Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Scientists Discover Common Ancestor of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the your-n-mother-had-a-lengthy-tail dept.

Science 391

reporter writes "According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, scientists have discovered the common ancestor of monkeys, apes, and Slashdotters. The 47 million year old fossils were discovered in Germany. The ancestor physically resembles today's lemur. Quoting: 'The skeleton will be unveiled at New York City's American Museum of Natural History next Tuesday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and an international team involved in the discovery. According to Prof. Gingerich, the fossilized remains are of a young female adapid. The skeleton was unearthed by collectors about two years ago and has been kept tightly under wraps since then, in an unusual feat of scientific secrecy. Prof. Gingerich said he had twice examined the adapid skeleton, which was "a complete, spectacular fossil." The completeness of the preserved skeleton is crucial, because most previously found fossils of ancient primates were small finds, such as teeth and jawbones.'"

cancel ×

391 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Oh this is gonna be fun :) (5, Funny)

DavidChristopher (633902) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980103)

Trying to learn what we don't know is how we grow.

I found the missing link a little while ago though- I had a conversation over coffee a couple of weeks ago with someone who turned out to be a creationist. We ended up having the dreaded creationism-vs-darwinism "discussion". The gentleman in question was extremely stubborn, and his coffin-nail-arguement against darwinism, believe it or not, was that there was "no proof of evolution". I spewed trying to contain my laughter. Needless to say, the conversation ended at that point quite abruptly.

A fascinating discovery though.

Re:Oh this is gonna be fun :) (5, Funny)

mevets (322601) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980131)

Give him time. I once believed in creationism, but slowly, over time, I changed. Now I believe in evolution.

creationism/evolution (5, Interesting)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980169)

I believe we were created by god, to evolve. Obviously, thousands of years ago, we were different, but evolved to what we are today. What's interesting, is when I say that, depending on which side of the creationism/evolution debate you are on, sparks controversy from both sides ;)

Re:creationism/evolution (-1, Troll)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980385)

God of the gaps. Pick-and-choose Christian.

I'd take insane fundies over your kind any day of the week. You are the worst kind of cowards. At least they follow their beliefs you just use a religious construct as a shield.

You insult the religious by contorting their beliefs to your will. Taking their name and their religion and then doing as you please. I'm sure the republicans are uncomfortable with a tree-hugger like ron paul in their party. And you piss off the non-religious because of your pure cowardice.

You aren't bravely walking a fine line. You are a cowardly fence-sitter.

Re:creationism/evolution (4, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980439)

creationism is very much a minority opinion amongst christians (in fact I've only ever met one who thought like that, and I've met a lot of christians over the years). The belief in a literal 7 days is something that historically would have been laughed at long before darwin. A few noisy fundies in the US don't get to choose what christianity is, no matter what you might want to think.

Re:creationism/evolution (5, Informative)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980555)

creationism is very much a minority opinion amongst christians (in fact I've only ever met one who thought like that, and I've met a lot of christians over the years). The belief in a literal 7 days is something that historically would have been laughed at long before darwin. A few noisy fundies in the US don't get to choose what christianity is, no matter what you might want to think.

I'm sorry but what possible evidence other than the one anecdotal occurrence can you offer? I have statistics that show that creationism combined with 'god guiding evolution' is a shared belief by an overwhelming majority of Americans. Even if you remove 'god guiding evolution' from the equation the numbers believing in strict creationism are close to half of Americans believing in it.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-06-07-evolution-debate_N.htm [usatoday.com]
Two-thirds in the poll said creationism, the idea that God created humans in their present form within the past 10,000 years, is definitely or probably true.

http://people-press.org/commentary/?analysisid=118 [people-press.org]
Surveys are also fairly consistent in their estimates of how many Americans believe in evolution or creationism. Approximately 40%-50% of the public accepts a biblical creationist account of the origins of life, while comparable numbers accept the idea that humans evolved over time. (But keep in mind that many people who believe in evolution in the U.S. think that god was making humans evolve).

http://www.gallup.com/poll/21814/Evolution-Creationism-Intelligent-Design.aspxGallupPollincreationismandevolutiontrendsfrom1982to2008. [gallup.com]
Breakdown of creationism and evolution views between Bush and Kerry voters in 2008.

Re:creationism/evolution (2, Interesting)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980751)

I wonder what the percentage of people with doctorates in non-religious disciplines believe in the whole Semitic sky God makes the world in six days myth? Of course people with poorer backgrounds and lack of access to education will tend to embrace all the stuff that the Mullah/Priest/Minister indoctrinate them with.

Re:creationism/evolution (4, Informative)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980599)

You must not be an American. Or know very many protestants.

Almost everyone I know is protestant. The vast vast vast majority of them accept Genesis as the literal description of creation.

