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Missing Link Fossil Discovered

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the intelligent-fossil-design dept.

864

choongiri writes "The Guardian is reporting the discovery of a missing link of evolution. From the article: "Scientists have made one of the most important fossil finds in history: a missing link between fish and land animals, showing how creatures first walked out of the water and on to dry land more than 375m years ago.""

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864 comments

I got your link right here (0, Flamebait)

Le Marteau (206396) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073281)

I got your missing link right here [bushorchimp.com] .
I'll take any opportunity to take a frosty one all over the uncanny resemblance of Dumbya to a
monkey. Fish to land? That ain't no big deal. O Please. This is the missing link of importance.
Monkey to Leader of the Free World. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Fnord.

God vs Darwin (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15073287)

One day a group of Darwinian scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God. So they picked one Darwinian to go and tell Him that they were done with Him.

The Darwinian walked up to God and said, "God, we've decided that we no longer need you. We're to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don't you just go on and get lost."

God listened very patiently and kindly to the man. After the Darwinian was done talking, God said, "Very well, how about this? Let's say we have a man-making contest." To which the Darwinian happily agreed.

God added, "Now, we're going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam."

The Darwinian said, "Sure, no problem" and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt.

God looked at him and said, "No, no, no. You go get your own dirt!

Re:God vs Darwin (0, Troll)

Ignorant Aardvark (632408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073311)

A Darwinian? Other than in the context of the computer game "Darwinians", I have no idea what in the hell you're trying to say.

Why does this "god" need/like to be worshipped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15073510)

Why does this "god" creature/slave-master/pet(human)-owner need/like to be worshipped. Is that really the best use of its and our time? And why does it only want to be worshipped by the superstitious? This mythology is quite silly.

I found him too! (0, Offtopic)

vought (160908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073289)

The Missing Link! [obsessedwi...stling.com]

Re:I found him too! (4, Funny)

mh101 (620659) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073322)

Funny... following your link to "The Missing Link" says "The page cannot be found." So I guess that means it's still missing? :)

Re:I found him too! (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073496)

Any of those missing links have tufts of hair around them?

(I'm thinking of old cave man movies where the have an asssssload of hair all over the body. They'd better not reappear and then dive into anybody's swimming pool. They'll clog it up whether or NOT they get snagged by the suction tubes...)

Then again, if they drown and then the pump dies from overheating and cubic feet of natty-assed-teflon-strong hair, they'll drift away like so much flotsam....

A better missing link (5, Informative)

corngrower (738661) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073351)

This link to bbc news [bbc.co.uk] includes a picture of the fossil.

What's the big deal? (-1)

smalljs (896225) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073291)

I can swim and walk, but I don't see any reporters camped outside my door...

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073569)

That is amazing, but I consider the frog almost as amazing. It starts off as something that looks like a fish, and ends up as a tetrapod.

AWESOME! (-1, Flamebait)

dteichman2 (841599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073292)

Take that Crea^H^H^H^H^idiots!

Re:AWESOME! (0, Offtopic)

dteichman2 (841599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073310)

I smell burning Karma...

It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (5, Insightful)

Ignorant Aardvark (632408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073294)

Can we please stop using this "missing link" terminology? It's one of those terms often bandied about by creationists, but it has very little meaning in science. And anyway, everytime we find another transitional fossil the creationists are just going to point to the two gaps on either side of the new transitional and say, "Now there's two missing links! Nyah nyah nyah!" They already don't believe evolution is possible anyway.

Now as for this find, there's something very important here that the writeup isn't covering. The scientists used their theory to not only predict the existence of such a transitional species, but also where, geologically, it would be located. And guess what - they found what they were looking for exactly where they were looking for it! Talk about predictive power! The predictive power of the theory of evolution is one of its many strengths, and one often overlooked by science-deniers.

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (-1, Redundant)

Expert Determination (950523) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073309)

I agree. It's time to stop. It's like saying that 1.5 is the missing link between 1 and 2 and then someone comes along and says "no, there's a gap between 1 and 1.5".

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (2, Funny)

GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073492)

You know, the grandparent post was a little difficult to understand for me, thank you for translating it into numbers.

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15073535)

Could someone please translate it into something simpler than numbers? Math hurts my brain.

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (4, Insightful)

c_forq (924234) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073601)

It's like having a 1970 VW Beetle and a 2006 VW Beetle then saying "look, this 1990 VM Beetle is the missing link" then someone else coming and saying "No, this 1980 VW Beetle is the missing link"

Re: It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (2, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073609)

> > > agree. It's time to stop. It's like saying that 1.5 is the missing link between 1 and 2 and then someone comes along and says "no, there's a gap between 1 and 1.5".

> > You know, the grandparent post was a little difficult to understand for me, thank you for translating it into numbers.

> Could someone please translate it into something simpler than numbers? Math hurts my brain.

Ok, try "no, there's a gap between l and l.S".

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (5, Interesting)

M0b1u5 (569472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073354)

If I could MOD you up, I would!

Yep - there's no such think as a missing link. There might have been in the past, but morphological properties allow us to make the connections without having to see all the transitional forms in between. As parent noted: Ambulocetus was predicted by evolution, and then it was found pretty much oin the form predicted, with the bony structures of the inner ear as predicted, in the geological strata at the date predicted - so there's nothing new about evolution proving its own efficacy.

