More interesting fossils than Ida

Ida is a new fossil discovery that has been horribly over-hyped. It is being called “the missing link”. Following sentences usually mention humans. In other words, some articles are crafty and don’t directly say this fossil is important to Homo sapiens. Others are less crafty. All of this non-sense plays right into the hands of the lying creationists (sorry to be redundant).

Darwinius masillae, otherwise known as Ida, is a tremendously well-preserved fossil that is a primate ancestor. As with most fossils, it was probably a relatively close cousin of one of our direct ancestors. (Note, “relatively close”. Of course, all fossils we find are eventually cousins of our ancestors, if they aren’t directly our ancestors.) How close is difficult to tell – forget saying it’s a direct ancestor. It is a member of the same suborder as humans (and apes and monkeys), haplorhine, but that doesn’t mean Ida wasn’t the last member of her particular population. It can tell us some interesting things, but it in no way independently confirms evolution. Science doesn’t work that way; theories are supported by a wide body of evidence. A single find can add a little weight to a theory, but doesn’t usually completely make a theory. (Notable, if this were found in the, say, Jurassic period, it would have been a find that actually spun evolution on its head – find me a part of creationism [or its coy, dishonest, lying cousin intelligent design] that can be falsified.)

So while interesting and not simply trivial, there are more important fossils out there than Ida. What’s more, there are more interesting fossils. (Guess which claim is the author’s opinion.) Here are some.

Lucy

Lucy

Maiacetus inuus

Maiacetus inuus

Schinderhannes bartelsi

Schinderhannes bartelsi

Tiktaalik

Tiktaalik

Turtle fossil discovery

Researchers recently uncovered a transitional turtle fossil in China.

From the three Odontochely fossils discovered in China, [Li Chun at the Chinese Academy of Sciences] said it was clear the turtle first developed the plastron, or the lower shell that encases the belly, before getting its upper shell, or the carapace.

“The plastron developed first and after it was fully formed, then the carapace developed,” he said.

The reason this is an excellent example of a transitional form is that what we see is basically a turtle without a back shell. It is still clearly a turtle, just not one that is much like what we see today. It seems appropriate that we’re finally discovering these turtle fossils as we close in on the 150th anniversary of On the Origin of Species.

So what we have is a turtle which has body armor on its lower body with the neural plates that were likely predecessors to the fuller body armor found in its modern day descendents. In addition, we see that the order of turtle armor evolution – plastron followed by carapace (its back, essentially) fits perfectly with their embryology: during development, the plastron precedes the carapace.

Turtles, wee!

Do you feel the invigoration?

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