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Science

New Dinosaur Species Is a Missing Link 194

Posted by samzenpus
from the filling-in-the-blanks dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A new dinosaur provides a link between what paleontologists consider 'early' and 'later' dinosaurs. There's a gap in the fossil record between the oldest known dinosaurs, which walked or ran on their hind legs about 230 million years ago in Argentina and Brazil, and other predatory dinosaurs that lived much later. Daemonosaurus chauliodus helps fill in a blank in dinosaur history."
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New Dinosaur Species Is a Missing Link

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  • by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @08:55PM (#35814136) Homepage Journal
    In the ongoing "discussion" with the creationists, it has occasionally been pointed out that whenever a biologist finds a fossil that fills in a gap in the fossil record, one result is to replace the one gap with two gaps. Thus, no such discovery can ever persuade the creationists; it just adds to their list of known gaps in the fossil record To them, evolutionary theory can't be ready for prime time until all the fossil gaps are filled in. They don't acknowledge the patterns that biologists find in the (admittedly very sketchy) fossil record.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @09:02PM (#35814164)

    Cos they get on our school boards and tell our kids what to think.

  • by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @09:58PM (#35814406)

    "In the grand scheme of your daily life, and continued existence on this planet, how has the knowledge that humans evolved from monkeys, and so on and so forth down to single celled whatnot, been an important factor in your continued success as a person?"

    Biological and medical science wouldn't be where they are without knowledge of evolution and DNA, part of the whole picture is our evolutionary pattern.

    BTW, not descended from monkeys. We share a common ancestor with monkeys several million years ago.

    Sure, it may be ignorance, but I can be ignorant about a lot of things, and live a perfectly healthy and normal life.

    Teaching ignorance of life sciences to an entire generation is a recipe for total scientific failure later on, not to mention that teaching blind faith over critical thinking in general is a terrible idea.

    What one person believes is irrelevant. What is taught to entire generations of children will have an impact on the future of the country.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @10:15PM (#35814492)

    The is no such thing as a missing link, because there is no stable state - every new generation is a link to subsequent generations.

  • by c6gunner (950153) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @10:36PM (#35814570)

    For example we keep finding primate fossils that are very close relatives to man. Unfortunately, we have never found a fossil that is a direct ancestor of man. All we can say is that man and whatever fossil shared a common ancestor.

    Homo Heidelbergensis [wikipedia.org]
    Homo Antecessor [wikipedia.org]
    Homo Erectus [wikipedia.org]
    Australopithecus Afarensis [wikipedia.org]
    Ardipithecus [wikipedia.org]

    How far back do you want to go?

    It's rather irrelevant, anyway. Let me rephrase your complaint:

    "You've shown me two of your cousins, five of your brothers, three of your sisters, two uncles, and a niece. But you can't show me your mother or father, so clearly you were miracled into existence."

    Yep. Makes perfect sense.

  • by Creedo (548980) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @11:41PM (#35814822) Journal

    So you don't provide any guidance in the education of your children? You let the schools do it all yourself? You can't logically educate your child regarding your own beliefs and let them decide which way they want to go?

    I do. I also choose not to have my children lied to in school, which makes educating them a lot harder.

    I am a creationist, I studied Biology at University and I am still a creationist.

    Then you reject the biology you claimed to have studied, and for what? A handful of Bronze age myths that you find more compelling than empirical evidence? I guess congratulations are in order, if you find that to be laudable enough to admit in public.

    My kids will be taught evolution, and I have taught them my beliefs. I won't force either point of view on them - at some point they will make up their own mind. But at least they will be educated regarding both point of views.

    Are you also going to educate them in every other creation myth from every other religion? My kids know about Creationism. We dissect that oddball assertion on a regular basis, as they have a lot of school friends who spout off the popular rhetoric of the churches they attend. But it's mythology, and doesn't belong in a science class. Nor does it rank anywhere near the level of science.

    I don't think, or claim, that Evolutionists are "idiots" - I don't need to resort to name calling to try and discount the other point of view.

    Should I award you a medal? You apparently don't understand the difference between groundless assertions and methodical research. Here's a hint: when a person chooses to reject the latter in favor of the former, they are an idiot. And it doesn't matter if we are talking about Creationism, conspiracy theories, anti-vaccine beliefs or the coming of Xenu. If you choose bullshit over knowledge, don't expect to be respected by the rest of us.

