In Before Adam

Things you won’t see at the creationism museum:

The nearly complete and remarkably preserved skeleton of a small, 47 million-year-old creature found in Germany was displayed Tuesday by scientists who said it would help illuminate the evolutionary roots of monkeys, apes and humans. Experts praised the discovery for the level of detail it provided but said it was far from a breakthrough that would solve the puzzles of early evolution.

I wonder how they will spin this finding.






50 replies
  1. 1
    slag says:

    I wonder how they will spin this finding.

    You don’t think they’ll just ignore it?

  2. 2
    JGabriel says:

    John Cole:

    I wonder how they will spin this finding.

    God buried those bones there to test our faith in the Holy Bible. That’s how. And they were found by Europeans, for God’s sake! Who are you gonna believe – God or a bunch of Euro atheist sociaIists?

    Huh? Huh?

    .

  3. 3
    Mnemosyne says:

    Every time scientists find a transitional fossil like this one, the creationists insist that it only counts as a transitional fossil if the animal lay itself down in such a way that its bones spell out the words, “I am an ancestor of Homo sapiens.” And even then, they’d probably discount it as the work of the devil.

  4. 4
    JGabriel says:

    Dammit, modereratered again. The usual political philosophy culprit.

    .

  5. 5
    C Nelson Reilly says:

    The Lord works in mysterious ways

  6. 6
    eric says:

    Look over there, a nipple on the teevee.

  7. 7
    TenguPhule says:

    I wonder how they will spin this finding.

    Satan’s work.

    Also, godless liberals and shut up that’s why.

  8. 8
    robertdsc says:

    God works in mysterious ways. Also.

    Test: ah, never mind.

  9. 9
    Zifnab says:

    Oh please. Same old saws rehashed a thousand times.

    Carbon dating doesn’t work for antidiluvian time periods. Blah blah liberal conspiracy blah blah George Soros hoax blah blah Jesus hid it to test the true believers. And this doesn’t prove anything since my Uncle Steve is STILL not a monkey.

  10. 10
    JGabriel says:

    Mnemosyne:

    Every time scientists find a transitional fossil like this one, the creationists insist that it only counts as a transitional fossil …

    I may be wrong on this, but if I’m reading the articles correctly, this isn’t a transitional fossil so much as an early potential common ancestor in both the primate and lemur lineages.

    Given that the last common ancestor of sapiens and chimps was probably about 4-6 million years ago, and about 10 mya if you add apes, a 47 million year old is way too old for a transitional fossil in the primate lineage.

    .

  11. 11
    Dave C says:

    I wonder how they will spin this finding.

    Oh my, you apparently don’t spend a lot of time dealing with creationists! Any “professional” creationist already has reams of boilerplate, obfuscatory talking points that they can whip out in the face of any new scientific findings that strengthen the (already extremely strong) case for human evolution. From “The dating techniques are unreliable!” to “this doesn’t help prove that humans involved, it just complicates things further because of. . .blah blah blah!” to the always-handy “well you interpret the evidence one way based on your model and we interpret it another based on ours!” If Jesus himself came down to earth and proceeded to miraculously prove that evolution was true, the creationists would still find a way to spin it.

  12. 12
    PaminBB says:

    Sample wingnut drivel:

    “GOD CREATED. FACT, whether you like it or not. Evolution never created ANYTHING, but a bunch of slime atheists”

    There is no reasoning.

  13. 13
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    I wonder how they will spin this finding.

    By screeching even louder that they aren’t monkeys, possibly accompanied by some feces-throwing.

  14. 14
    Third Eye Open says:

    I must admit that I have lived in some fairly metropolitan areas for most of my life, and for as many hours I have spent hashing out the whys and what-fors of the most benevolent cloud fairy, I have never had someone actually tell me that dinosaur bones were put there to test our faith.

    I think I would laugh, get on a table and ridicule that person. Seriously.

