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Science

Scientists Discover Common Ancestor of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans 391

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-n-mother-had-a-lengthy-tail dept.
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.'"
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Scientists Discover Common Ancestor of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans

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  • by DavidChristopher (633902) * on Saturday May 16, 2009 @01:29PM (#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.

    • by mevets (322601) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @01:33PM (#27980131)

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

      • by p51d007 (656414) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @01:38PM (#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 ;)
        • by speedtux (1307149) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @03:18PM (#27980803)

          Obviously, thousands of years ago, we were different

          Thousands of years ago, we were not different. Tens of thousands of years ago, we may have been slightly different.

          I believe we were created by god, to evolve.

          There is an unbroken chain of a billion years of evolution connecting us to simple bacteria. If God created any species from scratch, it must have been simple bacteria, but the rest evolved from that.

          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 ;)

          Well, from the scientific side, you spark controversy because you're wrong. From the creationism side, you spark controversy because you use the "evolution" word.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 16, 2009 @01:42PM (#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: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Zapotek (1032314)
          Whoosh!
        • 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.

          • by the phantom (107624) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @04:52PM (#27981523) Homepage
            When one states that they "believe in evolution," they muddy the line between accepting something on the basis of the evidence presented, and believing something on faith. This, in turn, makes it easier for the creationists to push the idea that evolution is a religious belief to the lay audience (which they are doing), in an effort to have proper science exorcised from the curriculum. Thus, this is a semantic argument that is not entirely trivial.
      • by FirstTimeCaller (521493) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @03:38PM (#27980929)

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

        It's time we stopped referring to them as creationist and start calling them what they really are: evolution deniers.

        Congratulations on your enlightenment by the way. It takes an open mind to weigh the evidence and change your point of view. You are to be commended.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          apparently, the ability to get a joke is not a trait that is naturally selected for.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Seraphim_72 (622457)

          It's time we stopped referring to them as creationist and start calling them what they really are: evolution deniers.

          Why logical people buy into the Evolution vs Science mess that was created buy the conservative christians always amazes me. By definition every Catholic is both a creationist and believes in evolution. Mods come sling your arrows, for I have heresied in your hallowed halls.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LordLucless (582312)
          Yeah, awesome. How about we stop calling them evolutionists, and start calling them "creationist deniers". Let's turn this into a war of perjorative terminology instead of ideas.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dov_0 (1438253)

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

        Strangely enough, I used to believe in Evolution, but now believe in Creationism and actually came to that turnaround by studying evolution. It is true though that Christians let themselves down terribly by using arguments that sound good to them, but are not worked through thoroughly. Please understand that I am not trolling, but just stating what I believe.

        Incredibly it was Christian monks who kept knowledge - the sciences - alive through the Dark Ages. Universities also were originally Christian institut

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sique (173459)

        I don't believe in evolution. There is nothing to believe. I use it as a very valuable vehicle to make sense of the biological world. But if it turns out that there was something fundamental going on we didn't spot yet, I am ready to abandon the concepts.

    • 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]

  • by Niris (1443675) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @01:34PM (#27980139)
    Slashdotters aren't human, you insensitive clod. Humans are social animals, we on the other hand, are not.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @01:37PM (#27980153) Homepage

    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 (Score:2, Funny)

    by ncohafmuta (577957)

    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!

  • Don't you talk about Cowboy Neal that way!

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

             

  • by foobsr (693224) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @01:44PM (#27980215) Homepage Journal
    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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      "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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MrMista_B (891430)

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

      No shit - how is that a point?

  • welcome the discovery of our ancestral lemur overlords.
  • Is that really this guy's name? Wow! The Christian Right is going to love this!!!! I smell a flame war brewing! ;-)
    • 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.

  • by Dachannien (617929) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @02:09PM (#27980391)

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

  • 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 debat

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oddman (204968)

      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.

      Wow, you clearly do not know the definition of the word "belief." Here you go (From Merriam-Webster): 1: a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing 2: something believed ; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group 3: conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence

      Notice that your little screed about evidence is completely irrelevant.

  • by icebike (68054) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @02:32PM (#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.

  • by vorlich (972710) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @03:07PM (#27980743) Homepage Journal
    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
  • Devolution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Msdose (867833) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @03:10PM (#27980757)

    All religions do eugenics on their adherents to breed them into loyal servants of the administration. Creationism is just a way of obfuscating their misuse of the law of nature that is evolution. Unfortunately, only nature can do genetics, which breeds entities suitable for their environment. Eugenics results in devolution, in the case of religion, breeding subhumans. Hey, if this continues, someday humans might be discovered to be the ancient lifeform from which monkeys, apes and lemurs evolved.

  • by porky_pig_jr (129948) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @03:23PM (#27980835)

    Then the only appropriate classificaiton name would be "Cowardus Anonymous Vulgaris".

  • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @03:43PM (#27980971)
    . . . in the proper context. The true beauty of this is that no one can really understand the infinite. For all you know, you may be your own god. See http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html [simulation-argument.com]. On the line between knowing everything and knowing nothing, we all sit so close to nothing that the probability of knowing/guessing the ultimate truth of the universe (even if there is such a thing) is infinitesimal. Therefore, evolution is as likely to be wrong as creationism. The advantage of creationism is that is gives hope to people who otherwise have nothing. The advantage of Darwinism is that it help us understand biology. Being right or wrong in the absolute sense is like arguing about when the next rock will roll on a planet in a galaxy that is one billion light years away. It would seem more relevant to argue about Brittany Spears' next lover.
  • by chromozone (847904) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @04:46PM (#27981459)

    "According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, scientists have discovered the common ancestor of monkeys, apes, and Slashdotters."

    Defaming monkeys and apes are we?

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