And I would say that's not an abnormal figure:

An ABC News poll released Sunday found that 61 percent of Americans believe the account of creation in the Bible's book of Genesis is "literally true" rather than a story meant as a "lesson."

[...]
The poll, with a margin of error of 3 percentage points, was conducted Feb. 6 to 10 among 1,011 adults

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2004/feb/16/20040216-113955-2061r/ [washingtontimes.com]

This was just the first poll that came up on google. It falls in line with all the other polls I've seen on the subject.

Re:creationism/evolution (1, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980679)

Yes that true. However most of them just refuse what the official word is from their religion and believe whatever they think they should. Heck they even refuse to believe that Catholics are Christians and that Catholicism is Older then their form of christianity. If they cannot even recognize that how do you expect them to accept a theory.

Re:creationism/evolution (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980731)

Probably because catholicism was largely institutionalized by a pagan emporer and they are rightfully skeptical of an organizational with such well proven human origins.

While I'm not christian I would say that they're at least being consistent in rejecting verifiably faliable sources. They just hide behind the ones with less documentation (but probably were created under extremely similar means).

Re:creationism/evolution (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980601)

Not the noisy fundies. The bible. If it is to be the word of God then you are seriously pissing on the religion by not believing it. If the religion is not based on the bible then your beliefs are being shaped by the church which is arguably worse. Or the final option. You are making up your beliefs as you go along (Which is OK!). The problem is, if you are coming to your own conclusions on things you aren't following the religious doctrine and you are just stealing the title Christian which is bound to piss people off. If you say you are Christian because you believe the bible then how could you pick and choose parts of it to listen to?

"And God created man in His own image." --Gen 1:27

Seems pretty clear to me, not wishywashy at all. How then can you claim well he meant that as metaphor to something completely different.

Re:creationism/evolution (1)

malv (882285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980719)

And if you can't believe the Bible literally what can you believe? The Bible doesn't tell you what is true and what is not. How do you choose what to believe and what not to?

Re:creationism/evolution (1)

atraintocry (1183485) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980479)

Taking their name and their religion and then doing as you please.

Who gets to decide what Christianity is supposed to be? You? I don't think so.

The oldest Christian church (the Catholics) have no beef with evolution.

Turn in your atheist card at the door. I don't want people like you to be in any way associated with people like me. I don't think I'm alone in that either.

Re:creationism/evolution (2, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980543)

Look again, please. The Catholic Church's _historical_ beliefs on creationism, evolution, etc. have reflected all sorts of problems with it. The evolution of simpler to more sophisticated creatures, without divine personal guidance, flies in the face of the 'manifest destiny' and the 'right of kings' which are critical to European and Christian politics of the last few thousand years.

Re:creationism/evolution (4, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980587)

Taking their name and their religion and then doing as you please.

Who gets to decide what Christianity is supposed to be? You?

....

Turn in your atheist card at the door. I don't want people like you to be in any way associated with people like me. I don't think I'm alone in that either.

So you can ask someone to turn in their Atheist card for trying to judge what Christianity is, but you can judge what Atheism is? You sound like one of them.

Re:creationism/evolution (2, Funny)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980611)

I'd say the word of God trumps the Catholic church. At least when it comes to who gets the say in Christianity. And the bible clearly shows God doesn't have evolution. Or at least if there is evolution MAN was created there was none before us.

Re:creationism/evolution (3, Informative)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980681)

The oldest Christian church (the Catholics) have no beef with evolution.

Yes, they do. The Catholic Church cherry-picks a few bits of Evolution to call "ok", to try and distance themselves from the crazier Creationists out there, but they still think humans are a "special creation" and, therefore, not the product of Evolution.

Re:creationism/evolution (5, Insightful)

getuid() (1305889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980725)

(Boy, is this going to cost me karma...)

You're an idiot. FYI, I have mod points today, and still I decided to post into this thread just to be able tell you that you're an idiot.

And now, since I'm out of modding this thread anyway, let's get it straight, piece by piece.

Who gets to decide what Christianity is supposed to be? You?

Several instances, but, ultimately, it's the Pope. However, it's not like the Pope simply pulls phrases out of his ass and then they're declared truth. It's only when a certain issue now and then needs clarification that cannot be archieved otherwise that the Pope dictates how to be thought of that issue. It's then that the Pope speaks ex cathedra, and it's only then that he is regarded as an infallible instance and whatever he says is regarded as true.

The reasoning behind this is less to create truth, but instead to allow a large community to start from the same premisses and end fundamental quarrels without a sense.

However, this doesn't happen fairly often. Since 1870, the Pope has spoken ex cathedra twice so far, last time having been 1950; before 1870, there are somewhere between 10-20 documented ex cathedra decrees.

For all other cases, what Christianity is, is less of a "decission" as in "law", it's rather an "interpretation" of certain events. Church people sit together and decide what position to take towards a certain event.