  15. 15
    freelancer says:

    Answers In Genesis (the people who run the museum that has a triceratops with a saddle on it):

    Nothing about this fossil suggests it is anything other than an extinct, lemur-like creature. Its appearance is far from chimpanzee, let alone “apeman” or human.
    A fossil can never show evolution. Fossils are unchanging records of dead organisms. Evolution is an alleged process of change in live organisms. Fossils show “evolution” only if one presupposes evolution, then uses that presupposed belief to interpret the fossil.
    Similarities can never show evolution. If two organisms have similar structures, the only thing it proves is that the two have similar structures. One must presuppose evolution to say that the similarities are due to evolution rather than design. Furthermore, when it comes to “transitional forms,” the slightest similarities often receive great attention while major differences are ignored.
    The remarkable preservation is a hallmark of rapid burial. Team member Jørn Hurum of the University of Oslo said, “This fossil is so complete. Everything’s there. It’s unheard of in the primate record at all. You have to get to human burial to see something that’s this complete.” Even the contents of Ida’s stomach were preserved. While the researchers believe Ida sunk to the bottom of a lake and was buried, this preservation is more consistent with a catastrophic flood.4 Yet Ida was found with “hundreds of well-preserved specimens.”5
    If evolution were true, there would be real transitional forms. Instead, the best “missing links” evolutionists can come up with are strikingly similar to organisms we see today, usually with the exception of minor, controversial, and inferred anatomical differences.
    Evolutionists only open up about the lack of fossil missing links once a new one is found. Sky News reports, “Researchers say proof of this transitional species finally confirms Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution,” while Attenborough commented that the missing link “is no longer missing.” So are they admitting the evidence was missing until now (supposedly)?

    Money Quote:

    So it’s clear what Ida is not. As for our conclusion on what Ida is, we wrote in News to Note:
    [B]ecause the fossil is similar to a modern lemur (a small, tailed, tree-climbing primate), it’s unlikely that creationists need any interpretation of the “missing link” other than that it was a small, tailed, probably tree-climbing, and now extinct primate—from a kind created on Day 6 of Creation Week.

    LALALALAGODIDIT! Day 6, probably at like 7:34 PM local time. We’re scholars you know.

  16. 16
    JGabriel says:

    Sigh, corrections in italics (didn’t edit in time):

    Given that the last common ancestor of sapiens and chimps was probably about 4-6 million years ago, and about 10 mya if you add apes, a 47 million year old fossil is way too old for a transitional fossil in the primate lineage.

    .

  17. 17
    Dave C says:

    @JGabriel:

    Well it’s not a transitional fossil between humans and non-human primates but it is a possible (though some of my favorite science blogs are saying this thing is over-hyped) transitional fossil between early primates and the lineage that gave rise to monkeys, apes and humans. Again, maybe.

  18. 18
    smiley says:

    @slag:

    You don’t think they’ll just ignore it?

    They haven’t. I heard Beck talking about it this morning.

    There’s almost nothing in that NYT article that suggests that it really is a human ancestor. I know it’s a newspaper and not a scientific journal but there should be, at least, some mention of why the scientists (not cited) involved think it is. In fact, most of the scientists cited are skeptical, at best. This is sloppy science journalism, as is most science journalism, i.e., A study came out today that said…

  19. 19
    JGabriel says:

    Dave C: Perhaps I’m using “primate” incorrectly. I didn’t think it included lemurs (although they’re closely related), just monkeys, apes, and humans. In any case, I think we’re describing largely the same phenonena, but using slightly different language – which, again, I freely admit may be my error.

    .

  20. 20
    demkat620 says:

    Stoopid liberals. There are no such things as fossils.

  21. 21
    UnkyT says:

    Well this is an easy one. They will prop up a figure of Adam riding the thing, or maybe teaching it how to sit, roll over, and beg. This will be followed by the creature drowning in the great flood because Noah just didn’t have enough room on the boat.

  22. 22
    Dave C says:

    @JGabriel:

    Nope, the primate order includes a bunch of things besides moneys, apes and us.

    As Wikipedia explains, the primate order is

    the group that contains lemurs, the Aye-aye, lorids, galagos, tarsiers, monkeys, and apes, with the last category including humans.

  23. 23
    SGEW says:

    P.Z. is on it, as always.

    A cladistic analysis of the fossil revealed another interesting point. There are two broad groups of primates: the strepsirrhines, which includes the lemurs and lorises, and the haplorhines, which includes monkeys and apes…and us, of course. Ida’s anatomy places her in the haplorhines with us, but at the same time she’s primitive. This is an animal caught shortly after a major branch point in primate evolutionary history.

