Thursday, April 06, 2006


if you want to see me turn purple with rage, just start arguing and defending any kind of Creationist/biblethump/ignorant/ CHRISTOFASCIST/"we're a persecuted minority" party line. i cannot abide with the Willfully Stoopid.

Fossil Called Missing Link From Sea to Land Animals

Published: April 6, 2006/NEW YORK TIMES

Scientists have discovered fossils of a 375-million-year-old fish, a large scaly creature not seen before, that they say is a long-sought missing link in the evolution of some fishes from water to a life walking on four limbs on land.

In two reports today in the journal Nature, a team of scientists led by Neil H. Shubin of the University of Chicago say they have uncovered several well-preserved skeletons of the fossil fish in sediments of former streambeds in the Canadian Arctic, 600 miles from the North Pole.

The skeletons have the fins, scales and other attributes of a giant fish, four to nine feet long. But on closer examination, the scientists found telling anatomical traits of a transitional creature, a fish that is still a fish but has changes that anticipate the emergence of land animals — and is thus a predecessor of amphibians, reptiles and dinosaurs, mammals and eventually humans.

In the fishes' forward fins, the scientists found evidence of limbs in the making. There are the beginnings of digits, proto-wrists, elbows and shoulders. The fish also had a flat skull resembling a crocodile's, a neck, ribs and other parts that were similar to four-legged land animals known as tetrapods.

Other scientists said that in addition to confirming elements of a major transition in evolution, the fossils were a powerful rebuttal to religious creationists, who have long argued that the absence of such transitional creatures are a serious weakness in Darwin's theory.

The discovery team called the fossils the most compelling examples yet of an animal that was at the cusp of the fish-tetrapod transition. The fish has been named Tiktaalik roseae, at the suggestion of elders of Canada's Nunavut Territory. Tiktaalik (pronounced tic-TAH-lick) means "large shallow water fish."

"The origin of limbs," Dr. Shubin's team wrote, "probably involved the elaboration and proliferation of features already present in the fins of fish such as Tiktaalik."

In an interview, Dr. Shubin, an evolutionary biologist, let himself go. "It's a really amazing, remarkable intermediate fossil," he said. "It's like, holy cow."

Dr. Shubin's team played down the fossil's significance in the raging debate over Darwinian theory, which is opposed mainly by some conservative Christians in this country, but other scientists were not so reticent. They said this should undercut the argument that there is no evidence in the fossil record of one kind of creature becoming another kind.

One creationist site on the Web ( /evid1.htm) declares that "there are no transitional forms," adding: "For example, not a single fossil with part fins, part feet has been found. And this is true between every major plant and animal kind."

Dr. Novacek responded: "We've got Archaeopteryx, an early whale that lived on land, and now this animal showing the transition from fish to tetrapod. What more do we need from the fossil record to show that the creationists are flatly wrong?"


NP: SPUTNIK/"Rappaport" (added some parts last night on this song, and it's now looped in my head)



Blogger mr blur said...

But...but... how can this be? The Earth is only 6,000 years old.

History was exactly like it shows in The Flintstones, people riding around on dinosaurs and... no, sorry, can't go on.

Round them all up and put them on a big island somewhere and leave them alone to wait for the rapture or whatever gets them orgasmic.

Fuck freedom to believe and all that - these people are making the planet dumber.

1:56 PM  
Blogger CBeezwax said...

agreed. in fact, my brother came up with the idea that those veloci-raptures should pay a surcharge on their car insurance, should their vehicles become unoccupied (have you seen those bumper stickers??) on R Day, since a moving car w/no driver would pose a slight safety hazard.


2:01 PM  

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