It might be exciting for scientists to actually discover a predicted fossil (well, of course it is!) but us mere mortals don't need to see it to know the truth: we have seen mud skippers on mud flats. We have seen an eel a kilometre from water in the middle of a field, wriggling to the next waterway. We've learned that Inter-tidal zone animals are extremely tough, and can survive long periods of exposure to the extremely hard environment of "air".

So this isn't exactly surprising.

What IS surprising, is that there is no image - not even the obligatory 100-pixel-across thumbnail, which links to a lame-ass 200-pixel-across "Large Picture". I am very interested in seeing this thing - so where the bloody hell is it?

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (1)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073393)

Missing link, missing step. Whatever. This is a kind of creature that was missing in the evolutionary chain, and it was actively being searched for -- not because ID protagonists were talking about it, but because evolutionary biologists knew that it had to be somewhere.

You do bring up a good point, though about the fact that they (some of them, at least) had a reasonable idea as to where somewhere was. -- and, yes, the predictive nature of the evolutionary theory is one of the missing links (bwahahahaha!) in the ID process.

ID proponents just sit back and scream "HA! but now, you're missing step 2.3!"

"Uh, yes mam, I think I just said that."

Lessee now, God spent 2 billion years making them, and we've spent 200 years looking for them. It's not a big shock that we haven't found them all yet.

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (0)

ari_j (90255) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073461)

I believe in the Creation. I also believe that the methodology employed was evolution. Please stop (not just you, but people from the "creation means no evolution" camp as well) claiming that they are mutually exclusive. The two concepts are orthogonal. You can believe in one, the other, both, or neither without any inconsistencies.

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073477)

Then do you also believe that Homosapien is the final product of Creation? Are we the zenith of Evolution?

If you believe that evolution is happening and is continually differentiating species, then where does Homosapien stand in that evolutionary timeline? Are we just another interesting node in the evolutionary history of the Universe, to be supplanted by the homo-superior (not talking about Mac fanatics) species that we will eventually spawn (alternatively, we will die out and another evolutionary lineage will take our place)?

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (5, Funny)

rk (6314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073546)

"Then do you also believe that Homosapien is the final product of Creation? Are we the zenith of Evolution?"

Well, I don't know about this we business, but I know I am... :-D

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073595)

Your mother was an intermediate form!

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (1)

Chris Graham (942108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073482)

I'd love to hear an elaboration of this idea, because I've heard it a few times now, but never with any detail. Do you believe the process of evolution was controlled by laws of nature that were planned to reach the result we are now at, whether it was 'helped along', and/or whether it would never have happened naturally without a 'spark', etc? I'd just like to get an understanding really of how God fits into your beliefs in evolution.

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (-1, Troll)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073607)

Here are some good questions to ask your local "ID is BS" person:

1. What caused the big bang? or What external force was there that caused the big bang?

2. Why did the sea creatures decide to go on land?

3. Get them to explain the evolutionary path that lead to creatures having sight.

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15073511)

I believe you are easily led, nay I know it.

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (0, Flamebait)

skogs (628589) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073516)

The scientists used their theory to not only predict the existence of such a transitional species, but also where, geologically, it would be located. And guess what - they found what they were looking for exactly where they were looking for it! Talk about predictive power!

Amazing how similar thinking can also prove just about any other faith based religion in the world. I know exactly what the bible says about foobar and I can see it in exactly this spot!! I know exactly what confucious says about foo, and look, it happened in japan on exactly the right day! The Omega code is absolutely true, the world will end on date in the past and it will be started by this country taking oil from this country.

The sooner we realize that faith in evolution is no more scientific than those damn bible thumping fools, then the sooner we can just quit arguing and realize that our way is not the way.

You can no more observe the beginning of time, and the exact way evolution happened than you can tell whether I am wearing pants or not. You aren't here to watch me make my post, so you can never really know...yes my pants have my skin cells on them, yes they are carbon dated to have carbon in the cells exactly yea old, but you can never prove beyond a shadow of __person's__ doubt that I truly was, or was not, wearing any pants while posting.

Flame away diephobic moderators...flame away.

I actually realize the things I believe are just that. :)

Wish granted! (3, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073541)

> Flame away diephobic moderators...flame away.

You're a fookin returd.

Oh, and your post was really stupid too.

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (1)

Dimensio (311070) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073543)

The sooner we realize that faith in evolution is no more scientific than those damn bible thumping fools, then the sooner we can just quit arguing and realize that our way is not the way.

Perhaps you should address the evidence and explain why a validated, tangible specific prediction is somehow equivalent to "religious faith". Supporting your claims, rather than just asserting them, would give you a great deal more credibility.

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (1)

skogs (628589) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073590)

You can support your claims about my pants as much as you like...I still say you believe them and can't prove it...since you aren't here to witness the unfolding of my posts.

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (1)

Dimensio (311070) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073614)

I still say you believe them and can't prove it

Actually, nothing in science is "proven". Explanations can only be further supported as potentially valid through additional evidence, or they can be disproven through contradictory evidence.

Re: It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073596)

> > The sooner we realize that faith in evolution is no more scientific than those damn bible thumping fools, then the sooner we can just quit arguing and realize that our way is not the way.

> Perhaps you should address the evidence and explain why a validated, tangible specific prediction is somehow equivalent to "religious faith". Supporting your claims, rather than just asserting them, would give you a great deal more credibility.

Yeah, but when you can't support your claims you have to fall back on that sort of rhetorical posturing as a substitute.

Or else abandon your claims, but that's not an option for some people.

Re:It's not a missing link, and nice predictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15073540)

>> also where, geologically, it would be located.

