Urey experiment, on which he simulated and generated five amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, which are critical to life. Also, for centuries, humans have wondered the origin of land mammals and their evolutionary process. Where they have come from, how they were formed and their transformation to being land animals.

On October 16 and 17, 2008, The New York Times published two articles, respectively, titled; ‘Fish Fossil Yields Anatomical Clues on How Animals of the Sea Made It to Land’ and ‘From Old Vials, New Hints on Origin of Life’. In these two articles, the authors have detailed new evidences and discoveries that exemplify Stanley L. Miller’s experiment and the evolutionary transformation of water fishes to land mammals. The articles explore the fundamental factors that caused life to appear on earth, the origin of life, and the origin of land animals and mammals.

I am not sure whether I agree with the findings or the content of these articles, and I don’t want to contradict myself due my Christian belief, my belief in Creationism, but I will approach these two issues with an open mind, from a scientific point of view.

The 16th century British playwright, Ben Jonson, has been credited for inventing the old proverb, “curiosity killed the cat”, in his 1598 play, Every Man in His Humor, performed first by British playwright William Shakespeare. “This proverb is used to warn against being too inquisitive lest one comes to harm. A less frequent rejoinder to ‘curiosity killed the cat’ is ‘satisfaction brought it back” (Wikipedia.org).

Given the science-discovery rush, like any other industry, where every person wants to be noticed and recognized for his or her ingenuity. However, even if my belief dictates otherwise, the ultimate question remains about where we stop with our curiosity. Obviously, there will never be an answer to that question, but, what if we continue to explore and discover, what will we discover next? Will our next scientific discovery about the origin of life harm us or help us? How far can we go? As the proverb says, curiosity killed the cat, can we possibly one day harm ourselves with these kind of experiments?

Stanley Miller, in his experiment, he claim to have discovered five amino acids, not 20 amino acids, which are needed to make life, but he did discovered five of them at that time. But as the article states that, because of the old redundant and primitive technique and technology he used at the time, he was unable to discover the remaining eighteen amino acids, which were discovered years later by Dr. Banda. “Dr. Jeffrey L. Bada of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, who had been one of Dr. Miller’s graduate students, discovered cardboard boxes containing hundreds of vials of dried residues collected from the experiments conducted in 1953 and 1954”, states the article..

The total amino acids simulated by Stanley Miller came to be 22, surpassing the total 20, which are needed to make life. But, as the article states, the question still remains whether ecological and temperature, then and or now, was adequate enough to completely simulate or generate actual amino acids as needed to create life, or was life originated from outer space, as the article states? “The discovery of amino acids in meteorites suggested that the building blocks of life came from space, eliminating the need for finding chemical processes that could produce them on Earth.”



The second article examines the new findings of the fish fossil that lived 375 million years ago. The fossil revealed new findings, such as the body structure of the fish, from head to its fins. How the fish, known as Tiktaalik (pronounced tic-TAH-lick), evolved from being a water fish to becoming a land animal. “There was much more to the complex transition than fins evolving into sturdy limbs. The head and braincase were changing, a mobile neck was emerging and a bone associated with underwater feeding and gill respiration was diminishing in size, a beginning of the bone’s adaptation for an eventual role in hearing for land animals”, states the article.

My conclusion is that The New York Times found these articles credible enough that they decided to publish them in their most revered newspaper, but not just in their paper, but in the A section of the newspaper. The articles seem relevant, because they state new discoveries in the quest of explaining how life came to be and the evolution of mammals on earth.

For me, I take these explanations as they are, but not actually believe everything as written in them, especially the simulation for the origin of life. I believe that God is the creator of life; the Bible does not actually detail any scientific theory of how God created life. But I believe as it’s written in the Bible without questioning its motive.

As a Web developer, I can create a social networking platform using different technologies, such as .PHP, HTML, MySQL, etc., which I then upload onto the server, and allow web users to register with the system, allowing them to create and build their own web pages, using any style and different methods to decorate their pages on the same platform. Each web user builds his or her own web page from that one platform, and can regenerate into millions of web pages, based on the number of users building pages on the platform.

Just as a Web developer, I believe that God created the world and everything in it, as a massive platform, and we simply regenerate by way of reproduction and our socioeconomic development further develops the platform, our planet. Building upon the platform God has given us and we simply multiply and build massive of many things, with no limitation, but all are based on that one platform, earth.

For a web site, there is a webmaster, someone who occasionally maintains the site, observes its operation and updates whatever is required. In this case, God is the master of our planet and our existence. That’s my belief. And, until scientists discover where someone goes after he or she dies, the world beyond, the afterlife, then I can surely without any doubt believe in scientific proof of the origin of life on earth and the afterlife.


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