The most relevant missing link in evolution FOUND (in Off-topic)

Sickone May 21 2009 2:16 AM EDT

19 May 2009
"Today, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, a revolutionary discovery -- one that will stand as a milestone for paleontologists and evolutionists everywhere -- was announced. Scientists based at the University of Oslo have discovered モIda,ヤ also known as Darwinius masillae, a 47-million-year-old fossil that has been proclaimed the モmissing linkヤ in connecting human skeletal structure to early mammals.

Scientists found Ida in Messel Pit, Germany and soon found out that she is about twenty times older than most fossils related to human evolution. What makes Ida so special is that despite her classification as an early prosimian (lemurs), she has certain undeniable human characteristics such as forward facing eyes and even an opposable thumb."

Hooray for science.
And sheer luck (if you care to read about the circumstances).
Well, the documentary should be available soon anyway, and your kids will probably read about it in their textbooks ;)

three4thsforsaken May 21 2009 2:19 AM EDT

Pretty much another Lucy right? Pretty cool :D

Sickone May 21 2009 2:26 AM EDT

Lucy was barely 40% complete and not extremely well preserved ("some assembly required"), this one is nearly 95% complete, even including fossilized stomach contents, all in a neat mud package that preserved it so well it borders on a miracle.
The fossil has been studied in secret for roughly two years to exclude even the slightest possibility of a fake, and "it has been transported to New York under high security and unveiled to the world during the bicentenary of Darwin's birth."

Daz May 21 2009 2:30 AM EDT

I saw the line "Darwin is vindicated!" somewhere. That made me kind of annoyed.
Darwin was a creationist. His book is about how gods creatures vary after creation. He was far less extreme in his thinking than people give him credit for.

On the plus side... Yay! Science!

A Lesser AR of 15 [Red Permanent Assurance] May 21 2009 2:34 AM EDT

That's us 47 million years ago? We've been punk'd!
Thank you for the post.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] May 21 2009 7:03 AM EDT

Um. No, Daz. He was most definitely an evolutionist.
I won't get into yet _another_ creation/evolution debate here, but I'll just stick to the fossil that they've found.
1. How do they know it's 47 million years old?
2. Forward facing eyes? OPPOSABLE THUMBS? This obviously proves that this is a missing link, and related to us. (Of course, if there really was a God who could create all the different kinds of animals, he would most likely have the power to give them forward facing eyes.)
3. It looks rather like a lemur.

ResistanZ2 [The Knighthood] May 21 2009 7:05 AM EDT

Carbon dating.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] May 21 2009 7:06 AM EDT

Daz May 21 2009 7:07 AM EDT

"Um. No, Daz. He was most definitely an evolutionist. "

Have you READ the book?

He states clearly at the start that he believes the creatures are only altered from the way they were CREATED.

Daz May 21 2009 7:12 AM EDT

I firmly believe in evolution, I just found it interesting while I read the book that Darwin didn't.

He states that the species are all too different to be individually created, but basically states that X amount of species were created and that the amount we have now are diverged from that small number.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] May 21 2009 7:12 AM EDT

Obviously animal kinds have changed over the years! I don't think anyone is arguing that.
The way that Darwin proposed they changed IS the problem creationists have with evolution.
He (Darwin) said that animals could grow more complex over a long period of time, while creationists believe that they have reduced complexity over a short period of time, due to decay from sin.
It's all a matter of how we look at the evidence.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] May 21 2009 7:13 AM EDT

I'll take this discussion into CM with you, if you'd like, because I do not want to pollute this thread.

Sickone May 21 2009 8:10 AM EDT

Just wanted to point out that the modern "evolution vs creation" debate started with Darwin's work, therefore it is kind of pointless to claim Darwin was a creationist... since, well... everybody was a creationist back in the day.
Of course he started off with the idea all animals were once upon a time created (all life, actually) by someone or something, that's why he wrote "(On) The Origin of Species" and not "(On) The Origin of Life"... his revolutionary idea was that maybe what we see nowadays is not exactly what was created, and and that even man itself could have common ancestors with apes.
The whole point was that people back in that day found it highly offensive for that idea that man could be related to animals in any way, shape or form, and that's where the whole scandal started - since the general consensus was mankind was created exactly how it exists today, as "ruler" of all Earth and all that other stuff - and he was therefore not a very popular man, especially OUTSIDE scientific circles (and inside it wasn't very pretty either).

So, yeah, to say "Darwin vindicated", it completely fits. There's nothing annoying about that.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] May 21 2009 8:12 AM EDT

as with any scientific discovery, peer review will likely determine if the hype is well-placed. that sometimes takes decades and was slowed down in this instance by the secrecy leading up to the announcement. for some perspective:

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] May 21 2009 8:20 AM EDT

"Experts are almost unanimous in their praise for the fossil's exceptional preservation: About 95 percent of its bones are intact, and even some fur imprints and stomach contents are visible."

Waaaaaiiiiit a minute. Fur imprints? Now, if this fossil was 47 million years old, wouldn't the fur have deteriorated by now? "Stomach contents"? Wouldn't _they_ at least have deteriorated?