This is inaccurate. This area has been combed over and over by scientists for decades - because it is a rather well preserved, fossil-ridden area. Many research grants for this area were granted for other purposes (early mammil, reptile, etc...) It has not all been "we're here to look for this specific missing link because we know it's here". More than likely, during studies on reptile fossils in general - this was uncovered.

Remain strong! (5, Funny)

scapermoya (769847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073296)

Clearly, His Noodliness is testing us.

The Great Transmogrification (1)

craXORjack (726120) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073390)

Clearly, His Noodliness is testing us.

Oops. Sorry, but I think I ate his noodliness last night. He's not a vengeful god, is he?

Re:The Great Transmogrification (1, Funny)

scapermoya (769847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073406)

it wouldnt surprise me in the least if you were found dead tomorrow, with signs of pirate related injuries

Re:The Great Transmogrification (3, Interesting)

Attrition_cp (888039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073545)

Actually eating spaghetti and noodles in general is approved, sort of like going to communion.

Re:The Great Transmogrification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15073625)

Take this noodle, it is my body. Take this tangy maranara, it is my blood.

Hell, I am hungry now.

His noodliness gave us the ability to reason (1)

Falcon040 (915278) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073454)

The best thing his noodly mightiness gave us was the ability to reason and think for ourselves.

I would say it is a test of if we follow others like sheep without reasoning and thinking individually, or if we use our god given minds to understand the objects provided by the natural environment around us to discover the truths for ourselves.

PS. God == Nature.

Try reading anything about god with that in mind! And then you can understand its true meaning...

Re:His noodliness gave us the ability to reason (1)

scapermoya (769847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073466)

Well, unfortunately human knowledge is so expansive and wide-ranging that we can't go through and think for ourselves at every step of the way if we want to build on the work of those before us. There is room for skeptics on both sides, but it should never be deconstructive skepticism. Are you espousing the pantheistic "God is literally everything" or the Franciscan "God is mirrored in everything"?

Re:His noodliness gave us the ability to reason (1)

Falcon040 (915278) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073552)

Indeed it is great to build on the work before us - so not everything can be questioned in infinitesimal detail from infinite directions, that certainly would stop anyone from getting anywhere (except those using Calculus).

However, Some thought is required by each individual to question the truthfulness of what other people state as 'obvious' or 'clear' or 'righteous' or when stating that 'God certainly wouldn't have design a world as/like...'. Questioning those statements and step by step individual reasoning will help to come to the truth much more quickly.

Doing this is certainly not deconstructive skeptisms right?

Regarding God and Nature... I think of it more along the lines of 'the way things flow' in this Universe. The Universe of course including everything - hence 'Uni-'. In this way it could be interpreted by some as saying 'God has a hand in everything'. (Also that 'Nature has a hand in everything', equating God == Nature).

Of course, regarding 'Interpretation', one can use reasoning to say that roughly: Interpretation = Opinion = Bias

Re:His noodliness gave us the ability to reason (1)

scapermoya (769847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073638)

Well, since I don't believe in a god of any sort, I avoid a lot of that wishwash. The problem with many people who advocate things like ID is that their agenda isn't to spread truth about science everywhere, or else they would be scientists with peer-reviewed articles. The "debate" over evolution isn't really a debate, it only exists because some people choose to call their refuting of a basic scientific principle a "debate". Sadly, evolution doesn't have equations that one could print out on a peice of paper and staple to every ID proponent. Can you imagine if gravity was like evolution, in the sense that it couldn't be boiled down to a constant or simple equation? The Onion ran a peice about intelligent falling, which is exactly what would be out there if this was the case. The way in which things flow is a process, not an object. Do you believe that god is reflected in nature or that he/she/it is actually present in rocks and trees and shrubbery?

Re:Remain strong! (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073473)

While that fish-o-gator is tasting the Noodliness.

Please, don't use "missing link". (5, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073305)

The fossil record is (and always will be) full of holes for the simple reason that not everything gets preserved (and some environments make preservation extremely unlikely), and there's no "magic fossil" that's needed in order to make the big puzzle fall together.

For the most part, the big puzzle is already together. Yeah, there are lots of areas where we'd like to have more detail, but "missing link" implies that we're looking for some sort of Holy Grail, and are in a jam without it.

That simply ain't the way it is.

Re:Please, don't use "missing link". (-1, Flamebait)

skogs (628589) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073568)

I still remember the class I took as an elective in college. You know...the one entitled Prehistoric Civilizations. I thought, neato, we can read up on cool Civilizations that weren't really written down that well...you know like Mayans, aboriginal peoples of the americas...who the white man snuffed out...the original peoples of south america before the europeans came....

No...I was mistaken. This was a class about 100% Evolutionary theory. Really...the teacher even looked like some intermediary step between humans and _whatever_.

We spent an entire semester memorizing how such and such fossil, derived of one single partial jaw piece, and two teeth...found 50 miles away from eachother, in different strata...are related to eachother...and how it proves evolution.

Skipped the part about how the guy that discovered them...yeah, the important world changing scientist...yeah, he was discredited as a complete fraud...and admitted to it.

But this information is still gladly taught to people that wish to believe in evolution no matter what...I presume because they are afraid of the alternatives.

Really, I don't much care what a person believes in, but I really hated spending $1200.00 tuition money for a class that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt was teaching lies...lies the actual researchers/scientist admitted to.