    Having a child taught something at school is not "through the backdoor" - you're aware of it, you are ultimately responsible for your child - so don't blame their school for your inability to argue your point of view.

    The backdoor is the attempt to teach Creationism as science. Let me make this totally clear for you: CREATIONISM IS RELIGION, NOT SCIENCE. I don't care one whit if you teach it in comparative religion class. I don't care if your pastor spouts off about it while you sit in a pew. You are free to believe any whacked out crap that you want, but KEEP IT OUT OF THE SCIENCE CLASSROOM!

  • Exactly. The process of evolution is gradual. Speciation doesn't occur in a single generation, or even in a single lifetime.

    Consider equines. Horses and donkeys clearly share an evolutionary ancestor. In fact, they haven't even completely diverged from that ancestor; despite "obviously" being different species, they are inter-fertile. The offspring (mules) are infertile, so it is reasonable to call horses and donkeys different species; they can produce live offspring, but those offspring are a genetic dead end.

    OK, how does that relate to my point? Well, sometime many millennia ago, there were a group of equines that, although not exactly like today's donkeys, were close enough that you would call them donkeys. There was a similar group of "horses". Here's the weird thing: they were the same species (interfertile and producing viable offspring). Somewhere over the millennia since then, the two groups, breeding primarily within their own group and not between groups, reinforced certain traits to the point where cross-group offspring were no longer fertile.

    The question for you: how the heck do you define where speciation occurred? Was it when the (still interfertile) groups started moving apart? Was it the first member of each group that could not produce fertile offspring with more than half the potential mates in the other group? Was it when there was one member of each group which were mutually incapable of producing fertile offspring with any descendents of the other? For that matter, how do you define thr groups themselves? There were probably some fertile proto-mules for a while, which didn't fit cleanly into either group. They either died out without reproducing or were merged back into one of the groups, the line would nonetheless have been somewhat blurry.

    Now, next question: how do you determine, from the fossil record, where that speciation occurred? Which of a bunch of old horse/donkey-skeleton-like rocks (that's all fossils are) was once an animal that gave rise to modern horses which can't produce fertile offspring with modern donkeys? How do you distinguish, from the fossils, that it was X, and not the parents of X, or the children of X, or possibly the specific children of X by Y? How do you distinguish that it was X and not X's sibling that got a slightly different set of chromosomes and was no longer able to produce fertile offspring with his or her corresponding member of the other group, yet went on to breed successfully and pass those chromosomes onto the other members of the group?

    Seriously, demanding to see "direct ancestors" in the fossil record is absolute stupidity. I'm no biologist (as I'm sure any biologist reading my post noted) but I understand enough basic genetics to know that even with genetic evidence it's non-trivial to trace direct ancestry, and without it the task is nearly hopeless. Combine that with the way that most individuals never get fossilized, much less last long enough after fossilization to be found today (never mind the many fossils that we don't have yet; new finds are still occurring). Given all that, it'd be a minor miracle to have gaps of only 1000 generations in a direct chain of ancestry. That's enough generations for some pretty significant changes, when you're looking for incremental differences between a horse and a donkey. 1000 generations ago, your ancestors were recognizably human, but they still looked different enough from you today that you wouldn't have been able to call them a "direct ancestor" or not from fossilized bones - and they were probably still close enough that you'd have been interfertile!

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @02:07AM (#35815280) Journal

    I guess the problem is that you do not understand their argument to begin with.

    First, let me ask, what exactly are you trying to persuade the creationist into doing?

    We have species that look alike presently. We had canines for instance, that if we knew nothing about them other then their fossils, we would probably call different animals. So evolution as in one species becoming another and splitting and become yet another in the fossil record is a little of semantics to begin with. But more importantly, it's largely is not completely an inference from what we can see. Without the complete chain, it's literally someone's imagination building off the available evidence to come to a conclusion.

    So if you are asking a creationist to supplant the concept of a god of their imagination that created everything with a concept of your imagination that this became that, and these two separate creatures were the offspring of the same parent species, you are probably going to have to show them without any gaps. Otherwise, you are essentially saying trust me, I got all this evidence which sort of seems like all the different breeds of dogs, cattle, or sheep or whatever, but it's actually not because we don't know much about them other then what we can imagine from their bones.

