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    Veteran LJ4ptplay's Avatar
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    Default 'Missing Link' in human evolution found

    Fossil Ida: extraordinary find is 'missing link' in human evolution
    James Randerson guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 19 May 2009 15.30 BST



    Scientists have discovered an exquisitely preserved ancient primate fossil that they believe forms a crucial "missing link" between our own evolutionary branch of life and the rest of the animal kingdom.

    The 47m-year-old primate – named Ida – has been hailed as the fossil equivalent of a "Rosetta Stone" for understanding the critical early stages of primate evolution.

    The top-level international research team, who have studied her in secret for the past two years, believe she is the most complete and best preserved primate fossil ever uncovered. The skeleton is 95% complete and thanks to the unique location where she died, it is possible to see individual hairs covering her body and even the make-up of her final meal – a last vegetarian snack.

    "This little creature is going to show us our connection with the rest of all the mammals; with cows and sheep, and elephants and anteaters," said Sir David Attenborough who is narrating a BBC documentary on the find. "The more you look at Ida, the more you can see, as it were, the primate in embryo."

    "This will be the one pictured in the textbooks for the next hundred years," said Dr Jørn Hurum, the palaeontologist from Oslo University's Natural History Museum who assembled the scientific team to study the fossil. "It tells a part of our evolution that's been hidden so far. It's been hidden because the only [other] specimens are so incomplete and so broken there's nothing almost to study." The fossil has been formally named Darwinius masillae in honour of Darwin's 200th birthday year.

    It has been shipped across the Atlantic for an unveiling ceremony hosted by the mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg today. There is even talk of Ida being the first non-living thing to feature on the front cover of People magazine.

    She will then be transported back to Oslo, via a brief stop at the Natural History Museum in London on Tuesday, 26 May, when Attenborough will host a press conference.

    Ida was originally discovered by an amateur fossil hunter in the summer of 1983 at Messel pit, a world renowned fossil site near Darmstadt in Germany. He kept it under wraps for over 20 years before deciding to sell it via a German fossil dealer called Thomas Perner. It was Perner who approached Hurum two years ago.

    "My heart started beating extremely fast," said Hurum, "I knew that the dealer had a world sensation in his hands. I could not sleep for 2 nights. I was just thinking about how to get this to an official museum so that it could be described and published for science." Hurum would not reveal what the university museum paid for the fossil, but the original asking price was $1m. He did not see the fossil before buying it – just three photographs, representing a huge gamble.

    But it appears to have paid off. "You need an icon or two in a museum to drag people in," said Hurum, "this is our Mona Lisa and it will be our Mona Lisa for the next 100 years."

    Hurum chose Ida's nickname because the diminutive creature is at the equivalent stage of development as his six-year-old daughter. Hurum said Ida is very excited about her namesake. "She says, 'there are two Idas now, there's me I'm living and then there's the dead one.'"

    "It's caught at a really very interesting moment [in the animal's life] when it fortunately has all its baby teeth and is in the process of forming all its permanent teeth," said Dr Holly Smith, an expert in primate development at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who was part of the team. "So you have more information in it than almost any fossil you could think of."

    The fossil's amazing preservation means that the scientific team has managed to glean a huge amount of information from it, although this required new X-ray techniques that had not previously been applied to any other specimens.

    The researchers believe it comes from the time when the primate lineage, that diversified into monkeys, apes and ultimately humans, split from a separate group that went on to become lemurs and other less well known species.

    Crucially though, Ida is not on the lemur line because she lacks two key characteristics shared by lemurs – a grooming claw on her second toe and a fused set of teeth called a tooth comb. Also, a bone in her ankle called the talus is shaped like members of our branch of the primates. So the researchers believe she may be on our evolutionary line dating from just after the split with the lemurs.

    According to the team's published description of the skeleton in the journal PLoS ONE, Ida was 53cm long and a juvenile around six to nine months old. The team can be sure Ida is a girl because she does not have a penis bone.

    "She was at this vulnerable age where you are no longer right with your mother," said Smith, "Just as you leave weaning you are not full grown, but you are on your own."

    The unprecedented preservation of Ida meant working out how she died was more like a modern day crime scene investigation than the informed guess-work that palaeontologists usually make do with. The team noticed that she had a broken wrist that had begun to partially heal. The injury did not kill her, but they speculate that it contributed to her premature demise.