Flame mod me. I dare you moderators. Flame me for injecting my life encounters with higher education and fraudulent teachings

I had some good things come out of that class, but only 40% or so of the material was legit and 'accepted' by the greater scientific community.

All wet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15073306)

Don't forget to bring a towel.

--Towelie

Re:All wet (0)

carrett (671802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073413)

Kyle: Aw no...

Towlie: When you're playin' sports, the sweat can get in your face. That's why Towlie says "Always keep an extra towel in your duffle bag."

Stan: OK...we will...

Towlie: All right! ......You wanna get high?

Kyle: No we don't want to get high!

Towlie: OK...you sure?

Cartman: Yes, go away you stupid towel!

Stan: Oh dude, did you see that? I cut off your face and ate it!

Cartman: That's so...kewl!

The thing most interesting to me about this (4, Insightful)

mcc (14761) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073312)

This was a predicted, sought find. This wasn't just like, some people found a fossil and was like "wow! this fills the gap in a missing link between reptiles and fish!". They set out to find something like this, targeted the most likely places in which to find it, and actually found what they were looking for. A quote of a Ahlberg and Clack article from the Pharyngula blog [scienceblogs.com] (lots of information there):
First, it demonstrates the predictive capacity of palaeontology. The Nunavut field project had the express aim of finding an intermediate between Panderichthys and tetrapods, by searching in sediments from the most probable environment (rivers) and time (early Late Devonian). Second, Tiktaalik adds enormously to our understanding of the fish-tetrapod transition because of its position on the tree and the combination of characters it displays.
I think that's just neat.

Re: The thing most interesting to me about this (5, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073369)

> This was a predicted, sought find. This wasn't just like, some people found a fossil and was like "wow! this fills the gap in a missing link between reptiles and fish!". They set out to find something like this, targeted the most likely places in which to find it, and actually found what they were looking for.

A similar thing can be seen on a NOVA [wikipedia.org] episode that they air now and then, where a palentologist used existing fossils in the sequence of whale ancestry to estimate the date of an intermediate form, consulted geologists re where to find exposed land that was the bottom of a shallow sea at that date, visited the site (now a desert) recommended by the geologists, and found vertebrae for the predicted species lying exposed in the sand. Excavations uncovered more complete specimins showing the predicted features of "nose" and legs.

> I think that's just neat.

Way neat.

Only being silly (0, Flamebait)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073499)

It's amazing what you can find if you have a preconception. Religious people do this every day of their lives, constantly finding proof of God being alive (and I of course am talking about the Christian God, that is the God that the Church of Latter Day Saints believe in, because there is no other god in existence), and yet scientists constantly dismiss their evidence, because they were found be people who had a prior belief. And yet when scientists do this, looking for evidence in a THEORY they believe in, and miraculously finding it, the scientists hold it up as the greatest achievement of mankind. They're just so hypocritical, and I am flabbergasted at why they hate God and America so much.

Invisible friends (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15073547)

Yes, I know, the one true Bob.
Bob lives forever.
Bob has these pets/slaves called humans. You are one of these pets/slaves.
Bob really likes to be worshipped by these pets/slaves. In fact this is his only external purpose.
Bob is invisble.
Bob is very powerful, and Bob's presence is made obvious with examples like flowers and jumbo jets.
Bob could squish us like bugs if he wanted too.

Oh mighty Bob. Oh mighty Bob.

Re:Only being silly (0, Flamebait)

Capt_Morgan (579387) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073616)

HAHAHA, mormonism? You mean the scam religion? Dude, that is just sad that you buy into that scam. Joseph Smith was nothing more than a con-man. And why do people seeking to better the knowledge and learning of the human race hate america? I think the people taat really hate america are the people using their pseudo-religions to hold back our position of scientific prominence

IANAEB (5, Funny)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073316)

I Am Not An Evolutionary Biologist -- So talking about this makes me feel a bit like a fish out of water.

Re:IANAEB (2, Informative)

dteichman2 (841599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073353)

How can you be a non-evolutionary biologist? To be a biologist, one must understand say... DNA, which then has the whole "gene thing." Organisms with DNA that codes for beneficial traits live on, and the rest die. Evolution.

Re:IANAEB (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073400)

Maybe he's not a biologist at all.

Sounds like a gar (1, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073331)

First, it's entirely unreasonable to entertain questions and concerns from unscientific proponents of so-called Intelligent Design. The debate ought not revolve around disproving Intelligent Design. Giving audience to those idiots is like teaching retarded children calculus: perhaps a noble endeavor, but ultimately pointless and frustrating.

Second, from the description, it sounds like gars and other crocodile-like fish. The pathway from gills to lungs needs to be fleshed out more, but from the description, this is a very interesting fish.

Re:Sounds like a gar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15073382)

First, it's entirely unreasonable to entertain questions and concerns from scientific proponents of so-called Evolution. The debate ought not revolve around disproving Evolution. Giving audience to those idiots is like teaching retarded children calculus: perhaps a noble endeavor, but ultimately pointless and frustrating.

*Edited for correctness

Re:Sounds like a gar (1, Flamebait)

DesireCampbell (923687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073564)

Trying to teach IDers evolution isn't like teaching retarded children calculus, it's like trying to teach Nazis Hebrew.

The first group might want to learn, the other group doesn't.

Intelligent Design or Creationists? (2, Insightful)

quantaman (517394) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073332)

"As such, it will be a blow to proponents of intelligent design, who claim that the many gaps in the fossil record show evidence of some higher power."