"The small body represents a roughly 9-month-old female that probably looked a lot like modern lemurs."

Perhaps, just perhaps, it may have been a lemur? How can they tell it is a 9-month old female, if they are not basing it off what modern 9-month old lemurs look like?

BadFish May 21 2009 8:53 AM EDT

Marl... The fur and stomach contents are most definitely deteriorated, it's the imprint that they left behind that has been preserved in fossil. That's how fossils work.

Colonel Custard [The Knighthood] May 21 2009 9:04 AM EDT

Surely, though, the fossilization process took millions of years of soil deposits and pressure, and not the months that the fur and stomach contents would remain. Did they find this fossil in a peat bog? I'm not convinced that there would be imprints, otherwise, unless fossilization occurs much more quickly than I understand it's supposed to.

From dude's article:
""On the whole I think the evidence is less than convincing," said Chris Gilbert, a paleoanthropologist at Yale University. "They make an intriguing argument but I would definitely say that the consensus is not in favor of the hypothesis they're proposing." The Ida team points to the fact that some the fossil's teeth, toe and ankle bones resemble anthropoids more than modern lemurs. But other researchers point out that primitive lemurs, as opposed to modern lemurs, also share many of these features. "They claim in the paper that by examining the anatomy of adapids, these animals have something to do with the direct line of human ancestry and living monkeys and apes. This claim is buttressed with almost no evidence," said paleontologist Richard Kay of Duke University."

Hmmm... so it may be the most relevant, or not relevant at all.

{cb2}Dinh May 21 2009 9:05 AM EDT we go again...

BadFish May 21 2009 9:06 AM EDT

Sickone: Get ready for this topic to get moved to the debate forum :P

GoLDeNGaTE May 21 2009 10:30 AM EDT

Sweet! Let's all get together for a poo-flinging party to celebrate our ancestors!!!

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] May 21 2009 10:44 AM EDT

Did they even run radiometric dating tests on this specimen? (Perhaps it's better if we all just shut-upped.)

Colonel Custard [The Knighthood] May 21 2009 10:45 AM EDT

Really, though, do you have anything more in-depth and helpful than "That's the way fossilization works"? I'm actually curious to know how fur and stomach contents would leave imprints in the fossil record when they would presumably deteriorate well before they could leave any markings. Again, assuming there was any oxygen around the corpse.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] May 21 2009 10:47 AM EDT

Well, I think that over "millions of years" the genetic tissues and such would have broken down by now.
(Like finding red blood cells in T-Rex tissue, it would have broken down if it truly were millions of years ago buried.)

Cube May 21 2009 10:55 AM EDT

At a certain distance back in time, those tests are far too inaccurate. At 47 million years, carbon dating would definitely not work, and with other elements you need a baseline for how much is originally radioactive, the ratio for carbon when animals/plants are alive is pretty consistent. I imagine they would have tried though. I believe most of the fossilization dating they do is with rock layers, and it can be accurate enough. However, I have no idea what they did specifically.

If you are underground and buried well, there isn't much oxygen; that's my best guess. The other possible thing is as you said if it was fossilized rapidly. With fossilization I think the quality they get is pretty much a crap-shoot, and they must have gotten lucky either way however it may be.

Cube May 21 2009 10:58 AM EDT

Imprints are rock

However, I know they have been lucky with Mammoth genetic material as it was preserved in the world's icebox. I saw something about how they are trying to birth a mammoth from an elephant... I'm pretty sure there was another animal this happened with, but I can't remember right now.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] May 21 2009 11:00 AM EDT

Wait, Cube, then how do they know that it was 47 million years old? Fossils don't come with nametags that say "I'm a 47-million year old specimen of lemur!"

Cube May 21 2009 11:02 AM EDT

Rock layers, I'm pretty sure.

Carbon dating only works on the order of ten thousands of years - max 100,000ish.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] May 21 2009 11:04 AM EDT

Yes, from all the research I've seen, carbon dating is only effective up to an age of 100,000 years.
But, you do not know that rock layers were lain down continually over a period time. (I.e., one layer every year.)

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] May 21 2009 11:08 AM EDT

Interesting article on this "missing link":

Cube May 21 2009 11:10 AM EDT

They can pinpoint certain events in rock layers. 47 million years is an estimate. I'm obviously not an expert, but I'm think they can do it relatively accurately. As accurate as you need to be when you are talking millions of years.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] May 21 2009 11:13 AM EDT

That doesn't tell me anything, really. You can't say that rock layers were lain down continuously at the same rate over a period of millions of years, which means finding "events" in the sediment layers is pretty meaningless.
In my point of view, I believe that sedimentary layers were lain down rapidly during the Flood.

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] May 21 2009 11:16 AM EDT

Is this the part where those of a certain age ask those who haven't reached it yet: Do you _ever_ attempt to learn _anything_ on your own or does _every_ question automatically get posed to someone who should tell you the answer?

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] May 21 2009 11:19 AM EDT

I am merely questioning his views, and asking him to explain exactly what he believes.
How else am I supposed to counter his arguments?
Nice SNK impression, by-the-way.