    We can boil it down even further to the least complex scenario. You are essentially asking creationist to trust your imagination over their own because you said so and lots of others agree despite the fact that some other book said so also and a lot of others agree. If you want to persuade them, then offer them more then they already have with their existing beliefs. Right now, it's just different, not more when you look at the core of it.

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @02:29AM (#35815358) Journal

    You comment is really interesting because it shows how ignorant of the problem you actually are.

    You can have a decent life because you don't need to know how a hybrid electric automobile works, this is fair comment, so should schools be allowed to teach that small fairies and leprechauns sprinkle each motor with magic dust and that's what makes it work?

    If that was a belief held and circulated for thousands of years and thought to have something to do with your existence after death, then yes, they should be able to teach it or in the least, allow it to stand. However, seeing how that's not the case, your analogy simply fails.

    Allowing children to remain ignorant of the theory of evolution is one thing, actively teaching them that creationism is just as valid as evolution is quite the other.

    The problem arises with the separation of church and state. Claiming one is true over the other is the same as saying the other is false. And since the government cannot force religious views on you, it simple cannot force the opinion that they are false or one is more right on you either. And that is not even touching the fact that evolution does not disprove creationism whatsoever at all. Nowhere in science does it say that seeing something happen one way means it's the only way possible.

    Your analogies are ridiculous and they fail spectacularly. They fail because we're not only talking about ignorance of subject matter, but also actively teaching an alternative "theory" (it's not a real theory because it can't be tested) which is based on hand-waving, supernatural mumbo-jumbo. Not all children will grow up to specialise in fields that require them to know about the theory of evolution, just as most won't need to know about the workings of the internal combustion engine, but why fuck them up before they begin?

    Most children are capable of using X with Y and T with S. I do not see a problem with any child knowing of both as long as they know where it belongs. And do not think for a minute that it's too complicated for them as they do it right now when changing controllers to play the same or similar games on different gaming devices or computers. IF the children know of creation or ID or the flying spaghetti monster, it will not fuck them up any more then Pluto not being a planet now has fucked up almost 50 years of students.

    It's not just about some petty squabble between two different ideologies. People are railing against a culture of willful ignorance and an inability to think critically that could have extremely serious implications in the future. If you can look further than the end of your own nose, you should be worried.

    Nonsense. Anyone who is going to be in the position to impact the future will have went to college and the topic is covered there quite well. Your grasping for straws here. No one graduating high school will ever invent the newest drug or cure any disease that a high school level of biology or science will give them. They will have taken college or they will find someone who was in college to further anything they might come close to finding. Furthermore, the kids who would want to go into a field where this knowledge might remotely be deemed important, are the same kids who already know the knowledge. Knowing about creation, religion, or anything contrary to science does not stop kids from critically thinking.

  • by c6gunner (950153) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @06:03AM (#35816096)

    Everyone else kinda jumped on you and decimated most of your comment (cbhacking did a particularly good job [slashdot.org]), so I'll just take the bit that's left:

    And again, since you're reading comprehension is obviously weak, I never said that the the lack of this evidence is proof that evolution is false. I said that this is a pretty big fucking piece of evidence that we have not found YET and if I even bring it up, I'm instantly ridiculed. It's almost as if I walked into a %place-of-worship% and started saying that %Deity% doesn't exist.

    You're being ridiculed because you clearly don't understand how evolution works, and instead of trying to learn you're going around complaining that there's missing evidence. The fact that you're making comparisons to religion only makes you more worthy of derision.

    If you start saying things like "you know, we have no direct evidence that any Jews were gassed in WW2", what do you think the implication would be there? If you say "We have no hard evidence that Osama Bin Laden was involved with 9/11", what's the implication there? If you go around claiming "You know, nobody on the Earth could ACTUALLY see Apollo 8 on it's way to the Moon", what do you suppose might be the implication there?

    You don't get to make idiotic statements with ominous implications, and then pretend that you're "just asking question". It's dishonest, it's cowardly, and it's fucking annoying. Yes, I know all the conspiracy theorists do it all the time; if they're your role-model, you've got serious issues.

  • Dear USA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Thursday April 14, 2011 @06:37AM (#35816212)

    We don't care about your internal sectarian strife between extremist protestant cults and academia, and would like to read interesting comments about the new dinosaur. So far in this thread there have been none, not a one.
    Kind regards
    The rest of the world

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