This certainly goes against creationism but afaik the only difference between evolution and intelligent design is that intelligent design claims statistics is insufficient and a divine guiding hand was required, wouldn't this missing link be required for either model as both need to go from water to land?

Re:Intelligent Design or Creationists? (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073374)

Well, that's part of the problem of ID. Really, a very small number of people have thought through ID to its logical (or illogical) conclusion. They do, however, say that there's a problem in the fossil record in that there's "no transitional fossils" (see previous comments about this fallacious argument). This is just the sort of thing that such folks were mockingly certain did not exist.

Guess they do.

Re: Intelligent Design or Creationists? (2, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073388)

> "As such, it will be a blow to proponents of intelligent design, who claim that the many gaps in the fossil record show evidence of some higher power."

> This certainly goes against creationism but afaik the only difference between evolution and intelligent design is that intelligent design claims [...]

The proponents of ID are all over the spectrum with respect to their views on evolution. Some are YECs of the most narrow sort; others think biologists basically have things right except for an occasional event of intelligent intervention.

> wouldn't this missing link be required for either model as both need to go from water to land?

No, intelligent design is such a handwave that it fits any model and any observation, so long as you preserve the claim that "somebody" had a hand in things somewhere along the way. Since it doesn't put any constraints on what that "somebody" can or would do, you can't make any predictions. For example, the YEC subset of IDers wouldn't accept that anything went "from water to land" -- they think all species were created pretty much as is.

Queue the "Creationists are idiots!" posts (-1, Flamebait)

anomaly (15035) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073360)

I can hear the naturalists clacking away at their keyboards in glee with the "smoking gun" that evolution has finally been "proven" and that the creationists will have to sit in stunned silence under the weight of the evidence finally presented.

Let's not oversimplify this discussion. Thoughtful, intelligent people on both sides of this debate have passion, and conviction. As a creationist, I welcome advances in knowledge that arise from investigation of the physical realm. I respect men (and women) of science, and applaud this new discovery - but that changes not my conviction that a creator made the planet as it is. There are enough complexities and challenges with the idea of evolution as a means of speciation that one more discovery does not put a nail in the coffin of creationism.

I'm not looking to start a debate on this issue, but I am hoping to raise the level of discussion by respectfully asking those who would use this occasion to ridicule people with whom they disagree to please refrain. This is a complex issue and cheap shots are not productive. I will refrain from ridicule as well. Deal?

Respectfully,
Anomaly

Re:Queue the "Creationists are idiots!" posts (2, Insightful)

1984 (56406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073418)

I have a question that I've never really understood the answer to: why is creationism as a belief incompatible with science (including evolution)? Whatever science comes up with, one can always back out and say that the system as a whole was created by an omnipotent external creator. So what I don't get terribly well is why all the fuss about evolution in the first place, unless it's only dogma that's important?

(For me anyway, it's the notion that dogma, existing power structures and beliefs which are important -- rather than any serious notion of consistent broader philosophy -- that's scary.)

Re:Queue the "Creationists are idiots!" posts (1)

intheory (261976) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073567)

The problem with a millions-of-years evolution theory for Christians is that if you accept millions-of-years, and the existance and extinction of dinosoaurs prior to mankind, then you accept death, disease, and suffering prior to the fall of Adam. This doesn't fit into the belief structure of Christianity which states that prior to sin the world was without corruption, disease or pain.

This of course, applies most specifically to "literalist" Christians, who believe in a literal creation account in Genesis. Many Christians sway on this point, and say "okay, well yeah I believe God uses evolution as part of his system," which personally I feel is an unfortunate decision, because it erodes the basic tenants of our faith and negates the entire sin->separation->sacrifice->salvation foundation of Christ.

Anyway, as you can see in some of my previous [slashdot.org] posts [slashdot.org] on /. [slashdot.org] , I try to be level-headed and not an ignorant Christian/creationist about the whole thing. I only hope, as other posters have mentioned, that these conversations don't devolve into name-colling or derogatory slug-fests. But that is sort of inevitable I suppose....

Anyway, in regards to this specific fossil, interesting stuff. I would tend to agree that the gill/breathing thing is pretty lacking--that part needs some flesh put on it (ha ha) before I think the at large community will see this as truly "transitionary" in nature. Bone structure etc... is a pretty major change, but if the primary biologic functions of the creature aren't changed (i.e. how it handles CO2/O2 exchange) then I wonder how big of a deal it is? I didn't major in bio though...(neither did I major in Christianity...but whatever).

Re:Queue the "Creationists are idiots!" posts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15073594)

It's incompatible in the sense that Creationism is based on faith where evolution is based on factual evidence. Also, the idea of an all-powerful God was a logical hypothesis of our existence thousands of years ago. The need for a supreme creator has diminished as our understanding of life, the universe, and everything else has progressed. God may still be in the gaps of our knowledge, or he may not. I find it interesting that such a pervasive character like God who is supposed to be responsible for literally everything in the universe, and expects to be worshiped for that fact, has left no conclusive traces of his handiwork. In other words: "Crazy theories one, regular theories a billion."

Re:Queue the "Creationists are idiots!" posts (1)

Dimensio (311070) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073600)

I have a question that I've never really understood the answer to: why is creationism as a belief incompatible with science (including evolution)?

When speaking of "creationism" in the context of evolution, the reference is typically to "special creationism", which postulates that a deity, God, created all species individually, rather than species emerging from common descent through evolution. Such a claim is inconsistent with observed reality.