    "It might be that her mother dropped her once or that she fell down from a tree earlier in her life," Smith said. She survived the accident, but her climbing abilities would have been impaired. Unable to drink from water trapped by tree leaves, she would have had to venture down to the lake to drink. This would have proved to be a fateful decision.

    The huge range of magnificently preserved fossils at Messel suggest that the volcanic lake was a death trap. Scientists believe that it sporadically let forth giant belches of poisonous volcanic gases that would have immediately suffocated anything in, around and even over the water. Ida would then have fallen into the water and been preserved in the sediment deep at the bottom.

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    The term "missing link" is antiquated and rarely used since evolution is a gradual change over an immense period of time. But this find is just another one of the thousands of examples of transitional species that support evolution.

    Mountains of mutually agreeable evidence is why evolution is one of the most widely accepted theories today. The other one is the big bang theory.

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    This is pretty cool.

    So whats the link?

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    This is still just matter of opinion.

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    Newbie Englishman in NY's Avatar
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    Can it play C?

    Only kiddin' this is fascinating.

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    Originally Posted by LJ4ptplay
    The term "missing link" is antiquated and rarely used since evolution is a gradual change over an immense period of time.
    Although there is also evidence that changes sometimes occur in evolution leaps, which could be termed "revolution". What I am talking about is immediate impacts of phenotype changes on genetic materials (first observed by Stephen J. Gould).

    Now there is evidence that malnutrition during World War induced diseases in grandchildren's generation. So even without the missing link, evolution would have been a reasonable scientific theory.

    And no: it is not "a matter of opinion". Even reasonable Christians agree that evolution is a fact. They just differentiate between mythological/religious narratives and scientific narratives which follow rather different "grammars".

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    Originally Posted by pat
    And no: it is not "a matter of opinion".
    How is it not matter of opinion? Do all scientists agree with the theory of evolution? How can they expect the common folk to believe in evolution, if the scientific field is not 100 percent behind the evolutionary theory?






    Originally Posted by pat
    Even reasonable Christians agree that evolution is a fact. They just differentiate between mythological/religious narratives and scientific narratives which follow rather different "grammars".
    Actually, there is not one reasonable Christian on earth who believes in evolution. "Christian" means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus knew his father to be the creator, and expressed this sentiment many times. Being that evolution would deviate from that thought, it is no small wonder Jesus never spoke of evolution as happening in any sense at all. So anyone professing Christianity, and proclaiming evolution is only being reasonable to the masses.

    Back to the topic though. Few things jumped out at me.

    ""This little creature is going to show us our connection with the rest of all the mammals; with cows and sheep, and elephants and anteaters," said Sir David Attenborough who is narrating a BBC documentary on the find. "The more you look at Ida, the more you can see, as it were, the primate in embryo."

    I will keep my eye on this. We'll see what comes up in a few years.


    "This will be the one pictured in the textbooks for the next hundred years,"

    Im not that excited about this, because Neanderthals were once very scary monkey men in text books, and now are pictured much more modern in nature as the scientific theories changed over the years...



    "It tells a part of our evolution that's been hidden so far. It's been hidden because the only [other] specimens are so incomplete and so broken there's nothing almost to study."

    Would you hang your hat on a theory based on incomplete specimens, that there is almost nothing to study, until now? I'd be a little leery.


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    Originally Posted by Knicks4lyfe
    How is it not matter of opinion? Do all scientists agree with the theory of evolution?
    Do all theologists agree on the correct interpretation of the Bible? The Bible is a text. Some Christians say written by God himself THROUGH man(verbally inspired). Others say the Bible was written by man and is an expression of the bond between God and man. Interpretation already starts with your name "Jehova", is a 19th century misconception about biblical Hebrew. It is pronounced more like "Jahwe".

    Originally Posted by Knicks4lyfe
    Actually, there is not one reasonable Christian on earth who believes in evolution.
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    Jesus knew his father to be the creator, and expressed this sentiment many times. Being that evolution would deviate from that thought, it is no small wonder Jesus never spoke of evolution as happening in any sense at all.

    That is because global travelling was rare if not non existent and human influence on the surrounding environment was sparse, which means there was not that much change to be experienced.

    Originally Posted by Knicks4lyfe
    Im not that excited about this, because Neanderthals were once very scary monkey men in text books, and now are pictured much more modern in nature as the scientific theories changed over the years...
    However, their skulls are still depicted as being flat, and genetic analysis of the Neanderthals has shown remarkable differences to the homo sapien's genetic pool.- Although there is some evidence, that cross-breeding was possible (about five per cent of today's human genetic pool is of Neanderthalian origin), most archaeological findings suggest that the Neanderthals were squeezed out by the homo sapient.