The oldest Christian church (the Catholics) have no beef with evolution.

There's more truth to that sentence than you probably wanted it to.

You see, the Church absolutely has no interrest whatsoever in getting involved in evolution. But that's not because they disapprove evolution. It's because the Church has no interrest in getting involved in science questions at all. (That might have been different in the Middle Ages, when people used the bible as a poor replacement for physics, however that's not today.) But then again, like in any other matter, there are those who understand and those who don't understand Christianity. Whoever tells you that the Church disapproves evolution either didn't understand Christianity, or is simply ripping you off for one reason or the other.

The Church stays away from evolution is not because they disapprove with it, it's because evolution is not their job. Period. Church may have an oppinion about how to use science to the best of mankind, blabla yadda yadda. But the Church won't tell you how to do science, just as little as they're going to accept advice from you on how to do religion.

Your statement would mean, in car analogy, that a car mechanics guy staying away from a baby that needs a diper change disapproves with the idea of having babies.

Turn in your atheist card at the door. I don't want people like you to be in any way associated with people like me. I don't think I'm alone in that either.

I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual -- I have a lot of atheist friends, none of which I think would like to be associated with you right now...

Re:creationism/evolution (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980481)

"Christians" can't win with you, can they? I think, being a Christian, he could have said anything, and you would have responded as you just did.

The fact of the matter is (as Tony pointed out), many/most Christians don't seriously consider the literal interpretation.

And, I agree with the GP poster - why WOULDN'T God develop the world so that it can continue to grow and EVOLVE. The only hangup I have with evolution is that I don't see any half-man/half-apes running around. Granted, if it did happen, it would have happened over a long time, but wouldn't that cycle already be in the pipe, so we would be seeing more man/ape combos around?

Re:creationism/evolution (4, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980549)

God created man in his image.

Unless they really meant "God created complex mechanisms which eventually gave rise to life and then millions of years later resulted purely by chance something that resembled God." I don't buy it.

If you don't consider the literal interpretation what do you consider? What is your 'source' on God? If the bible means nothing then where do you get your religious beliefs from? The church? That sounds risky. If it is a personal attachment to something spiritual then why the need to go to some building on Sunday? Surely you didn't just 'feel' that God wanted you to go to church on Sundays. What is the basis for your religion if not the bible? And if it is the bible then how can you not believe 80% of it?

Re:creationism/evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980389)

Only slightly less idiotic than creationism actually. If there is an all mighty god then why should creationism be so hard to believe? Silly old man in the sky theories are all just that, silly.

Re:creationism/evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980607)

why should creationism be so hard to believe?

Why shouldn't it? What would make it easier to believe? Proof? Then it wouldn't be a belief, would it? You can believe that it's all just a very unlikely result of chance, or you can believe that it's a design so complex and wonderful that we don't even scratch the surface of what we can possibly learn about it. It doesn't really matter: Evolution exists either way. (IMHO the barrier between religion and science is consciousness of self: If we can at some point prove how that exists, then God is dead.)

Re:creationism/evolution (1)

Criceratops (981909) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980539)

I believe we were created by god, to evolve. Obviously, thousands of years ago, we were different, but evolved to what we are today. What's interesting, is when I say that, depending on which side of the creationism/evolution debate you are on, sparks controversy from both sides ;)

Actually, I've been saying this for years.

I know the uber-militant-atheists will storm you with their cold, steely, just-as-unprovable-assumptions, but just ignore them. Hardcore militant atheists are just as annoying to average folk as the hardcore militant fundamentalists. One is fundamentalist re: the Bible, the other fundamentalist re: radical materialism.

A quick analogy: If an astronaut lands on an unexplored planet and finds intricate, complex crystals in strange formations that seem impossible to occur strictly naturally ... these on an airless lifeless planet with no fossil record of life within the last few billion years, the investigation would not center on "omg did an alien put those here, and if they did, did they put it here with a machine or by hand?" Instead, given that the 'crime scene is several billion years old, it's a little hard to forensically put together who did what. In fact, it could be IMPOSSIBLE to determine whether ANY intelligence put them, or whether strange confluxes of mineralology or probability had brought them together.

From the other perspective. If you are out taking a stroll in a new area, and come across an old ruined house in the woods ... Are you ready to "prove" it was built with Craftsman tools on the spot ... or using prefabricated pieces? Oh, yes... it's UNPROVABLE.

My underlying point is this: Either with an airless rock in space, or an old ruined house... our energy is better spent dealing with 'hazards of an airless moon' or 'house restoration' than arguing over unprovables.

Don't assume I'm talking about evolution's unprovability -- actually I know quite a lot about paleontology for the average bear and have no delusions over the validity of the theory -- unless wild new evidence surfaces. But as to whether a God exists, especially a God concerned with free will ... to whom provability DESTROYS the validity of free will / belief / faith .... that will HAVE to remain unprovable. Either proof would ensure nihilism's ultimate victory.