    But, and this is important:

    She’s being called the “missing link in human evolution”, which is annoying. The whole “missing link” category is a bit of journalistic trumpery: almost every fossil could be called a link, and it feeds the simplistic notion that there could be a single definitive bridge between ancient and modern species. There isn’t: there is the slow shift of whole populations which can branch and diverge. It’s also inappropriate to tag this discovery to human evolution. She’s 47 million years old; she’s also a missing link in chimp evolution, or rhesus monkey evolution.

    More here from Wilkins on why it’s not a “missing link” (and why there really isn’t such a thing, anyway).

  24. 24
    gnomedad says:

    Big deal. Now there are two missing links where there was only one before.

  25. 25
    JGabriel says:

    @SGEW, @Dave C: Thanks, guys. Good, clear, explanations.

    .

  26. 26
    Napoleon says:

    @JGabriel:

    Your read is right (other then the primate part).

    The History Channel is going to have a 2 hour show on it on Monday.

  27. 27
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    Every time scientists find a transitional fossil like this one, the creationists insist that it only counts as a transitional fossil if the animal lay itself down in such a way that its bones spell out the words, “I am an ancestor of Homo sapiens.” And even then, they’d probably discount it as the work of the devil.

    True. If a fossil looks like an ape, but also a little like a human, it’s just a deformed ape. If it looks like a human but a little like an ape it’s just a deformed human. Then they accuse scientists of never finding transitional forms.

  28. 28
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    I don’t care how old they say it is, Man still had dominion over it.
    /Fundies

  29. 29
    Martin says:

    Perhaps I’m using “primate” incorrectly. I didn’t think it included lemurs (although they’re closely related), just monkeys, apes, and humans.

    Pretty close.

    Monkeys and apes (we’re apes) would be ‘simians’. Lemurs, tarsirs, and a bunch of others are ‘prosimians’. All are primates.

  30. 30
    jrg says:

    I wonder how they will spin this finding.

    Easy. It simply cannot be true. If you accept this as real, you’re abandoning spirituality. Next thing you know, you’ll be sniffing glue, buttfucking your poker buddies, and surfing the web for lemur porn.

  31. 31
    Xenos says:

    Creationists complain about all the gaps in the fossil record. But every time a new discovery goes into one of those gaps, it creates two new gaps on either side of it. It is like Zeno’s paradox.

  32. 32
    Paul L. says:

    I wonder how they will spin this finding.

    Falsification

    As Sarah points out, it’s interesting to learn that as of yesterday, evolution had not been confirmed. And it’s good to know that should this fossil du jour fades into obscurity for one reason or another, we’ll know evolution is once more unconfirmed.

  33. 33
    El Cid says:

    If you don’t find a fossil with the left side of the creature a monkey and the right side caught in the middle of becoming a modern human, it obviously means that there was a magical layer of water high in the atmosphere that all ran out to provoke a global flood in 40 days.

  34. 34
    Markypop says:

    Intelligent designers will find this to be a proof of their arguments, for as a gap in evolution is filled, two new gaps are created!

  35. 35
    gnomedad says:

    @Dennis-SGMM:

    I don’t care how old they say it is, Man still had dominion over it.
    /Fundies

    Except for the climate. Man is powerless to alter the climate.

  36. 36
    CD says:

    @Dave C:

    All this time, I’ve thought the Aye-Aye was created by Ricky Ricardo…

  37. 37
    Gus says:

    @Paul L.: Again with the Vox Day? He’s a bigger asshat than you are. Do you expect that weak shit to fly?

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Xenos:

    Creationists complain about all the gaps in the fossil record. But every time a new discovery goes into one of those gaps, it creates two new gaps on either side of it. It is like Zeno’s paradox.

    That’s where I was going with it. At this point, you either have to be absolutely stupid or completely unwilling to face reality to deny evolution. In Vox’s case, I’ll say it’s both/and.

  39. 39
    Nylund says:

    They will look at it, see that it looks like a monkey, conclude that it was a monkey, and say, “what does that have to do with us humans?”

    Go read any Creationist website. When discussing any early fossil records, they always just conclude that it was a monkey, and remind people that monkeys are not human, and move on.

    For some reason, they seem to think that unless we find a 5 million year old fossil of a modern man, they’ve proven evolution wrong, despite the fact that its actually the other way around.

  40. 40
    El Cid says:

    For some reason, they seem to think that unless we find a 5 million year old fossil of a modern man, they’ve proven evolution wrong, despite the fact that its actually the other way around.

