Two of the Rings of Life.

A consilient view on Eukaryotic Origins

Today we published a manuscript that summarises the current knowledge of the evolutionary history of the cellular life forms on the planet.

This is not an easy task and involved evaluating a lot of manuscripts to see what they had to say on the matter.

Fortunately, there are many different kinds of data that can be examined to see if there is a measure of support for some hypotheses over others. It turns out that when you do this kind of meta analysis, you get quite a bit of evidence pointing towards a few different models and you get quite a bit of conflict with other models.

In the end it became obvious that the evidence for autogeneous origins of eukaryotes have been based on some very shaky data, or in some cases, only on the argument that this is nature’s default. This would mean that you felt that Nature has a default mode of operation.

It doesn’t.

You can read about the detail in the full paper, but if we are correct on this, then it should mean that there is a significant apraisal in the textbooks of what we consider to be the default for evolution.


McInerney, J.O., O’Connell, M.J., and Pisani, D. (2014) The hybrid nature of the Eukaryota and a consilient view of life on Earth. Nature Reviews Microbiology (2014) doi:10.1038/nrmicro3271.

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