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Editorial - Transitional fossil supports evolution

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  • Todd S. Greene
    From: http://www.columbusdispatch.com/science/science.php?story=dispatch/ 2006/04/18/20060418-D5-03.html [link is line-wrapped] ... Discovery of evolutionary
    Message 1 of 4 , May 8, 2006
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      From:
      http://www.columbusdispatch.com/science/science.php?story=dispatch/
      2006/04/18/20060418-D5-03.html
      [link is line-wrapped]

      ----------------------------------------------------------------

      Discovery of evolutionary link was a scientific inevitability
      by Steve Rissing (biologist, Ohio State University)
      (Columbus Dispatch, 4/18/2006)

      People in the know were not surprised or any more certain about the
      dangers of smoking when specific molecules were finally linked to
      lung cancer. They were predicted by earlier research and careful
      searching found them.

      So it was, last week, when the journal Nature reported the discovery
      of a transitional fossil between fish and tetrapods, fourlegged
      animals that live on land. Such fossils were predicted by earlier
      research and careful searching found them.

      In a powerful display of the predictive power of paleontology as
      science, a team of researchers led by Daryl Shubin of the University
      of Chicago decided to search for just such fish-tetrapod
      transitional fossils in exposed layers of 375-million-year-old rocks
      from ancient, shallow river beds.

      Rocks from the era just before tetrapods are exposed on Ellesmere
      Island in northern Canada. While only 600 miles from the North Pole
      now, these rock layers provide a snapshot of past equatorial
      environments first inhabited by tetrapods.

      The new fossil species, Tiktaalik roseae, described from a number of
      specimens collected since 1999, likely populated shallow waters.
      While it has fishlike characteristics such as fins and scales,
      Tiktaalik also has forelimbs with effective wrists, elbows,
      shoulders and digits.

      These and ribs stronger than those of similarly sized fish suggest
      Tiktaalik spent considerable time on land.

      The head resembles that of a crocodile with eyes and snout on top.
      Some aspects of Tiktaalik's gills, while similar to those found in
      earlier fish, display changes suggesting the eventual ear structure
      of tetrapods.

      But, Tiktaalik displays no really new characteristics. All of its
      features, fish or tetrapod, have been found before, just never in a
      single fossil species.

      That convergence in a single species provides more strong support
      for current hypotheses of animal evolution.

      Nonetheless, the discovery of Tiktaalik should come as no surprise.
      Like comets traveling the solar system, we know they are there —
      even if we are not sure of their individual form.

      Discovering Tiktaalik is like hitting a comet with a space probe,
      which we've also done recently.
    • Todd S. Greene
      From: http://www.columbusdispatch.com/science/science.php? story=dispatch/2006/05/07/20060507-B4-03.html [link is line-wrapped] Comment: While many
      Message 2 of 4 , May 8, 2006
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        From:
        http://www.columbusdispatch.com/science/science.php?
        story=dispatch/2006/05/07/20060507-B4-03.html
        [link is line-wrapped]

        Comment: While many creationists continue spouting their lie that
        transitional fossils don't exist, the facts demonstrate otherwise.

        - Todd Greene

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        Discovery put creationist on the defensive
        by Martin Brazeau (biologist, Uppsala University [Sweden])
        (Columbus Dispatch, 5/7/2006)

        It appears that creationist Mark Looy of the Answers in Genesis
        ministries was pretty badly stung by the April 12 Dispatch
        editorial "Evidence mounts" on the fossil Tiktaalik roseae, the now
        famous fish-to-land intermediate. Creationists are having a hard
        time trying to explain this one away, as we can see in Looy's April
        29 letter to the editor. As a paleontologist who works on similar
        animals and who has examined the Tiktaalik fossils firsthand, I
        comment on Looy's letter.

        In writing, "There is a fish called a coelacanth" that "has the same
        kind of lobe fins as Tiktaalik. . . . It eventually was determined,
        however, that the coelacanth used those lobe fins for better
        maneuvering through the water, not for walking," Looy simultaneously
        created the impression that the scientists who studied Tiktaalik
        were unaware of coelacanths and that there are virtually no
        differences in the fin-limb of Tiktaalik and that of a coelacanth.

        Of course, if he had read the original papers, he should have
        realized that what makes Tiktaalik so special is the number of ways
        in which it is different from other lobefinned fishes, not only in
        limbs but in its skull and ribs. To make matters worse for
        creationists, those differences come in the form of similarities
        with tetrapods.

        The most baffling comment came when Looy wrote that "the bones in
        the fins of both the coelacanth and the new fossil are imbedded in
        the muscle and are not attached to the axial skeleton, which you
        would have in a reptile or an amphibian." He should pick up a basic
        anatomy textbook: The front limbs of amphibians don't have such a
        connection, either!

        I'm sorry to bother Dispatch editors and readers with mundane
        details of anatomy, but the good folks at Answers in Genesis forgot
        to include them. The irony is that this group is notable for its
        position that evolutionists and creationists have the same evidence,
        but we just interpret them through different preconceived
        worldviews. If that's so, why did Answers in Genesis have to distort
        reality so much?
      • rlbaty50
        Todd, You might want to consider and comment on Dr. Brad s analysis of the recent announcements regarding that thingy. It can be found at:
        Message 3 of 4 , May 8, 2006
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          Todd,

          You might want to consider and comment on Dr. Brad's analysis of the
          recent announcements regarding that thingy. It can be found at:

          http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2911

          Like Veto Roley, it appears Dr. Brad uses a definition which simply
          precludes the possibility of there being any transitional fossils. Of
          course, his article also says many other things as well.

          Sincerely,
          Robert Baty
        • Todd S. Greene
          ... Actually, I m going to point this out to Martin Brazeau, who is eminently more qualified to discuss the details than I am. I ll be asking him if he ll
          Message 4 of 4 , May 12, 2006
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            --- In Maury_and_Baty, Robert Baty wrote (post #7860):
            > Todd,
            >
            > You might want to consider and comment on Dr. Brad's analysis of
            > the recent announcements regarding that thingy. It can be found
            > at:
            >
            > http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2911
            >
            > Like Veto Roley, it appears Dr. Brad uses a definition which
            > simply precludes the possibility of there being any transitional
            > fossils. Of course, his article also says many other things as
            > well.

            Actually, I'm going to point this out to Martin Brazeau, who is
            eminently more qualified to discuss the details than I am. I'll be
            asking him if he'll dissect Brad Harrub's article, and if I can
            publish his critique on my website (even though I suspect, if he
            does it, that he'll have it in his blog as well).

            - Todd Greene
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