Scientists Discover Life’s Common Ancestor, An Ancient Living Ocean » No Unsacred Place

In my latest post over on No Unsacred Place, I talk about the exciting discoveries of recent genetic research into LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor of all life on earth, and what parallels we can draw to ancient creation stories about the divine origins of life from cultures all over the world:

As people living in a modern society informed by the discoveries of science, we have a tendency to think of cosmogonic (literally, “order-begetting”) myths as made-up stories that our ancestors turned to for explanation in their ignorance of the facts. Particular creation myths might be moving, beautiful or meaningful for us, and so true in some deeply metaphorical way, but most of us shy away from claiming that these stories must therefore be factual accounts of what actually happened. Instead, science offers us evidence in support of theories like evolution and the Big Bang to explain how the world came into existence and life evolved into the myriad species we see today.

But what if science uncovered evidence that these ancient creation stories might just have gotten some of the facts right after all? That’s looking more and more likely, according to geneticists seeking clues to the origin of life on this planet in the shared genetic traits of plants, animals, bacteria and microorganisms known as archaea. Piecing together the puzzle of evolution over the past several billion years, scientists now believe that our last common ancestor may have been a planet-wide “mega-organism” so huge that it was the size of the sea itself.

So what did the old creation myths get right? What place do themes of chaos, interconnection, self-sufficiency and dismemberment play in both ancient stories about the making of the world and the scientific theories of modern evolutionary biology?

You can read the full article here.

Alison Leigh Lilly
Alison Leigh Lilly nurtures the earth-rooted, sea-soaked, mist-and-mystic spiritual heritage of her Celtic ancestors, exploring themes of peace, poesis and wilderness through essays, articles, poetry and podcasting. You can learn more about her work here.