Re: Queue the "Creationists are idiots!" posts (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073429)

> I can hear the naturalists clacking away at their keyboards in glee with the "smoking gun" that evolution has finally been "proven" and that the creationists will have to sit in stunned silence under the weight of the evidence finally presented.

To the extent that anything is ever "proven" in the natural sciences, evolution was "proven" well over 100 years ago.

And of course, nobody expects creationists to sit in stunned (or any other kind of) silence, regardless of what evidence is presented.

> Let's not oversimplify this discussion. Thoughtful, intelligent people on both sides of this debate have passion, and conviction.

Yes, but one side has facts and a theory, whereas the other has a well-funded propaganda machine and a lot of self-appointed spiritual advisors telling the ignorant masses that they'll be tortured for all eternity if they let the facts affect their conclusions.

> As a creationist, I welcome advances in knowledge that arise from investigation of the physical realm. I respect men (and women) of science, and applaud this new discovery - but that changes not my conviction that a creator made the planet as it is.

To paraphrase the old saying, facts won't dissuade anyone from a position that isn't built on facts to begin with.

> There are enough complexities and challenges with the idea of evolution as a means of speciation that one more discovery does not put a nail in the coffin of creationism.

Except as a religious/social/political issue, creatinism was nailed back in the nineteenth century.

> I'm not looking to start a debate on this issue, but I am hoping to raise the level of discussion by respectfully asking those who would use this occasion to ridicule people with whom they disagree to please refrain. This is a complex issue and cheap shots are not productive. I will refrain from ridicule as well. Deal?

For my money, people who express ridiculous views are entitled to all the ridicule they reap. (Unless they're insane, in which case we should show a little sympathy for their plight.)

If you would care to identify any of the creationism evangelists who are insane, it would help things alone.

Re:Queue the "Creationists are idiots!" posts (-1, Redundant)

Gryle (933382) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073434)

But that requires maturity. This is Slashdot remember?

Re:Queue the "Creationists are idiots!" posts (1)

fleaboy (657517) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073439)

Maybe holding your views in peace could be a solution? Jumping on the defensive on a site that is generally pro-science gives the appearance of being righteous yet unsure to some degree. Maybe living your truth is all that is required. Foaming and frothing at the mouth from either side of the issue is ridiculous.

Re:Queue the "Creationists are idiots!" posts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15073446)

I'm not looking to start a debate on this issue, but I am hoping to raise the level of discussion by respectfully asking those who would use this occasion to ridicule people with whom they disagree to please refrain.

In other words: "I can't win a creationism vs science argument, so I hope nobody starts one."

Open mouth, insert foot (2, Insightful)

JetJaguar (1539) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073456)

Has it occurred to you that in making this very statement, that you are, in fact, doing exactly what you accuse your opponents of? You implore posters from taking cheap shots, and yet your first sentence is exactly that. Right off the bat you are assasinating the character of those who disagree with you with statements like this:

I can hear the naturalists clacking away at their keyboards in glee with the "smoking gun" that evolution has finally been "proven" and that the creationists will have to sit in stunned silence under the weight of the evidence finally presented.

As a scientist, creationism isn't on my radar at all, and quite frankly, I don't give a rat's ass whether or not you believe it. What I do care about, is people such as yourself misrepresenting both science and religion as something that they are not, claiming you know things that you clearly do not. And then blaming good scientists for your own ignorance and lack of insight.

The fact is, evolution has been satisfactorily proven to work. Creationism and intelligent design are DOA, and the only open question about these idiotic ideas, is how much damage are they going to do to both science and religion before they finally go down for good.

Re:Queue the "Creationists are idiots!" posts (-1, Troll)

JediLow (831100) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073488)

And... you get modded as flamebait for it. Lets hope that the metamoderation knocks out whoever did that (c'mon people READ the moderator guidelines).

As for the question that someone asked on why faith is incompatiable with evolution - I'll take a Judeo-Christian view. According to Genesis, sin entered the world through Adam, and as a part of that sin is what causes death (in both man and animals). A necessary component to evolution is death which sets itself completely opposite to that view.

For myself - I'd wait for the findings to be verified. Its too simple to just claim you have a new fossil, and its also possible to fake records (which has been done numerous times in the past). However, one fossil doesn't really destroy creation or intelligent design theory (and just because you, the nerd at the computer, refuse to hold evolution as a rational belief (that it could be disproven) shows that you don't have the intellectual high ground which you think you do) - there are still too many holes in evolution to prove its claims (why did only the 'missing links' die, if they're an improvement on prior species shouldn't they have had a higher survival rate?).

Re:Queue the "Creationists are idiots!" posts (4, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073550)

There are enough complexities and challenges with the idea of evolution as a means of speciation that one more discovery does not put a nail in the coffin of creationism.

Actually, it is impossible for any nails to be placed in the coffin of creationism, because it isn't a theory that is able to be proven or disproven. However creationist proponents have placed creationism in opposition to evolution, so this can place a nail in the coffin of that use of creationism.

Oh, and creationists who claim that evolution and creationism have equal evidence backing up each theory (or even better, that there is more evidence to back up creationism then there is to back up evolution) ARE idiots. I'm always happy to hear evidence that helps prove creationism, but I've yet to actually see any. I've seen logical thoughts (as in "but how could it have happened? it's all so complex" although they do rely on premises that can be neither proven nor disproven themselves), but no direct real evidence (for instance, evolution was just a thought, a theory, until fossil records were discovered that helped prove it).