Re:Oh this is gonna be fun :) (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980203)

FYP:

I once believed in creationism, but slowly, over time, I changed. Now I accept evolution.

It is important not to associate belief with knowledge.

Re:Oh this is gonna be fun :) (2, Informative)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980237)

Whoosh!

Re:Oh this is gonna be fun :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980267)

It is important not to associate belief with what I really, really think is true but will rationalize away when another, likelier, scientific theory has been found.

FYP.

Re:Oh this is gonna be fun :) (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980509)

It is important not to associate belief with knowledge.

It's important not to make trivial semantic arguments out to be important, because they're not.

Evolution is real -- even for modern man. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980235)

Evolution is real and did not simply stop at the appearance of homo sapiens.

Consider the case of Ashkenazim Jews [nationalgeographic.com] . Centuries of discrimination forced this ethnic Jewish group to evolve to adapt. In this case, adaption meant increasing intelligence. Albert Einstein is an Ashkenazim Jew.

By extrapolation, we can say that different races (and ethnic groups) have different levels of intelligence. For example, there are clearly differences in intelligence between Africans and, say, Japanese. The Africans turned a bounty of natural resources into abject poverty. By contrast, the Japanese turned a barren rock (that was devastated by 2 atomic bombs) into the 2nd wealthiest nation on earth.

Re:Evolution is real -- even for modern man. (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980371)

The Africans turned a bounty of natural resources into abject poverty.

<sarcasm>Right, everyone knows that it all started when the Zulus sent an urgent plea to the DeBeers family, begging them to please come take all the diamonds and give them a few cents an hour and twice-daily cavity searches in return.</sarcasm>

Re:Evolution is real -- even for modern man. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980459)

Not too far off. Some tribal leaders would happily sell off some "laborers"..for a small "fee" of course. Even ran quite an export business. Things weren't exactly all guns and roses in the garden of eden.

Re:Evolution is real -- even for modern man. (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980613)

True, some did. That doesn't mean that the Africans somehow caused or brought on themselves their own wide-scale exploitation at the hands of the European colonial powers, any more than there being a few pickpockets at T-Centralen means that everyone in Stockholm deserves to be thrown in prison.

Re:Evolution is real -- even for modern man. (3, Insightful)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980379)

I don't even know where to begin with you. First off, you don't seem to know how evolution works. Second of all, social evolution plays the greatest roles in the natural selection of humans. If your standpoint were true, then the Indians and Chinese (the greatest of the populations) would be the "fittest" species. The Africans have been subject to tyranny of countless nations, and now they face the oppression of their own dictators. And I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but one's scientific success is heavily dependent on luck and ambition, not just intelligence. Otherwise, women would seem extremely inferior to men in science, which is not true because I know countless women who perform better than men academically. It pisses me off when uneducated people start talking out of their ass. I'm not even claiming that you're 100% wrong, just that you have overlooked so many other variables (mainly nurture over nature).

Re:Evolution is real -- even for modern man. (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980445)

Otherwise, women would seem extremely inferior to men in science, which is not true because I know countless women who perform better than men academically.

You should ask one of them to explain "anecdotal evidence" to you. Then maybe some statistics, including significance levels and sampling theory.

Re:Evolution is real -- even for modern man. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980451)

> Otherwise, women would seem extremely inferior to men in science, which is not true because I know countless women who perform better than men academically.

Women ARE inferior to men in science. It is very well documented that the IQ of women is (on average, of course) lower than men's by about 5 points, and most importantly the standard deviation of their IQ distribution is lower than that of men's, which means that there are fewer women that are "super smart", a qualification presumably required for scientific breakthroughs. To attribute scientific success on luck and ambition is patently ridiculous, obviously false, and serves no purpose other than to belittle the intellectual achievements of geniuses, presumably just to make yourself feel better about not being one.

Re:Evolution is real -- even for modern man. (5, Interesting)

John Betonschaar (178617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980691)

The Africans have been subject to tyranny of countless nations, and now they face the oppression of their own dictators. And I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but one's scientific success is heavily dependent on luck and ambition, not just intelligence.

There's even more to it, Africa's major axis is north-south instead of east-west, which means the continent has a lot of variance in climate with a lot of natural barriers (think about the Sahara) for species, knowledge and trade to cross. This as opposed to North America or Eurasia, both of which have east-west axes with a steady climate that's good for agriculture and diffusion of technology and trade.

Also, Africa has virtually no domesticable large mammals and large parts of Africa have been (or still are) not fit for agriculture at all. Finally, when Europeans started colonizing African countries they had a head-start in technology, and resistance to many diseases they were exposed to living next to their domesticated animals (pigs, horses, sheep), resistance the Africans never had a chance to develop. The same holds for South America, people still like to think the Inca's and the Aztecs where conquered by military force, while in fact their population was decimated by germs like the flu, bubonic pest etc.

