Ancestor of Plants Was Already Complex

A biologist thinks plants and algae have a common

Summary: A U. of Arkansas biologist has developed a sketch of what he
thinks the first common ancestor of plants and algae may have looked
like. The image by Fred Spiegel, professor of biological sciences, shows
the microscopic parts he thinks would have to be present in this common

The image was based on work done by Dana Price of Rutgers U. and
colleagues. They examined the genome of a freshwater microscopic
alga and saw evidence there that algae and plants have had a common
ancestor. This ancestor formed a merger between a protozon-like host
and a kind of bacteria called cynaobacterium which uses photosynthesis
to make energy. However, the scientists provided no idea as to what this
first alga looked like. "The work that Price and his group did nailed down
what the relationships are" between this organism, the algae and plants,
and all other eukaryotes (organisms that have a true nucleus in their
cells), Spiegel said.

The idea that plants and algae originated from a protozoan-like
organism and cyanbacteria is  not a new idea, and other scientists
have disagreed with it. These scientists have speculated that the
diversity and complexity of plants and algae argue for multiple events
where different organisms merged. Some plants have simple structures,
they say, and therefore must be more primitive than others.

After studying the genome of an obscure alga called Cyanophora, Price
and colleagues have concluded that this first alga arose “a billion to one
and a half billion” years ago and became an ancestor to a group of
organisms called Plantae. Plantae includes Cyanophora and a group of
algae that includes red seaweeds as well as a group that includes green
algae and land plants.

"The common ancestor of Plantae was an organism with very complex
cells and a complex life cycle," Spiegel said. While some members of
the Plantae group may be less complex, he added, they are simpler
because they lost parts, not because they originated that way.

(Photo of red alga from
Wikipedia, by Eric Guinther.)

To read the entire article and view the sketch, click on

Comment: Mr. Spiegel believes that all plants have a single ancestor.
This is an evolutionist notion, but strangely enough, neither the word
“evolve” nor any of its related forms appears in the Science Daily
article. For some reason, words like “derived,” “descended,” and
“originated” are used instead.

Apparently, not all scientists will agree with Spiegel’s conclusion. They
point to the complexity of plants and algae and argue for multiple
events. This suggestion is closer to
what creationists believe. The Bible
says, regarding the creation of plants on the third day, “
Let the land
produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear
fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds
” (Genesis 1:11). So,
there was no single ancestor of members of the plant kingdom but
several or many.

Still, Spiegel envisions his original ancestor of plants as already being
very complex. I believe he is correct in implying that plants that appear
to be less complex are not necessarily more primitive because genetics
does allow for organisms to lose information that may result in less
complexity, such as the cave fish that lost its eyes. However, the fact
that complexity can be found already in early organisms is a problem
for the theory of evolution. Even single eukaryote cells, though very
ancient according to the evolution timeline, are
complex, having a
nucleus, a cell membrane, ribosomes, mitochondria, and various other
parts that presumedly must all work together to allow the cell to

Sometimes even evolutionists will use the word “miracle” to describe the
origin of such complicated structures in early living things. We agree. It
takes miracles, and the answer to how miracles happened and continue
to happen is as close as your nearest Bible. We marvel at the Creator’s
wisdom when we observe His marvelous world. “
Oh, the depth of the
riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his
judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
" (Romans 11:33).

Even more, we are amazed at the plan of salvation which He has
devised, a plan no human could have thought up. To think that God
would send His only Son to Earth to live the life of a humble man
subjected to indignities and to be crucified on a cross for our sins, not
for any crimes He committed, is a hard-to-believe message. Yet God
gives us the faith to believe this Gospel and the promise of a blissful
eternity in His heavenly home.  “
I do believe; help me overcome my
” (Mark 9:24)

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How does the number of genes in a water flea compare to that
of humans?


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Surprisingly, the water flea has 30,907 genes.
That happens to be 5,000 more than we
humans have.  (Photo from

Discover (March, 2012)
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Editor and do not
necessarily represent
the views of the Lutheran
Science Institute. Please
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About Me - Warren Krug
The Editor

Decades ago I attended a
so-called Lutheran
university where I could
have lost my faith. The
science professors promoted
the theory of evolution and
made fun of anybody who
believed in the account of
creation as presented in
the book of Genesis.
Thanks be to God, some
creationist literature and
the Bible soon helped get
me back on the right track.
Ever since then I have
taken an active interest in
the creation/evolution

Background image from NASA