Australia – Evolution’s Test Lab


gondwanaland map 200 million years ago

200 million years ago

I’ve been giving this a lot of thought recently and I’m pretty certain that in the matter of the evolution of life on this planet Australia was the original test lab.  Stay with me for a moment here ’cause honest it’s not as crazy as it sounds.  Around 200 million years ago the continent of Australia was still part of the large landmass we now call Gondwanaland when the waters surrounding it began to rise.

It was at this point that we find the first indications of life leaving the ocean and walking on the land.  In fact it was smack bang on what is now the coast of Western Australia that scientists believe that the first vertebrate animal evolved in the ocean [jawless fish who evolved in the massive inland sea due to the rising waters].

 

Australia Today

Australia Today

All of which is fascinating no doubt but it does go to provide at least a little credibility to my idea of a test lab for evolution right in the middle of Australia.  There are just so many animals here that don’t make sense and do not relate in any true way to others around the world or if they do it is only in the smallest of characteristics.  I know, I know every country has their native animals that are unique to their climate and yada yada yada BUT they also as a rule fit into types, species and family that allow them to be classified using distinctive characteristics. [Linnaean system of classification]

45304.tag.1

 

Australia on the other hand takes that system and just flushes it down the proverbial crapper and then if that is not enough insult it proceeds to produce a variety of most deadly variations of those few examples of fauna that can be classified.  This theory came into clear focus yesterday after reading and then posting about the Jumping Peacock Spider.

godScientistIt’s as if that great scientist in the sky set up shop in Australia to see what would work and what wouldn’t.  Some things evolved the way they should and others didn’t, some worked and others while working just didn’t seem practical and some I’m pretty sure were just for fun.  After playing in the petri dish that became Australia this scientist decides to take his show on the road.  Dusting off his hands and collecting up the samples with which he is most pleased and toddles off to Africa to start the whole process using the results of his experiments in Australia.

conspiracy-theories-death01Small problem, which becomes a bit of an embarrassment millennium later is that on leaving the lab – he forgot to clean up.  Some time after that Australia became fully separated from Gondwanaland and then finally from Papua New Guinea and as a result the LAB ANIMALS have the perfect isolated environment in which to evolve into the myriad of creatures that we have today.

The whole reason we have so many of a variety of things such as ants [1300 species here in Oz], snakes [175 species, 100 of which are venomous] and spiders [10 000 species out of 35000 world wide are only found in Australia] makes sense if Australia was actually a test lab.  If it was, in fact, where all the different possibilities regarding evolution were looked at, measured and decided if to pursue or not, especially if said lab was not cleaned up afterward and the remaining biological petri dishes were allowed to pursue their own evolutionary paths.

platypus 2I mean LOOK at the platypus, it’s a mammal but lays eggs, it has fur but also webbed feet and a ducks bill and can live in OR out of the water – go on try and tell me that happened outside of a lab or at least without some sort of conscious effort [although it does appear that is may be an example of the dangers of working while stoned]. As for some of the marine life – just don’t get me started on the variety of the weird and the wonderful.

This country, the oldest continent on the planet, hosts such a variety of the beautiful, the ugly, the strange and the deadly. It is a gift like no other and like a gift it should be treasured and treated with the respect such a gift deserves.  So evolution, test lab, miracle or something else entirely, it doesn’t really matter in the end, what matters is doing what we can to preserve and protect all of this planets life so that it may continue and that we will continue also.

21 thoughts on “Australia – Evolution’s Test Lab

  1. Pingback: A Thorny Thought for Thursday | Unload and Unwind

  2. Cool! Neat idea. I enjoy big theories like that – sort of thinking outside the box. It gets the juices flowing and allows different perspectives. For some reason your theory reminds me of “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”. There are similarities there. One of the underlying basic principals of existence that everyone takes for granted is that everything comes from somewhere. All that exists has a predecessor. The idea that similar species in different parts of the world evolved simultaneously is not statistically reasonable. Therefore it stands to reason that life evolved in a central location and spread – and indeed there seems ot be evidence of that from fossil remains. That would mean that the central pont is different in nature from the rest of the world – by definition (i.e. life developed there and no where else). And one would expect to see some remaining species distinction there (either species that evolved but weren’t strong enough to adapt to other locations or species that were too specialized to spread) It would also be logical that the point of evolution would contain more variations of some species as there would have been more time for differentiation (i.e. your spiders and snakes).

    All in all your idea certainly bears some merit – at least there doesn’t appear to be any reason why it couldn’t be true – the first test of a theory. Thanks Jenni for the brain food! It’s fun to think about stuff like this.

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    • Thanks – it sounds silly but it also sounds in the realm of plausible if you include the concept of purpose driven evolution rather than natural selection. Both of which are cool ideas however if you combine both it is much more interesting – plus fun – to consider.

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      • I agree that the combination of purpose driven and natural selection certainly seems to me to best fit the evidence around us. That’s a really long discussion, but I’ll leave you with this: as much as I am convinced that the Earth was the “shipyards” (so to speak) where humans were built, I’m not convinced that the design came from exclusively from this planet. There are a number of niggling little details that bother me. One is that according to natural selection, no human physical characteristic should develop without an environmental input. And yet these bodies work almost as well in a gravity free environment (i.e. space) as they do in gravity. And yet until a few years ago, we had never experienced a gravity free environment. How could we have evolved to function in that environment? That fits well with a purpose driven evolution. Definitely bears pondering. Have a great day/night Jenni! (it’s 7:13 am Thursday mroning here)

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      • 9.15 Thursday night here in Oz. You have a good day and I’m now going to be pondering the idea of aliens etc which actually falls into places with a paper I read about life from other planets [microscopic] embedded in asteroids may survive entry into our atmosphere and eventually play a part in the evolution of this planet – IF they haven’t already done so.

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  3. The platypus lays eggs? Isn’t it a mammal.. You folks have some of the wildest animals around and I’m not including Mel Gibson….

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  4. LOL, that was great fun to read! Australia really is a fascinating place. Recently I was listening to some men talk about evolution, Australia, and how we must have come from cave men. It got a bit amusing because the more they talked, the less I was buying the evolution part. Oh, we came from cave men alright, it’s just the “having evolved” part that I hesitate about. They may have been huddled around a gas grill, but the obsession over meat, the hunt, the prey, could have been happening thousands of years ago and it wouldn’t have felt out of place 🙂

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  5. Gee, I always thought that the Platypus, Giraffe,were what GOD had left over when he finished making all the animals of the earth. You know he must have had a great day putting together the Horse and he was obviously sad when he made the Hippo.He’s creativity just ran out when he discovered that all that was left in his tool box was a extra long neck, purple tongue,a pair of webbed feet, the warm woolly coat, some webbed feet a set of fur covered horns and duck bill… He had to use it all so the Platypus and Giraffe are really his best work of all, nothing noble or majestic or terrifying about them… They are just are what they are, lovely, for a bag of spare parts.

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  6. A very thought provoking piece you have entered. After reading your post and the shared comments, I think Australia deserves an award for this natural achievement. Who knows what else the test lab is still operating and evolving.

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    • That’s a good point – and since the Jumping Peacock spider was discovered until 1994 it appears that it MAY still be ongoing. Very interesting.!!

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      • To add, that was just on land, correct?

        Imagine what is floating and swimming in the waters around your island….

        HIGHLY fascinating to think about. Not even down under, but swimming all around Mother Earth’s bathtub.

        Thank you for sharing, Jenni.

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      • I know – people forget that we are not the be all and end all of evolution. It hasn’t stopped and we are not a finished product nor is this planet and all it holds. 🙂

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