Nick Matzke posted Entry 3069 on April 15, 2007 02:46 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/3059

conwaymorris1LR.jpgI missed this one a week or two ago. Simon Conway Morris and his colleague Jean-Bernard Caron published a paper in Science on a new Cambrian fossil called Orthrozanclus. The cool thing about the fossil is that it combines features from two other fossils that Conway Morris previously implicated as transitional stem groups between the modern crown groups (“phyla”) of mollusks, annelids, and brachiopods: Wiwaxia and Halkeria. Of course, according to Discovery Institute propaganda, transitional fossils like this don’t exist.

Here is a news summary. See also the Orthrozanclus post from PZ Myers, his post last year on another stem group mollusk-ish critter, Odontogriphus.

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Comment #170096

Posted by PvM on April 15, 2007 4:10 PM (e)

Worse news is that the article reports that

In addition, when discussing the origin of major body plans, it is likely that the genetic and morphological gaps in the Cambrian were much smaller than the present disparity of phyla would suggest.

Comment #170153

Posted by Henry J on April 15, 2007 10:52 PM (e)

Re “when discussing the origin of major body plans, it is likely that the genetic and morphological gaps in the Cambrian were much smaller than the present disparity of phyla would suggest.”

Isn’t that also a direct prediction of the current ToE? (I.E., If the data said otherwise the theory would have a problem.)

Henry

Comment #170193

Posted by djlactin on April 16, 2007 7:37 AM (e)

as nick mentioned in a post a few days ago, the ‘origin’ of a new higher taxon would appear at the time to be just another speciation event. i’m pretty sure that the debate over what phylum to put these critters in simply reflects our post-hoc examination. perhaps at the time, they had diverged only to family (or less?) level, and our procrustean (thanks for the adj., SJ Gould!) efforts to assign them into one or the other phylum fails because they did not (yet) belong exclusively to one or the other.

Comment #170199

Posted by kay on April 16, 2007 8:15 AM (e)

But it’s still a……. no, actually, what the hell is that thing? :)

Comment #170203

Posted by The Sanity Inspector on April 16, 2007 8:52 AM (e)

It looks like those things I used to comb out of my dog’s fur, after a romp in the meadow.

Comment #170209

Posted by FastEddie on April 16, 2007 9:25 AM (e)

How come the Discovery Institute never, well, discovers anything like this?

Comment #170212

Posted by George Cauldron on April 16, 2007 9:37 AM (e)

How come the Discovery Institute never, well, discovers anything like this?

I don’t get it either. Doesn’t the DI have dozens of PhD’s working out in the field looking for archaeological proof of Design and the Flood? You’d think they’d have found some bunnies in the Precambrian by now.

Comment #170214

Posted by John Vreeland on April 16, 2007 9:57 AM (e)

How come the Discovery Institute never, well, discovers anything like this?

That requires intellectual integrity, and geologic naivity. The DI possesses neither. The know that rabbit fossils will not be found in Cambrian deposits, so they ignore the entire concept out of a desire to seem relevant. Dwelling scientifically on what they cannot explain would require an even greater display of integrity than they can muster of faith.

Comment #170222

Posted by John Krehbiel on April 16, 2007 10:20 AM (e)

This reminds me of an argument in which a creationist tried to tell me that remote ancestors of horses weren’t “really” horse ancestors becasue they are also ancestors of rhinoceroses. “So which is it? A horse or a rhino?”

Comment #170228

Posted by fnxtr on April 16, 2007 11:09 AM (e)

So your grandfather isn’t really your ancestor because he’s also your cousin’s grandfather. Well, which is he, you or your cousin?

Comment #170229

Posted by CJColucci on April 16, 2007 11:14 AM (e)

Two more gaps in the fossil record to explain.

Comment #170232

Posted by CJColucci on April 16, 2007 11:24 AM (e)

Ah ha! Two MORE gaps in the fossil record.

Comment #170233

Posted by David Stanton on April 16, 2007 11:31 AM (e)

Oh yeah, well if you and your cousin have the same grandmother, why is your grandmother still around? How many gaps is that?

Comment #170238

Posted by Henry J on April 16, 2007 12:16 PM (e)

Re “You’d think they’d have found some bunnies in the Precambrian by now.”

Yeah, where’s Elmer Fudd when they need him?

Comment #170245

Posted by JohnW on April 16, 2007 1:10 PM (e)

Henry J wrote:

Re “You’d think they’d have found some bunnies in the Precambrian by now.”

Yeah, where’s Elmer Fudd when they need him?

Be vewy quiet. I’m hunting twilobites.

Comment #170271

Posted by Peter Henderson on April 16, 2007 3:35 PM (e)

Ah ha! Two MORE gaps in the fossil record.

Gosh CJ, your not Alan Partridge in disguise by any chance ? :

http://www.gazmac.freeserve.co.uk/part.htm

Still, I’ll expect something from the folks at AiG on this one as well over the next few days.

How come the Discovery Institute never, well, discovers anything like this?

Or AiG either. It’s amazing the amount of information on their website that’s been discovered by evolutionary scientists !

Comment #170317

Posted by Jeffrey K McKee on April 16, 2007 9:18 PM (e)

Just to reiterate two important points: All fossils are transitional fossils. All species are transistional species, including our own.

Comment #170433

Posted by Flint on April 17, 2007 8:43 AM (e)

All fossils are transitional fossils. All species are transistional species, including our own.

Not sure if this is a semantic problem, but not every species becomes the parent of another species. My understanding is that this is in fact much more the exception; that the vast majority of species are dead ends. Just because evolution never sleeps, doesn’t mean every species is transitional. Most terminate at extinction, transitioning to nothing.

Comment #170447

Posted by FastEddie on April 17, 2007 9:56 AM (e)

Look, another neat discovery NOT made by the Disgusting Institute:

“Something old is now something new, thanks to Lamar University researcher Jim Westgate and colleagues. The scientists’ research has led to the discovery of a new genus and species of primate, one long vanished from the earth but preserved in the fossil record.”

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070409161526.htm

Comment #170506

Posted by Henry J on April 17, 2007 4:05 PM (e)

Re “But it’s still a……. no, actually, what the hell is that thing? :)”

The common ancestor of modern dust bunnies?

Comment #170533

Posted by Jeffrey K McKee on April 17, 2007 8:00 PM (e)

*sigh* to Flint

Yes, extinction is one form of transition, and perhaps the dominant one. Note the difference, however, between terminal extinctions (read robust australopithines in the paleaoanthropology world) versus transitional extinctions (e.g., in most academic circles, Homo habilis (sensu lato) to Homo erectus (sensu lato).

Comment #170727

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 18, 2007 6:39 PM (e)

Still, I’ll expect something from the folks at AiG on this one as well over the next few days.

yeah, I’m gonna check with the high school student who works as a clerk at my gas station too.

I’m sure he’ll have tons of interesting commentary on this find.

Comment #173079

Posted by Vietnam travel on May 2, 2007 11:16 AM (e)

Your post’s very good. I like it.
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