Science news articles supporting biological evolution, including by discoveries of fossils

by Disillusioned JW 7 Replies latest social current

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    "A billion-year-old fossil of an organism, exquisitely preserved in the Scottish Highlands, reveals features of multicellularity nearly 400 million years before the biological trait emerged in the first animals, according to a new report in the journal Current Biology by an international team of researchers, including Boston College paleobotanist Paul K. Strother.." See https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/528947 and https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/billion-year-old-fossil-reveals-missing-link-evolution-animals for details.

    The first article listed above says the following.

    "The microfossil, discovered at Loch Torridon, contains two distinct cell types and could be the earliest example of complex multicellularity ever recorded, according to the researchers.

    The fossil offers new insight into the transition of single celled organisms to complex, multicellular animals. Modern single-celled holozoa include the most basal living animals and the fossil discovered shows an organism which lies somewhere between single cell and multicellular animals, or metazoa."

    The second article listed above says the following.

    ' “We have found a primitive spherical organism made up of an arrangement of two distinct cell types, the first step towards a complex multicellular structure, something which has never been described before in the fossil record.

    “The discovery of this new fossil suggests to us that the evolution of multicellular animals had occurred at least one billion years ago and that early events prior to the evolution of animals may have occurred in freshwater like lakes rather than the ocean.” '

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    "Scientists in Egypt have identified a new species of four-legged whale that lived around 43 million years ago." See https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-58340807 and https://www.npr.org/2021/08/27/1031659020/four-legged-whale-legs-discovered-43-million-years for details.

    The BBC article provides the following historical background. "The first whales are thought to have first evolved in South Asia around 50 million years ago. In 2011, a team of palaeontologists in Peru discovered a 43-million-year-old whale fossil with four legs, webbed feet and hooves."

    The NPR article says the following.

    "A team led by Egyptian scientists have dug up a 43 million-year-old fossil in the Sahara Desert in Egypt of a now-extinct amphibious four-legged whale.

    That's right, folks — a whale with legs. ...

    "We discovered how fierce and deadly its powerful jaws are capable of tearing a wide range of prey ... this whale was a god of death to most of the animals that lived in its area," Abdullah Gohar, one of the scientists, told Insider.

    The new whale is called Phiomicetus anubis, which the scientists named in part after Anubis, the canine-headed Egyptian god associated with mummification and the afterlife. It was likely a top predator at the time, similar to what a killer whale is today.

    Whales, it turns out, used to be "herbivorous, deer-like terrestrial mammals," the scientists write. Over the span of about 10 million years, whales turned into carnivorous creatures in the ocean. The discovery of the four-legged creature is part of that evolution."

    See also https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/fossil-previously-unknown-four-legged-whale-found-egypt-2021-08-25/ . It says the following.

    'CAIRO, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Scientists said on Wednesday they had discovered the 43 million-year-old fossil of a previously unknown amphibious four-legged whale species in Egypt that helps trace the transition of whales from land to sea.

    The newly discovered whale belongs to the Protocetidae, a group of extinct whales that falls in the middle of that transition, the Egyptian-led team of researchers said in a statement.

    Its fossil was unearthed from middle Eocene rocks in the Fayum Depression in Egypt's Western Desert -- an area once covered by sea that has provided a rich seam of discoveries showing the evolution of whales -- before being studied at Mansoura University Vertebrate Palaeontology Centre (MUVP).

    ... With rocks covering about 12 million years, discoveries in the Fayum Depression "range from semiaquatic crocodile-like whales to giant fully aquatic whales", said Mohamed Sameh of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, a co-author.'

  • Fisherman
    Fisherman
    400 million years before the biological trait emerged in the first animals,

    400 trillion years—not million.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Fisherman, are you saying I made a misquote, or are you perhaps making a joke?

    My quote was by copy and paste of the EurekAlert! article, thus I did not make a typo regarding the "400 million" years. Furthermore, Earth is dated to about 4.6 billion (billion in the sense of thousand million) years old and the universe is currently dated to about 13.8 billion year old, thus there is no way the fossil could be 400 trillion years old.

  • mickbobcat
    mickbobcat

    The whole universe is only 14 billion years old so if you say trillions you don't know what you are talking about.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    For decades (probably even for more than 150 years) non-evolutionary biblical creationists have been saying there is no fossil evidence to show how giraffes got their long necks. I thus searched to see if there is such evidence I found that there is, though it looks like it wasn't recognized as evidence until the year 2015. The following are links to two news articles about the scientific discovery. I provide links to two articles because each article includes information not mentioned in the other article.

    - https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ancient-fossils-show-how-giraffe-got-its-long-neck/

    - https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/how-giraffes-became-winners-by-a-neck

    The CBS News article says in part the following.