Mandatory reading for the guy you responded to and for anyone interested to know why North America and Europe became the most developed societies, and not Africa, South-America or Polynesia (all of which at one point in history had a lead):

http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393061310/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242498876&sr=8-1 [amazon.com]

For those who don't like reading, the spoiler: it has nothing to do with intelligence/inventiveness, genetic superiority, laziness or any other form of inherited or acquired traits.

Re:Evolution is real -- even for modern man. (2, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980663)

Japan wasn't really "devastated by two nuclear bombs".

It's a pretty big place. Neither a majority of their population nor their land was even affected by the nuclear bombs.

More Japanese died prior to the bombs in regular combat than the nuclear blasts. The Japanese may have overcome adversity but the Nuclear blasts weren't much worse than the firebombing of Tokyo or the sustained loss of life during combat.

Just as the US wasn't devastated by the World Trade Center collapsing.

Evolution is real -- even for modern man. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980381)

Evolution is real and did not simply stop at the appearance of homo sapiens.

Consider the case of Ashkenazim Jews [nationalgeographic.com] . Centuries of discrimination forced this ethnic Jewish group to evolve to adapt. In this case, adaption meant increasing intelligence. Albert Einstein is an Ashkenazim Jew.

By extrapolation, we can say that different races (and ethnic groups) have different levels of intelligence. For example, there are clearly differences in intelligence between Africans and, say, Japanese. The Africans turned a bounty of natural resources into abject poverty. By contrast, the Japanese turned a barren rock (that was devastated by 2 atomic bombs) into the 2nd wealthiest nation on earth.

Re:Evolution is real -- even for modern man. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980615)

Centuries of discrimination forced this ethnic Jewish group to evolve to adapt. In this case, adaption meant increasing intelligence. Albert Einstein is an Ashkenazim Jew.

Let's imagine that some black kid in deep South of the USA (say, Mississippi) was born at the same time as Einstein and had the same intellectual abilities. Would this little black kid have come up with relativity?

Well, for one thing, the parents of our little black Einstein would most likely have been born into slavery. For another, he would have faced massive discrimination in trying to achieve even a rudimentary education - let alone a graduate level science degree.

As long as we live in a world where different ethnic groups live in different environments, attributing individual success to ethnicity is questionable at best.

Re:Oh this is gonna be fun :) (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980573)

Scientists looked at the available evidence and came up with the a theory.
Scientists find additional evidence to support the theory.

Or to paraphrase Science, it works, bitches!! [xkcd.com]

Whell, I'll be... (0, Offtopic)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980123)

A monkey's uncle... Or, my name isn't going to be Cornelius, hehehe

In Germany???? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980133)

Is this a revolutionary finding? Shouldn't the common ancestors be in Africa?

Re:In Germany???? (5, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980157)

"Is this a revolutionary finding? Shouldn't the common ancestors be in Africa?"

If this is really a common ancestor of Slashdotters, the maternal basement/cave will be nearby and yield further clues.

Re:In Germany???? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980213)

You're confusing the birth of modern humans (homo sapiens) with what is being described here as a common ancestor of monkeys apes and humans.

In comparison, it would be like when did the birds break off of the dinosaurs, and when did the blue jay first come around.

Re:In Germany???? (4, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980359)

No he's not confusing anything. These lemur-like creatures were the nerds of their day. Of course they lived in maternal basement caves. Look at their eyes, man. Probably hopped up on Mountain Cacao Pods all the time. They invented the net, and spent all their time trying to find interesting things to put in their nets.

Sadly, this race of proto-nerds did not survive, as the males of the species were singularly unattractive to the females and they were unable to procreate.

Re:In Germany???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980491)

The nerd don't have to procreate. Lots of species like ants, bees, and other social insects have segments that do not get busy. But they contribute to the overall success and so their role is assured.

Nerds put out lots of cool shit that make society more productive. So there will still be selective pressure for their genes (that is non nerds to carry dormant nerd genes that are expressed in some percentage of children that are produced).

Re:In Germany???? (3, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980605)

Okay, maybe they died out because they had no sense of humor.

Re:In Germany???? (4, Informative)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980201)

If the fossils are 47 million years old, they had about 45 million years in which to migrate. Plenty of time to forward their mail, even if the postmasters were Italian.

Re:In Germany???? (2, Informative)

masdog (794316) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980209)

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adapid [wikipedia.org] :

Fossils of adapids are known from North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Adapids are one of two groups of Eocene primates with a geographic distribution spanning holarctic continents, the other being the omomyids (Omomyidae)

Re:In Germany???? (1)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980263)

The "common" ancestor could be in Africa and Germany. 47 million years ago the two were a good amount closer then now. And species don't just stay in one spot. They usually have a range. In this case I would guess that range included parts of Africa and modern Germany. But as species move around, the only range I'm sure of at this point is Germany since they found one there.

