Ancient DNA Speaks
Evolutionists are still not facing the
challenge to Deep Time of ancient DNA
— Ancient DNA is shouting. He who has ears to hear, let him hear —
Glimpses of genomes past (Science, 5 Oct 2023). Simonti and Seale relish the fact that science can now sequence DNA from long-dead organisms, but they fail to respect the limits of this possibility.
Ancient DNA has radically altered our understanding of the evolutionary history of many plants and animals, as well as our own. It has revealed areas of our genomes that were inherited from closely related archaic hominins, granted insight into past ecosystems, and unveiled extinct species and populations from across the tree of life. Each sample of ancient DNA is a snapshot of a place and time, giving a brief glimpse into the past. A better understanding of the DNA that was inherited by modern individuals—and, sometimes more importantly, the DNA that wasn’t—can inform us about many evolutionary processes, including adaptation, speciation, and domestication.
Ancient DNA from Neanderthals said to have lived 50,000 to 70,000 years ago is widely accepted now (Live Science), even though in the 1990s that was thought impossible. While DNA from human ancestors in the recent past could provide clues to a society’s habits, as Michael Gross reported in Current Biology on September 25th, the farther back in time one goes, the more degraded the DNA and the less certain the interpretation.
How long can ancient DNA survive, and how much stuff do we need to escape poverty? (Science, 5 Oct 2023). This is a podcast by Science Magazine with Sarah Crespi, Erik Stokstad, and Katherine Irving that explores the lifetime of ancient DNA (see full transcript here in PDF). In the podcast at 19:15, Irving talks with Love Dalén about forces that degrade DNA over time:
Well, we know that DNA degrades over time, even long after the death of an organism when it’s kind of in a dry bone or similar. And the main process that degrades DNA is hydrolysis. So basically, the DNA reacts with the water. And even in dry state, there’s always a little bit of water in all samples. And so this kind of leads to a continuous degradation so that DNA follows kind of a half-life process where the fragment sizes become increasingly smaller and smaller.
Low temperature and darkness can extend the half-life, Dalén says, but he does not put an upper limit on the lifetime of DNA. Most samples date under 10,000 years, he says, which account for
well over 95% of all ancient DNA studies. But there are also a number of studies that have focused on the late Pleistocene, so let’s say the last 100,000 years. But when you move beyond 100,000 years, then there are just a handful of studies that have been done on such old samples. And so that is the time period that we in the paper define as being deep time paleogenomics that is beyond 100,000 years.
As such, he never answers the question about how long ancient DNA can survive. The “handful of studies” done on “deep time paleogeonomics” suggests that evolutionary paleontologists are not looking for it.
Deep-time paleogenomics and the limits of DNA survival (Love Dalén et al., Science, 5 Oct 2023). This is the formal paper in Science Magazine where Dalén should settle the issue: the maximum lifetime for ancient DNA. Does he?
DNA does not survive indefinitely but it does survive for considerably longer than predicted by the earliest models. In 1993, Lindahl estimated that hydrolytic depurination would lead to complete degradation of DNA molecules within several tens of thousands of years. This limit has since been exceeded, and DNA is regularly recovered from remains and sediments that date to within the last 100 ka. As of September 2023, the oldest reconstructed paleogenome is from a permafrost-preserved mammoth dating to between 1 and 2 Ma and the oldest isolated DNA is from ~2-Ma sediment from northern Greenland. However, the maximum age of recoverable and useful DNA molecules—those that are long enough to retain information—remains uncertain.
(Re: mammoth DNA, see 2 March 2022.) It appears that belief in Deep Time has superseded Lindahl’s accepted prediction back then that science could not recover DNA after a few tens of thousands of years. Rather than change the belief in deep time, they have changed the estimate about how long DNA can survive. In 2021, Dalen posited 2.6 million years as an upper limit, given that permafrost from the presumed Ice Age began around that time. “Before that, it was too warm,” he claimed (19 Feb 2021).
In the current paper, Dalén et al. recognize that radiocarbon is of no help corroborating the dates, since it is all gone by 50,000 years. But since scientists just “know” within their hearts that evolution is true, they can be surprised by ancient DNA that (according to their timeline) is two orders of magnitude older than what Lindahl had proposed as a limit. For this reason, perhaps, Dalén seems reluctant to cite any empirical studies that put an upper limit on ancient DNA.
Here’s the logic of the Darwin Party: (1) Evolution is a fact! (2) Evolution needs Deep Time; therefore, (3) Deep Time is a fact! (4) Because we KNOW these things, any observation that puts upper limits on Deep Time must be explained away.
Darwinians make good use of Maier’s Law, one of the humorous “laws” devised by researchers after Murphy’s Law became popular.
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
1. The bigger the theory, the better.
2. The experiments may be considered a success if no more than 50% of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence with the theory.
Darwin’s Law is another:
Nature will tell you a direct lie if she can.
So will Darwinists.
Then there is Hawkin’s Theory of Progress:
Progress does not consist in replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is right. It consists in replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is more subtly wrong.
By the way, ancient DNA has been recovered from dinosaur bones (28 Feb 2020). Was that enough to make the Darwin Party admit defeat and become young earth creationists? Three guesses. Read the link from 28 Feb 2020 and find out.