    'For years, there has been scant fossil evidence showing how the giraffe evolved to have such an admirably long neck. But now, the remains of a 7-million-year-old creature with a shorter neck provides proof that the giraffe's iconic feature evolved in stages, lengthening over time, a new study finds.

    The researchers are calling the remains of this ancient beast true "transitional" fossils, not only closing an evolutionary gap in the rise of Earth's tallest animals, but also providing concrete evidence of how one creature evolved into another.

    "We actually have an animal whose neck is intermediate [in length] -- it's a real missing link," said Nikos Solounias, a professor of anatomy at the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) College of Osteopathic Medicine and the lead researcher on the study.

    The creature in question -- Samotherium major --lived during the Late Miocene in the forested areas of Eurasia, ranging from Italy to China, Solounias said.'

    The National Geographic article says in part the following.

    "Truly long-necked giraffes didn’t evolve until about 7.5 million years ago. Samotherium, Palaeotragus, Bohlinia, the extinct Giraffa sivalensis and the living Giraffa camelopardalis preserve enough transitional features to let Danowitz and colleagues reconstruct how this stretching occurred. It wasn’t simply a matter of drawing out their vertebrae as if they were in some sort of anatomical taffy pull. The front half of the neck vertebrae became elongated in Samotherium and Palaeotragus, generating forms intermediate between today’s Giraffa and their foreshortened predecessors. Then, within the last two millions years or so, the lineage leading up to the modern Giraffa elongated the back half of their neck vertebrae, giving them even more reach and making them literally at the top of their class."

    See also https://www.science.org/content/article/odd-creature-ancient-ancestor-today-s-giraffes . It says something very important, namely the following. "The team’s analyses of bones from all three animals bolster that notion—and not just because the neck bones are of a length between the giraffe’s and the okapi’s. For example, ridges and other features that are prominent on the okapi’s neck bones and missing entirely on the giraffe’s are typically present but smaller on Samotherium’s, the researchers report online today in Royal Society Open Science."

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Is there fossil evidence (of transitional features) in support of the evolution of frogs from non-frogs? Yes!

    See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frog . In part it says the following.

    "In 2008, Gerobatrachus hottoni, a temnospondyl with many frog- and salamander-like characteristics, was discovered in Texas. It dated back 290 million years and was hailed as a missing link, a stem batrachian close to the common ancestor of frogs and salamanders, consistent with the widely accepted hypothesis that frogs and salamanders are more closely related to each other (forming a clade called Batrachia) than they are to caecilians.[25][26] However, others have suggested that Gerobatrachus hottoni was only a dissorophoid temnospondyl unrelated to extant amphibians.[27]

    ... The earliest known amphibians that were more closely related to frogs than to salamanders are Triadobatrachus massinoti, from the early Triassic period of Madagascar (about 250 million years ago), and Czatkobatrachus polonicus, from the Early Triassic of Poland (about the same age as Triadobatrachus).[28] The skull of Triadobatrachus is frog-like, being broad with large eye sockets, but the fossil has features diverging from modern frogs. These include a longer body with more vertebrae. The tail has separate vertebrae unlike the fused urostyle or coccyx in modern frogs. The tibia and fibula bones are also separate, making it probable that Triadobatrachus was not an efficient leaper.[28]

    Be sure to visit the above mentioned web page of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerobatrachus_hottoni . See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triadobatrachus . The latter says in part the following.

    "Triadobatrachus was 10 cm (3.9 in) long, and still retained many primitive characteristics, such as possessing at least 26 vertebrae, where modern frogs have only four to nine." It also says "It lived during the Early Triassic about 250 million years ago, in what is now Madagascar." It also says "It was first discovered in the 1930s ...."

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    "Australopithecus sediba Comfortably Walked on Two Legs, But Could Climb Like Ape" - see http://www.sci-news.com/othersciences/anthropology/australopithecus-sediba-locomotion-10301.html . The article says in the part the following.

    "The discovery also shows that like humans, Australopithecus sediba had only five lumbar vertebrae."

    'The authors concluded that Australopithecus sediba is a transitional form of ancient human relative and its spine is clearly intermediate in shape between those of modern humans (and Neanderthals) and great apes.

    “Issa walked somewhat like a human, but could climb like an ape,” Professor Berger said.'

    See also https://theconversation.com/fossil-spine-suggests-ancient-human-relative-walked-like-us-but-climbed-like-an-ape-172966 . The scientist who is the lead author of the science journal article article (at https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.05.27.445933v1.abstract ) about the new fossil find for the species says the following.

    "To approach A. sediba’s evolutionary relationship to other hominins, character-based analyses of the whole body are needed, and we’re getting more and more of A. sediba every year. Given what this and other research has shown, I think it’s a candidate for a close relative of the genus Homo. Hopefully Issa’s skull was not destroyed by miners: recovering that and other body parts from both her and Karabo will go a long way in resolving the debate."

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