Common Descent

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Note: as of mid 2021, there are broken links on this page. For GULO, try [1]. The GULO gene enables some animals to synthesise their own Vitamin C internally. Humans have the gene, but it is broken — go figure!

Bruce (talk) 08:25, 24 May 2021 (AEST)


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Common Descent (CD) refers to the belief that organisms have an ancestor in common. For example, siblings, cousins and distant relatives of the same ethnic group share common descent, and when compared with members of a different ethnic group will exhibit evidence of common descent.

Evidence for the common descent of humans and other primates is frequently advanced.

Universal Common Descent (UCD) refers to the belief that all known living organisms have an ancestor in common.

Scientific discussion of the concept can be found at

A series of lessons teaching the biological background is found at

Discuss this at GULO lessons discussion.

Note (2022) These lessons have been archived due to the death of their maintainer, Larry Flammer, in December 2017. Archives can be found at here or here.

Note that CD and/or UCD do not of themselves prove evolution by "natural" processes.

If UCD is true, this would suggest that abiogenesis does not occur frequently, if at all.

Implications of human and other primate CD for Biblical creationists, should it be demonstrated to their satisfaction, are discussed at Theological Implications of Common Descent.

Radio-carbon dating methods may be relevant to efforts to debunk CD.


  • has some useful information on this subject.
  • How are the specimens explained? The easy way out is to say "it's all too confusing", and observe that some mistakes have been made in the past, in this area.
  • (the methodology explained here needs to be debunked to be able to reject CD)
  • How is the GULO gene explained?
  • What about Mungo Man?
  • One argument used on me on this subject in the last few days was: How do you know that one day they won't find out that C14 dating was wrong?