Revs May 21 2009 11:20 AM EDT

I read the article in BBC as well as a couple others scattered around the web RSS feeds. And while I'm impressed with how well preserved the specimen is (I mean, the fur outline is amazing!), I'm still left staggered by the amount of bias and revisionism with this. The first people that looked at it called it a Lemur. More scientists came in and all the sudden its "the missing link". It's as if the scientific community has been so desperate for evidence that the first "monkey like" fossil that comes out of the ground gets thrown up on the pedestal for "proof". And it hasn't really even been studied yet. So is mankind so lost in it's search for meaning that we'll take a monkey that fell in the right spot and right time to define our existence or meaning? Or is there that much doubt in the minds of evolution theory proponents that they need this "missing link" material to justify their theories?

Colonel Custard [The Knighthood] May 21 2009 11:23 AM EDT

Bast: The public school system has failed us. I don't know how to do research beyond typing "fossilization" into the Wikipedia search bar.

Cube May 21 2009 11:38 AM EDT

Bast you had exactly the same notion I did.

... you don't need to believe these events are there. GO STUDY ROCK LAYERS THEN. I'm pretty sure it's possible for them to come to a ball park estimate.

I told you I'm not an expert on dating by rock layers! If you want to go ahead and read some papers on rock layers. Then go find some on the flood... I challenge you to find a peer reviewed paper on rock layers regarding the flood... Marlfox, this is not my flipping viewpoint; this is extent of my knowledge on fossilization as well as rock layers.

Revs, science is a process; it takes time to come up with answers. People explored the world because they could. People climb the highest mountains because they can. We went to the moon because we can. People study the development of humans because we can.

Thak May 21 2009 11:40 AM EDT

Thats more a like a missing link near the beginning of the chain i was hoping for a sasquwach or something :P
They need to pull out alot more proof from that fossil for me to bite then forward facing eyes and thumbs. Those are pretty distinct thumbs, where are the short little stumpy thumbs the dont work well.
Any creature that relies on hunting for food has forward facing eyes and all primates have thumbs. Is why they are good in trees, they can hang onto a branch better.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] May 21 2009 11:41 AM EDT

But Thak, these are opposable thumbs! Special.

Cube May 21 2009 11:42 AM EDT

As for all this missing link business, it's all crap. Evolutionists have not been searching for a single missing link. Missing link is an archaic term that the media has latched on to because it builds hype.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] May 21 2009 11:42 AM EDT

And what is wrong with my thread? Oops. Question. My bad.

Revs May 21 2009 11:43 AM EDT

"Revs, science is a process; it takes time to come up with answers"

Yet, they seem to have taken no time at all on pronouncing this "a milestone for paleontologists and evolutionists everywhere" . . .

I'm glad you see my point. ;)

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] May 21 2009 11:45 AM EDT

No time at all? Are you sure?

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] May 21 2009 11:47 AM EDT

Bast just posted twice in the same thread.

Revs May 21 2009 12:00 PM EDT

-Bast I'm just going off of what has been reported. Just like everyone else who's been commenting in this "debate" thread. ;) --- "Ida was discovered in the 1980s in a fossil treasure-trove called Messel Pit, near Darmstadt in Germany. For much of the intervening period, it has been in a private collection." "Dr Chris Beard, curator of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and author of The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey, said he was "awestruck" by the publicity machine surrounding the new fossil. He argued that it could damage the popularisation of science if the creature was not all that it was hyped up to be." ..."We're not finished with this specimen yet," said Dr Hurum. "There will be plenty more papers coming out." --- "Dr Henry Gee, a senior editor at the journal Nature, said the term itself was misleading and that the scientific community would need to evaluate its significance. "It's extremely nice to have a new find and it will be well-studied," he said. But he added that it was not likely to be in the same league as major discoveries such as "Flores man" or feathered dinosaurs." --- So it seems to me that the "experts" are still weighing in on this find, and that they're far from consensus yet on what finding this fossilized Lemur really means.

Revs May 21 2009 12:04 PM EDT

Oops, forgot to post my source. BBC link here: <a href=""><br>

Cube May 21 2009 3:06 PM EDT

Here is Rev's link:

Most of the headlines of science articles I read, seem to take one line out of context so they can sensationalize it, so reporting like this is no surprise. I would definitely agree with Rev's that for now it doesn't necessarily mean anything, in the future it could prove to be significant.

As for the link you posted Marlfox, I don't even know where to start about how many misconceptions I saw on that page. At the end they summarize their six points. I could go through them if you want, but all six of those points are complete garbage.

three4thsforsaken May 21 2009 4:50 PM EDT

I really can't get over how cool this is. Especially the opposable thumbs. Can you imagine where we would be if we never had those thumbs?

Opposable thumbs are what makes fine object manipulation possible, which of course allows for the creation and use of tools. One can wonder how much our bigger brains would have been put to use if tools were that much more difficult to use.

Just a thought.
This thread is closed to new posts. However, you are welcome to reference it from a new thread; link this with the html <a href="/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=002lgj">The most relevant missing link in evolution FOUND</a>