    Yes, but then they’ve got to confront the Hindu creationist types (“Forbidden Archaeology”) in which it’s necessary to keep pushing back the origins of humanity to absurd lengths (350 million years) so that the reincarnation cycles can all have time to go through.

    So, they’ll stick with everything being 6,000 years old or so.

  41. 41
    russell says:

    God buried those bones there to test our faith in the Holy Bible.

    Not nearly hard-ass enough.

    God buried those bones there to deliberately mislead and confound non-believers, by making it look like evolution is in fact true.

    Read’em and weep.

  42. 42
    freelancer says:

    God buried those bones there to test our faith in the Holy Bible.
    Not nearly hard-ass enough.

    God buried those bones there to deliberately mislead and confound non-believers, by making it look like evolution is in fact true.

    Read’em and weep.

    No, no…as an atheist, agnostic, skeptic or what-have-you, I think God aka Prime Mover/Creator of the universe, put the fundies there to put me here to question my faith.

    “God put [dinosaur fossils] here to test our faith!”… I think God put you here to test my faith, dude. Does that bother anybody else, the idea that God might be fucking with our heads? I have trouble sleeping with that knowledge.

  43. 43
    Bob UK says:

    I dont have lemer porn, but you can choose your very own meerkat if you like that sort of thing…
    http://www.comparethemeerkat.com/compare

    As for creationism, my father is one and as far as I understand the calculations of the carbon dating is supposed to be wrong as before Noah the water that caused the flood was in the atmosphere as another layer around the earth. God released this layer of water onto the earth ( which ‘explains’ where all that water came from ) and therefore there is a difference between the calculations made before the flood versus after the flood, as the suns rays etc will have a new different affect upon the earth and ruin the calculations.
    Phew. I think that was what he said.

    I’ve not looked into it though.

  44. 44
    MTiffany says:

    @jrg:

    “Next thing you know, you’ll be sniffing glue, buttfucking your poker buddies, and surfing the web for lemur porn.”

    Dammit! I always forget about the glue-sniffing. Thanks for reminding me. I’m off to the hobby-shop…

  45. 45
    MTiffany says:

    @freelancer: What I love is that bit about evolution being an “alleged process of change in live organisms.” These creationist types intentionally try to make evolutionary theory sound absurd, like it was a process that works to change an individual of one species into a member of another species during that creature’s lifetime. Like a creature that was born a lemur was going to change into a monkey over the course of its life, and that lemur-monkey’s offspring would be born as monkeys and those monkeys would change into humans during their lifetime. Patent nonsense. But it doesn’t stop creationist pseudo-science and lies. These creationist types are such transparently disingenuous burks. Loathsome and pitiable are they.

  46. 46
    Napoleon says:

    Check out today’s Google logo.

  47. 47
    SeanH says:

    I wonder how they will spin this finding.

    Well, if it’s a transitional fossil there are now two gaps in the fossil record where before there was only one. By wingnut logic, that’s twice as many holes in evolutionary theory.

  48. 48
    omen says:

    @Napoleon:

    booful. wish it were bigger. made me feeel reverent. like i should light a candle to honor an ancestor or something.

  49. 49
    Bender says:

    In response to a reporter’s question, Hurum also agreed it would be hard to call “Ida” a direct human ancestor. But he said he was comfortable with the publicity surrounding it. “That’s part of getting science out to the public, to get attention,” he said. “I don’t think that’s so wrong.”

    I’d be less interested in how creationists would spin it, and more interested in how an alleged scientist admits that he’s is over-pimping this finding to get attention (read: money).

  50. 50
    lurkergirl says:

    I suppose it’s too much to hope that one day they will just give up this battle as lost and find another pointless side issue to obsess about? I have little to no personal contact with hard-core fundies, so I don’t know if this issue is as important to the the rank-and-file as it is to the high-profile activist types, but I am truly mystified by all the fuss they make about evolution. Why does it matter so much? All this time and energy they pour into disputing every new discovery, trying to insert creationism into school curriculums, making themselves look ever more ridiculous and reactionary in the process, and in the end what bearing does it really have on the practice of Christianity? Is it just to prove that no secular authority trumps the word of God? I’m a non-believer now, but I went to Catholic school and we were taught the theory of evolution without any religious caveats attached, i.e. there was no perceived conflict between belief in evolution and belief in God.

Comments are closed.