"A New Tree of Life"
Jul 20, 1996 10:22 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker
Following is some information on the branchings of
different types of life, taken from DISCOVER Magazine,
and some speculations trying to link the information
to theosophical concepts. Any additional scientific
information or theosophical concepts that would be
useful in this regard would be appreciated.
As a speculation, this is not the "final word" on
the subject, and I expect some of the ideas to be
still in formulation and possibly wrong. Even so,
it would be interesting to work through the materials
to see how far they can be taken.
In the June 1996 DISCOVER Magazine is a one-page article
entitled "A New Tree of Life". It suggests that all
(physical) life has a common ancestor two billion years
The article has a graph that shows six groups of lives
and when they might have branched off from a common
ancestor. These six groups are (in order of earliest
The article says "Microfossils found in 3.5 billion year
old rocks in Austriala show that the first living things
were prokaryotes, like today's bacteria..."
The tree delinated in the article was pased upon an
examination of 57 proteins (enzymes) found in most living
things. A comparison as to how much the amino acid
sequences of these enzymes differed among assorted forms
of life was used to tell how closedly related certain
groups were. There is, in the article, additional detail
as to how the chart was arrived at.
The timings of the branchings were given as:
bacteria -- 3,500 million years ago
archaea -- 2,000 million years ago
protists -- 1,800 million years ago
plants -- 1,200 million years ago
fungi -- 1,000 million years ago
animals -- 965 million years ago
The only additional figure we might want to add would
be where the human stock braches off from the animal.
If we wanted to enhance this model to include kingdoms
include in Theosophy, we would have:
4 mineral -- 4,600 million years ago (???)
5 bacteria -- 3,500 million years ago
6 archaea -- 2,000 million years ago
7 protists -- 1,800 million years ago
8 plants -- 1,200 million years ago
9 fungi -- 1,000 million years ago
10 animals -- 965 million years ago
11 human -- 2 million years ago (???)
12 dc #1 -- tbd
13 dc #2 -- tbd
14 dc #3 -- tbd
It's interesting that fungi comes after plants, out
of order from how the theosophical kingdoms were
ordered, and that there are, including it, four
other organic "kingdoms".
I'd like to see some other figures (like for the
formation of physical earth, and the latest figures
on the origination of humanity. Another item of
interest would be if there were any astronomical
time periods in the early formulation of the earth
before it settled into the solid-crusted planet
that it is, periods that might correspond to the
"elemental" kingdom originations.
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application