Re:In Germany???? (1)

MrMr (219533) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980503)

two were a good amount closer then now
Well, actually they were a good bit further apart, and separated by a lot more water; But these early primates lived all over the place.

Re:In Germany???? (4, Informative)

Ian Alexander (997430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980309)

No. The "out of Africa" idea says that humans originated in Africa, but this is a find of a much earlier period of our evolutionary history. They're not necessarily in conflict because that would still give our later ancestors dozens of millions of years to find their way to Africa.

Re:In Germany???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980729)

They're not necessarily in conflict because that would still give our later ancestors dozens of millions of years to find their way to Africa.

A better analogy might be like having an uncle in California and an aunt Texas but being born to parents living in New York. Specifically, humans are not necessarily descended from this particular fossil.

Re:In Germany???? (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980567)

i am sure these creatures wandered around the globe too...

Slashdotters? (5, Funny)

Niris (1443675) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980139)

Slashdotters aren't human, you insensitive clod. Humans are social animals, we on the other hand, are not.

Re:Slashdotters? (5, Funny)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980261)

Not true. We're social, but only with our own kind. For instance, I saw the new Star Trek movie last night. When the house lights went up afterwards, I looked around and noticed the kids had already left and those who remained were my fellow nerds. It was so obvious that we all kind of laughed about it on the way out of the theater.

Re:Slashdotters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980661)

My thoughts exactly. Unfortunately, I think in order to be part of the evolutionary chain reproduction would need to be involved...

Well I'll be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980143)

Politician by day, paleontologist(making him a paleocon?) by night..Who knew?

Disappointing (2, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980153)

I wanted to see pictures of this fossil. Preferably high-resolution images that I can gaze and and imagine what it looked like with flesh and fur, climbing, running and using simple tools. But no... no such thing. Just a picture of a lemur.

claws (2, Funny)

ncohafmuta (577957) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980163)

Since the fossilized creature found in Germany didn't have features like a tooth comb or grooming claw, it could be argued that it gave rise to monkeys, apes and humans, which don't have these features either.

humans don't have a grooming claw? I've got 2 of them!

Re:claws (1)

mazarin5 (309432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980339)

Stop picking your nose!

Ancestor of apes, monkeys, and slashdotters? (1)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980165)

Don't you talk about Cowboy Neal that way!

Germany? (1)

Greeneemer (650181) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980167)

I thought that our common ancestor came from Africa, not Germany. Or is this due to the continental drift?

Re:Germany? (1)

masdog (794316) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980227)

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adapid [wikipedia.org] :

Fossils of adapids are known from North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Adapids are one of two groups of Eocene primates with a geographic distribution spanning holarctic continents, the other being the omomyids (Omomyidae)

Re:Germany? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980349)

common ancestor of homo sapiens, a specific species of primate, came out of africa

this is millions and millions of years before that

Lemurs, eh? (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980189)

I, for one, welcome our new large-eyed, nocturnal, gregarious and arboreal overlords!

         

Re:Lemurs, eh? (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980589)

Don't forget 'oversexed'. It's a pretty common trait among primates.

John Schmoe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980195)

I keep wishing that somebody would add some humor to these things and give the "ancestor" a name - I say the name of this ancestor was, John Schmoe - it is much more, ummmm, humanizing ;-)

"World's Most Overhyped Science Headline?" ... (4, Informative)

foobsr (693224) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980215)

Quote [sciencemag.org]

"How is the news being anticipated in the scientific community? 'I honestly think this is an incredible job of marketing,' says paleontologist K. Christopher Beard of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who has not seen the report but has read the news. He points out that other fossils of similar age from China, Myanmar, and India have also been proposed as some of the earliest anthropoids. 'At this stage, color me skeptical.'"

Well.

CC.

Re:"World's Most Overhyped Science Headline?" ... (2, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980443)

"How is the news being anticipated in the scientific community? 'I honestly think this is an incredible job of marketing,' says paleontologist K. Christopher Beard of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who has not seen the report but has read the news. He points out that other fossils of similar age from China, Myanmar, and India have also been proposed as some of the earliest anthropoids. 'At this stage, color me skeptical.'"

So he admits to not RTFA but won't believe it? Yup, clearly a slashdotter.

Re:"World's Most Overhyped Science Headline?" ... (2, Funny)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980655)

A guy from a competing institution who hasn't even seen the report, is skeptical?

No shit - how is that a point?

How can that be? (1)

hammarlund (568027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980221)

I have it on the best authority that the earth was created in 1972.

Re:How can that be? (2, Funny)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980515)

I always thought it was in January of 1970...

