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No. 47: Sep-Oct 1986

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Heretical Evolutionary Theory

"Over the past 15 years, away from the limelight of mainstream evolutionary argument, cell biologists have been debating a concept that is fundamental to our understanding of how cells evolved. It is the proposal that some of the structures that are found in the larger cells of animals, plants and fungi (eukaryotic cells) are the descendants of simpler bacteria-like organisms (prokaryotic cells) that had at some stage entered into an intracellular existence, or endosymbiosis. The idea is not a new one, but only in the light of modern experimental evidence has it become acceptable to many biologists. If the hypothesis is correct, then virtually all the major groups of familiar organisms originated 'suddenly' through endosymbiotic associations."

Following this lead paragraph, with its paradigm-shaking final sentence, are three pages summarizing the biological evidence favoring evolution by endosymbiosis.

(Kite, Geoffrey; "Evolution by Symbiosis; The Inside Story," New Scientist, p. 50, July 3, 1986.)

Comment. We cannot possibly do justice to this exciting idea of evolution forced by the uniting of different organisms in the limited format of Science Frontiers. Instead, we encourage readers to purchase a new book by L. Margulis and D. Sagan (son of Carl Sagan and L. Margulis) entitled Micro Cosmos.

In passing, we must also remark on the obvious relationship of endosymbiosis to F. Hoyle's "evolution from outer space." Hoyle believes that microorganisms and other biological information are transported in cosmic debris.

Finally, the story of Lynn Margulis' uphill fight against scientific skepticism is related in:

(Keller, Evelyn Fox; "One Woman and Her Theory," New Scientist, p. 46, July 3, 1986.)

Serial symbiosis; bacterium to alga Serial symbiosis; bacterium to alga to alga; may have led to chloroplasts.

From Science Frontiers #47, SEP-OCT 1986. 1986-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987