Respectfully
aussie_a

Pictures (5, Informative)

lifeisgreat (947143) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073361)

Since the write-up lacked anything flashy, here's an article from the Nature journal [nature.com] about the find.

Doesn't look very tasty.

Re:Pictures (3, Informative)

whitehatlurker (867714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073490)

Also Scientific American [sciam.com] 's article has a couple of pictures. AND National Geographic [nationalgeographic.com] has a write-up on it.

Misunderstanding (1, Flamebait)

AnonymousCactus (810364) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073363)

Intelligent Design is wrong for so many reasons, why do so many comment on it while not understanding it?

"As such, it will be a blow to proponents of intelligent design, who claim that the many gaps in the fossil record show evidence of some higher power."

It's like saying evolution isn't true because my dad isn't a monkey.
And we're supposed to be the intellectuals...


Intelligent Design [wikipedia.org]

Intellectuals? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15073426)

FYI: Most slashdotters are really niggers.

Re:Misunderstanding (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073623)

I would blame it on the ID proponent's inability to communicate their beliefs in a coherent manner.

Missing link (5, Funny)

irish_spic (18702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073395)

Heh, there's lots of missing links here in canada - calling each other hosers and swilling cheap beer, eh.

What I really want to know... (0)

jamrock (863246) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073408)

..is what they tasted like. There's a Surf and Turf joke in there somewhere. Any takers?

Doesn't prove evolution (2, Funny)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073441)

The Flying Spaghetti Monster just put it there to confuse us.

FYI (4, Funny)

prof_peabody (741865) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073457)

m = milli = 10^-3
M = mega = 10^6

325m years = ~ 118.6 days

Missing link may be a bit young don't you think?

Re: FYI (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073529)

m = milli = 10^-3
M = mega = 10^6

325m years = ~ 118.6 days

Missing link may be a bit young don't you think?
That's the difference between a "Missing link" and a "missing link".

Re:FYI (1)

Davey McDave (926282) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073643)

Yeah, that notation only works if you're using standard SI units, which years clearly aren't (for example there's no such thing as a millidegree.. you have 60 minutes in a degree, and then 60 seconds in a minute). The m doesn't stand for mega OR milli, it stands for million.

Pedantic humour is best when you're actually correct.

Are The Global Warming Folks Doing Anthro Now? (-1, Flamebait)

chromozone (847904) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073486)

A specific bone dug up here or there can be imaginatively tailored to fit the desired context. The real problem as Victor David Hansen wrote are the great many fossils missing.

"Then there is the uncomfortable lack of fossil evidence supporting evolution: "The fossil evidence," Johnson notes, "is very difficult to reconcile with the Darwinist scenario. If all living species descended from common ancestors by an accumulation of tiny steps, then there once must have existed a veritable universe of transitional intermediate forms linking the vastly different organisms of today, such as moths, trees, and humans, with their hypothetical common ancestors." Yet when forced to acknowledge the appearance in the fossil record of numerous species already fully formed, as in the "Cambrian explosion" of species 600 million years ago, apologists for evolution advance a variation of the "dog ate my homework" argument: there is a gap in the fossil record because for some reason the fossils didn't survive. The issue is not that a few apparently transitional fossils like that of archaeopteryx, the feathered dinosaur, exist, but that millions more don't...

It is the Darwinians who display an intolerance of dissent and impatience with criticism more typical of the fundamentalist mentality, as evidenced by the readiness with which some Darwinians resort to ad hominem attacks and personal disparagement of their critics."

Victor David Hansen

"the" missing link? (-1, Flamebait)

Jsutton1027w (757650) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073520)

I'm sorry, but "the" missing link? This is the stupidest evolution cheerleading article I've seen yet. Evoultion has an indefinite (meaning undefined) number of missing links, and this is just one species that really can't be proven to be a missing link at all.

You can't point to a species (or a group of species) and say "this is the previous generation" or "this is the subsequent generation." This cannot be proven or disproven to be a missing link between any two animals. This kind of wild speculation has no place in science.

Here's the basic logic of the article (albeit, simplified greatly):

A: aquatic animals that exist today don't have arms
B: land animals that exist today do have arms
C: this animal appears to be aquatic and it also has arms
Conclusion: THIS MUST BE THE MISSING LINK!!!!11!!11

Does anyone else but me see the flawed logic that exists here?

Evolution approaches theories by assuming a HUGE number of assertions are true, trying to find evidence to back them up (all the time skewing your interpretations of the evidence based on your assumptions), and teaching those assumptions as facts to the unknowing masses in the mean time. This is a flawed system in and of itself, as the next generation of 'scientists' will think that these assumptions have been proven (after all, why would they teach them in a classroom if they haven't been proven??).

I'm not saying that we need to _assume_ that God made the universe either (that happens to be my opinion, but that's beside the point), but why can't we at least accept the fact that we don't have enough scientific evidence to make even an educated guess as to what the true origin of the universe is? Is there something wrong with saying "we don't know that right now, but we're investigating it"?

You give yourself away (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073577)

the true origin of the universe

No one said anything about the origin of the universe. That is a mistake that Creationists make when trying to impute religious meaning into biological processes. "If evolution is true, it must explain the entire history of the universe." Wrong. Evolution describes the process of speciation. It says, "over time, species X will undergo genetic changes to such an extent that after n generations the resulting offspring will be a distinct species." The method of speciation is debatable, but the process of speciation is not.

If you have a problem with physicists and cosmologists about the origin of the Universe, that's something to take up with them.