    Originally Posted by Knicks4lyfe
    Would you hang your hat on a theory based on incomplete specimens, that there is almost nothing to study, until now? I'd be a little leery.
    However, that is more than mankind has ever seen of God, at least if you agree with those theologists who say that the Bible was written by man (the only explanation why there are so many contradictions in both the Old- and the New Testament).

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    Originally Posted by pat
    Do all theologists agree on the correct interpretation of the Bible? The Bible is a text. Some Christians say written by God himself THROUGH man(verbally inspired). Others say the Bible was written by man and is an expression of the bond between God and man. Interpretation already starts with your name "Jehova", is a 19th century misconception about biblical Hebrew. It is pronounced more like "Jahwe".
    No they do not. Hence why there are many diff Christian sects as we speak. The problem we have here is that people interpret the Bible according to their feelings and belief, rather than letting the Bible itself speak.

    If you were to do a report on Hamlet, and you say it's about pigs and a blanket, I am positive you will have missed the authors theme of the book. The same rule applies to the Bible. It has one overall theme. that is the Vindication of Jehovah's Sovereignty, by means of his heavenly Kingdom, headed by his Son Christ Jesus.

    There is a group of people on earth whole ardently study the bible and use just it as a basis for a personal relationship with God, high moral standards, and the hope of a peaceful future for mankind. Just one.


    Originally Posted by pat
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    That is because global travelling was rare if not non existent and human influence on the surrounding environment was sparse, which means there was not that much change to be experienced.
    That may have held true for any other human in existence except Jesus since, he alludes to having an existence in heaven long before the earth was even habitable.

    Jesus says in John 8:23-“YOU are from the realms below; I am from the realms above. YOU are from this world; I am not from this world.

    The Bible in proverbs Chapter has wisdom personified, and it alludes to Jesus being the personage, or Master worker of God.

    Therefore, When Jesus spoke of Being alive before Abraham, or seeing Noah enter the ark, or Adam and Eve, he was speaking as a witness to these events, and attesting to them.

    The Bible says Jesus committed no sins against God, so he could not then have been lying about his whereabouts prior to his being made human.

    This is why no true follower of Christ can believe that evolution is the cause of life, because Jesus agrees with and even eye witnessed the Biblical accounts of all such happenings.

    Originally Posted by pat
    However, their skulls are still depicted as being flat, and genetic analysis of the Neanderthals has shown remarkable differences to the homo sapien's genetic pool.- Although there is some evidence, that cross-breeding was possible (about five per cent of today's human genetic pool is of Neanderthalian origin), most archaeological findings suggest that the Neanderthals were squeezed out by the homo sapient.
    The Bible says that God made all species according to their KINDS (Gen 1:24) The evidence of neanderthal has proven that they are a species of man that has died off. But man none the less. Which then does not prove that humans evolved at all, but rather just as the Bible says, there were KINDS of human species.



    Originally Posted by pat
    However, that is more than mankind has ever seen of God, at least if you agree with those theologists who say that the Bible was written by man (the only explanation why there are so many contradictions in both the Old- and the New Testament).
    John 1: 18 No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom [position] with the Father is the one that has explained him.

    That only begotten is Jesus. Jesus lived his life in perfect harmony with God's will, and gave an accurate reflection of what God would be like in person. So therefore, it is not true that that we have not seen more of God, he sent his son who acts just like he does! Who would you wanna sit down and converse with, Jesus, or Darwin?


    The bible was written by man, But don't you find it funny that none of the men who wrote in it take credit for being it's author? That all of them give credit to Jehovah for the inspiration? And they all lived over different time periods, in vastly different lands at times? In fact 2 tim says

    3: 16 All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.

    If it is true that the Bible can be used for Disciplining in righteousness, setting things straight, reproving, and teaching, How can it then be contradictory? That would then mean these verses and others like it are a fallacy.

    Only through ardent bible study have I been convinced the Bible is harmonious and sound. It will benefit anyone to take a serious study of the Whole bible before saying it is contradictory, not just bits and pieces.

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    Originally Posted by LJ4ptplay
    And this as funny as it is riddled with common sense

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    Originally Posted by Knicks4lyfe
    Actually, there is not one reasonable Christian on earth
    Fixed your post and summarized this whole thread.

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    Originally Posted by PizzaLover
    Fixed your post and summarized this whole thread.
    Believe what you wish! Welcome to the board.

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