Re:How can that be? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980523)

your dating method must be extremely accurate, as it's only off by 2 years. You only need to adopt Unix time to know the true moment of creation

Re:How can that be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980643)

No, it was on January 20th, 1981. When America laid the foundation of what made it the great powerhouse that it is today. That's when the world began, not a minute before.

Pictures, or it didn't happen (1)

syncopated (1174997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980289)

If the fossil is so complete, why does the article lack a picture of the fossil itself? Without pictures of the fossil, how can you believe what they say about whatever they find or postulate?

... once again, TFA is not the REAL FA. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980495)

If the fossil is so complete, why does the article lack a picture of the fossil itself? Without pictures of the fossil, how can you believe what they say about whatever they find or postulate?

My guess is that Wall Street Journal didn't want to pay the prices the publisher (of the scientific journal article) is asking for permission to reprint the pictures, or something like that.

So without the pictures, you should only believe that the staff writer for the wall street journal interviewed the scientists who are saying these things. If you are skeptical about the actual finding, then read the "...paper that will detail next week the latest fossil discovery in Public Library of Science, a peer-reviewed, online journal."

If you find faults with the study in WSJ, then all blame should go to the staff writer of that, not the study itself.

Different last chimp/human ancestor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980303)

...scientists have discovered the common ancestor of monkeys, apes, and Slashdotters. The 47 million year old fossils were discovered in Germany.

The last common ancestor of chimps and humans lived only 5-7 million years ago (and the human species itself is only about 200,000 years old) so what we're talking about here is how far you would have to go to find a common ancestor for humans and the most distantly related primates (something like a lemur).

If you go back far enough you're going to find a last common ancestor of humans and everything else on the planet. That is, "last common ancestor" is relative to where you draw the relatedness cutoff. In this case, they drew the relatedness cutoff at primates (anything at all like a monkey). Of course, other evolutionary biologists might be more interested in the "anything with jaws" (e.g. fish) cutoff. It all depends what you're interested in.

Incidentally, this fossil is only about 18 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs (which happened 65 million years ago).

I for one (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980305)

welcome the discovery of our ancestral lemur overlords.

Brendan Fraser (1)

nadamucho (1063238) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980307)

'nuff said

Professor Gingerich? (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980321)

Is that really this guy's name? Wow! The Christian Right is going to love this!!!! I smell a flame war brewing! ;-)

Re:Professor Gingerich? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980519)

Is that really this guy's name? Wow! The Christian Right is going to love this!!!! I smell a flame war brewing! ;-)

The scientists turned him into a newt!

... he got better.

I can has DNA sample? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980329)

Bone evidence is good but it's not perfect.

DNA isn't perfect but it's better.

You just know a lot of people won't believe the conclusions the scientists. If there was DNA this might convince more people.

Yes, I know DNA from something this old is practically impossible. I'm just saying people will be skeptical without it.

Re:I can has DNA sample? (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980455)

The people who aren't convinced won't be convinced by DNA evidence. Quoting from http://www.christiananswers.net/q-crs/baraminology.html [christiananswers.net] : "In a baraminic study of human with non-human primates, the morphological (form) features such as teeth and bones as well as ecological characters including feeding and habitats were more valuable than chromosomal or molecular (hemoglobin and RNA) information." In other words, as far as the creationists are concerned humans aren't related to other primates and if the molecular evidence suggests otherwise then it must be rejected. This is precisely why creationism is a pseudoscience.

It would be very nice to have DNA confirmation simply for good scientific reasons. But don't be under any illusions that having DNA would convince anyone else who needs to be convinced.

Pseudosciences (2, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980521)

The difference between science and pseudoscience is not that one is right and the other is wrong, it's that one is at least in theory demonstrably right or wrong and the other, well, the other will forever be unprovable.

Barring a direct revelation from God, such as might happen at "the end times" discussed in Revelation, Creationism is not provable. While the detailed account in Genesis is disprovable assuming God didn't muck up the data, the idea that "God created the Universe in 7 days, then mucked up the evidence so it looked 13+ billion years old" is not disprovable. The Bible is silent on whether God mucked up the evidence.

I guess you COULD call Creationism a science if you said "Hypothesis: God Created the Universe in 7 days. Test of Hypothesis: Wait for universe to end and as God how it began." However, because it is a hypothesis that can't be tested any time soon and, unlike scientific hypotheses which are waiting for the march of technology before they can be tested, there is nothing we can do to find an answer sooner, as a scientific theory it has no practical value. It has much more practical effect on the world as a religious belief than as a scientific theory that is well before its time.

Re:Pseudosciences (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980695)

first off six days not seven

now that that is fixed would you call a little matter of a world wide flood the worlds first coverup??

Re:I can has DNA sample? (4, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980463)

I'll believe it when it's been peer reviewed and the hypothesis has been examined by lots of people and agreed on.