Re:You give yourself away (1)

Jsutton1027w (757650) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073626)

The method of speciation is debatable, but the process of speciation is not.

I don't quite understand what you mean. I thought everything in science was debatable. I guess I don't know how you distinguish method (definition: "Orderly arrangement of parts or steps to accomplish an end") from process (definition: "A series of actions, changes, or functions bringing about a result").

And, yes, I should have said 'origin of species' rather than universe.

Re:"the" missing link? (1)

Dimensio (311070) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073578)

Evolution approaches theories by assuming a HUGE number of assertions are true, trying to find evidence to back them up (all the time skewing your interpretations of the evidence based on your assumptions), and teaching those assumptions as facts to the unknowing masses in the mean time.

What assertions does evolution assume to be true? Be specific, and provide as many as you can.

I'm not saying that we need to _assume_ that God made the universe either (that happens to be my opinion, but that's beside the point),

Such an assumption has no bearing on evolution, as evolution says nothing regarding the origin of the universe, nor does it say anything regarding the existence of any deities. It does, however, beg the question of why the specfic deity God is being assumed to the exclusion of all other deities worshipped and/or acknowledged throughout human history.

but why can't we at least accept the fact that we don't have enough scientific evidence to make even an educated guess as to what the true origin of the universe is?

I do not understand the relevance of this question. The theory of evolution says nothing whatsoever regarding the origin of the universe.

Re:"the" missing link? (1)

mantar (941076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073598)

I would have worded it a bit differently, but I think you have a valid point. There is simply no way for us to know whether this creature is a member of a transitional species or just another species that at one time became extinct and until recently has been hidden from the eyes of science.

Re:"the" missing link? (1)

Capt_Morgan (579387) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073634)

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Evolution is built on hard evidence... no assumptions. Things like cladistics, morphology and genetics. i suggest you read up on www.talkorigins.com before commenting on evolution any further

Link is useless without pictures. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15073532)

So what about dolphins, regular crocodiles, crabs, tree-climbing catfish, platapi etc? What's to say this find is a spectacular missing link, when other bizzare creatures already exist, but prove little to nothing?

Sorry, not a missing link (5, Funny)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073551)

You can only find a "link", not a "missing link." Once found it is no longer missing.
In much the same way as a hot water heater is unneeded since hot water is already hot.
/attempted humor

Evolution is not gradual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15073556)

The Darwinian view of evolution as a smooth and gradual transition has been depreciated by even modern evolutionists.

90% of you don't realize that. Modern evolution is about leaps and bounds... there is never a gradiant. This can be seen in the geologic fossil records and the fact that there are never any "missing links" discovered that are believed by anyone credible.

You guys need to jump off the "I don't believe in God, so therefore I follow Darwin" and get a clue. You don't even know what he said, published, or retracted, much less the theory advancment of his successors.

If you want to believe in evolution fine. But at least make a reasonable attempt to read up on it before you start reciting century-year-old beliefs that you vaguely remember from middle-school Science History as if you are experts on the modern theory.

Oh, how nice of them (2)

thetelepath (534949) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073588)

I like how the first thing on their minds is giving us a blow-by-blow play of evolution vs. intelligent design. (See third paragraph) Is it too much to ask for a story that just says, "Hey look, we found this cool fossil that seems to coincide properly with the theory of evolution in a way that we haven't seen before" without bringing up how stupid intelligent design is? Hasn't it crossed anyone's mind that the existence of evolutionary changes might not play any role whatsoever in the proving or disproving of the existence of a higher power? I mean, it's God we're talking about here. He could've created the birds from the fish, then the land creatures from the birds by means of evolution like he created woman from man, if he wanted to. Or we could be trapped in a strange time loop and the fossils we keep digging up are really genetic experiments of creatures that couldn't survive and died out in the future. Actually, I'd better claim copyright on that idea so I can write a crappy mini-series for the sci-fi channel. Anyway, the point is that evolution really is still a theory. Granted, it seems like a pretty good one so far, but it's not exactly provable without either time travel or the witnessing of the generation of a new species in our midst.

Okay, so I get that you're just trying to "save" all of those crazy fundamentalists from believing in something that doesn't seem scientifically viable. Just thought I'd let you know that making fun of them doesn't really help your case. Though what really annoys me are the people who are into Christianity for purely political reasons and make the rest look like fools when they go up to bat for some foolhardy idea (a la Kansas), but that's a whole other discussion.

Re:Oh, how nice of them (1)

D3m3rz3l (914486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073615)

"Just a theory". "Provable". "Higher power". sigh.

Too many gaps (0, Flamebait)

cartel (845256) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073606)

For me personally, there are just too many gaps. To convince me at least, one fossil/species is not enough - this species they found could be similar in nature to the duckbill platypus. And where is the fossil evidence that the duckbill platypus evolved from another species? If macroevolution were true, then I would think there would be numerous fossils comparable to this one all over the place, but I do not see evidence of this. True there are numerous species in existence today, but we cannot identify DIRECT parent and child species of any particular species, respectively. If evolution, as they say, takes so long, there WOULD be fossils that we COULD conclusively show are directly linked to other species - without missing links - and they would be found just as easily as dinosaur fossils are.

Where's the missing link between Windows 3.11 & (0, Offtopic)

GnoWay (964578) | more than 8 years ago | (#15073611)

Has anybody wondered what the missing link is between Windows 3.11 and 95? There is a very wide gulf there, both in the OS and the version number. They have to be related, though, because the have so much common DNA (dos).
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