May 11, 2013 | David F. Coppedge

Buried Treasure Found Under the Ocean: DNA

The most information-rich medium known to man has been found in abundance under the sea, but man didn’t put it there.

In “Ancient DNA Found Hidden Below Sea Floor,” Traci Watson described for Science Now what deep-sea explorers have found in the abyssal plains of the Atlantic, 3 miles below the ocean surface:

In the middle of the South Atlantic, there’s a patch of sea almost devoid of life. There are no birds, few fish, not even much plankton. But researchers report that they’ve found buried treasure under the empty waters: ancient DNA hidden in the muck of the sea floor, which lies 5000 meters below the waves.

The DNA is contained in fossils of foraminifera, radiolarians and other planktonic creatures that have settled to the sea floor.  Pedro Martinez Arbizu, a deep-sea biologist of the German Centre for Marine Biodiversity Research, said, “We have been able to show that the deep sea is the largest long-time archive of DNA, and a major window to study past biodiversity.”  It’s like finding a new fossil record.

Some of the 169 forams and 21 radiolarian species were unknown.  Even species without hard shelly parts yielded DNA.  A British scientist said, “These records are telling you new information that wasn’t found in the fossil record.”

Another team found traces of DNA from 2700 species in the shallower bottom of the Black Sea, including DNA from algae, fungi, and dinoflagellates.  Scientists expected that DNA could not survive exposure to oxygen, but apparently newer material cut off the oxygen from deeper sediments, preserving the genetic material.  Watson said, “more recent Black Sea sediments weren’t exposed to oxygen at all.”

The Black Sea team claims the sediments are 9,600 years old; the Atlantic team claims the DNA they collected is 32,500 years old.  The article did not explain the dates, but suggested that they were estimated from “first appearance” of certain species according to evolutionary assumptions.

Two observations should jump out at this announcement.  One is that even with evolutionary assumptions, they are only claiming a 32,500-year maximum date for what they found.  That’s a tiny fraction of the millions and billions of years they assume plankton should have been settling onto the sea floor.  If the DNA is protected from oxygen by what lies above it, why didn’t they find DNA hundreds of thousands or millions of years old?  After all, evolutionists explain away dinosaur soft tissue by claiming it can last over 70 million years.  More likely, the DNA is even younger than they think.  It could not survive degradation, under ideal conditions, for more than a few thousand years.

The other observation is the remarkable difference between minerals and information.  Non-living rocks and mud are composed of relatively simple mineral compounds that carry no message.  DNA, by contrast, bears information — the wherewithal to build a complex organism like a radiolarian or foram, with all its molecular motors, digestive, respiratory, and excretion systems.  Some of the shells of these creatures look like cathedrals or spaceships.  What a thought that information is still present in this dark, cold, otherwise sterile realm.  It’s like finding books inside a cave, or hard drives on the moon.  The best explanation (from our common experience) for information-rich systems is intelligent design.





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