Fakery happens. Sheer bad judgement happens. The fact that this has been kept secret is a huge red flag... science doesn't keep things secret.

Re:I can has DNA sample? (2, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980499)

Yes, this hasn't been peer reviewed yet and we should be careful about accepting things prior to careful examination but the secrecy isn't that big a deal. Scientists keep things secret all the time. Sometimes secrecy is kept until one is ready to go public so that one's ideas aren't co-opted too soon. Another common reason for secrecy is that something seems too good to be true and so scientists carefully examine it many times over before it becomes public. It seems that this second situation is what occurred here. That's not a red flag. It is simply people being careful not to damage their careers or waste other peoples time with results that turn out to incorrect.

Cold Fusion guys (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980545)

If only the Cold Fusion guys had kept things under wraps for a couple years for peer review, they might've saved themselves a lot of embarrassment.

Off-topic a big:
Even if Pons and the other guy were right 20 years ago, the fact that neither they nor anyone else could replicate their experiments in a controlled fashion meant they should've held off publishing until they could, even if it meant a generation or two. OR, publish it as an observed fluke that others should be on the lookout for.

Re:I can has DNA sample? (2, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980697)

Or a combination of the two.

If you discover a skeleton then you get a monopoly on its data until you reveal it. By keeping it secret you can be certain to glean as many discoveries as possible from it before opening it up to further investigation and interpretation.

If you find it and open it to public scrutiny immediately then you're competing on equal footing with everyone else to draw conclusions and write papers. If you hold it secret for 2 years then you can be sure any significant conclusions and papers are written by your own team and not someone else.

It's like finding a clue in the scavenger hunt. Don't give it up until you've found the prize or need help looking.

getting better all the time (4, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980533)

Yes, I know DNA from something this old is practically impossible.

Actually that request is nowhere near as tall an order today as it was just a few years ago. You likely know that we have already partially reconstructed the Woolly Mammoth genome [washingtonpost.com] and are working with DNA from the (extinct) Tasmanian Tiger [bbc.co.uk] as well.

Our techniques have even allowed us to extract proteins from Tyrannosaurus Rex [sciencemag.org] as well as a Hadrosaur [sciencemag.org] for proteomics approaches to analyzing extinct species.

So, the missing link liked to move it, move it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980335)

He liked to move it, move it!

(No wonder I enjoy dancing so much! It's hereditary! ;)

This is old news (3, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980391)

We've actually known about Rosie O'Donnell for some time now.

The article has suggestive and leading lanuage... (1, Informative)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980493)

Anthropologists have long believed that humans evolved from ancient ape-like ancestors.

No they don't 'believe' they use reason based on radiocarbon dating of fossils and other hard scientific and rigorously tested and reviewed evidence to reach the most accurate and logical conclusion based on findings and observation.

Nonetheless, the latest fossil find is likely to ignite further the debate between evolutionists who draw conclusions based on a limited fossil record, and creationists who don't believe that humans, monkeys and apes evolved from a common ancestor.

Evolution isn't just based on limited fossil records it is based on observation of life at the smallest biological levels up to the largest such as animal life. We've seen disease (such the flu) evolve right before our eyes. Evolution in our ancestry as humans isn't up for debate the only debate is what specific species we delineated from.

Not only that but the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of the rhesus macaques monkey is 93 percent the same as humans. Meaning accurate DNA testing has shown that species of monkeys are extremely similar to humans showing a common link in our genetic design.

 

Re:The article has suggestive and leading lanuage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980603)

Ever heard of circular reasoning? Scientists say how old a fossil is by seeing what rock layer it is. How do they tell how old the rock layer is? By what fossils are contained in that rock layer. There has been discoveries of things that carbon dating has said to have been millions of years old, but in fact were just recently buried. Like some man-made objects.

Scientific Secrecy = Contradiciton of terms (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980547)

Always maintain a strong healthy skepticism of any "Scientific Secrecy" unless it has a monetary basis, (patent medicines for example) or a strategic value (military).

There is no reason this type of information should be secret. In fact, just the opposite. Publish early, publish often would be the best prescription in such cases.

Can we name it (1)

edcheevy (1160545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980565)

Hera?

Cylon (1)

MadClown69 (1409457) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980685)

The real question is...Is it a Cylon?

Why God created apes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27980709)

God had a really good sense of humor, so God created apes as a funny remainder to humans: you might be 99.999999% like me, but still you are not quite a God.

Axiom of the monkey stories (4, Interesting)

vorlich (972710) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980743)

Any monkey story will automatically degrade into theology versus Science when the total number of posts exceeds 3. It is really not important whether or not people accept Darwinism - evolution will still be dealing the hand they and their descendants get.

There is no need to argue with them, that is what they want, they want the air of publicity. As for the rest of us Darwinist Protestants, I, like many, celebrate this find and look forward to the addition to the sum total of human knowledge it will provide
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>