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  • Direct Ezine for Democrats

    A weekly must read.

  • Oldest "Human" Skeleton Found--Disproves "Missing Link"
    Move over, Lucy. And kiss the missing link goodbye.

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    Scientists today announced the discovery of the oldest fossil skeleton of a human ancestor. The find reveals that our forebears underwent a previously unknown stage of evolution more than a million years before Lucy, the iconic early human ancestor specimen that walked the Earth 3.2 million years ago.

    more here


  • I do love to see the trembling of the faithful

  • Primordial Soup With Julia Child

    tip to Patrick


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    Comments

    Maybe I'm dense, but I've found the articles available on this to be not super informative. Some questions I'm left with...

    Does this represent a ancestor of Lucy? (I think so)

    Does this mean that modern chimps & etc did not evolve from Lucy? (assuming that was the prior theory)

    What would help me would be to see a primate family tree, before and after this discovery. I'm having trouble understanding the significance of this find.

    I'm reading Dawkins' "Greatest Show on Earth" right now and read this article as I finished the chapter "What Missing Link?" where Dawkins shows the plethora of pre-human fossils already available. I'm no expert, but after reading about all the fossils we've found (and Lucy being one of the most significant), this article seems to describe a fossil that blows it out of the water.

    This is very exciting stuff and I'm sure we haven't finished learning about it yet.

    The larger point is that there is no "missing link" as described by the media so often. It is a misleading term. Every species that ever existed whose fossils haven't been found are missing links.

    The way "missing link" is portrayed, also implies that current species (especially humans) are an end to something. We are all "transitional" species.

    Love the Julia Child video. I first saw it years ago when Air & Space first opened in DC. Another great video on display there at the same time was "Powers of 10" by Charles and Ray Eames, which I think you'll like:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm0bIuAVmOA

    The larger point is that there is no "missing link" as described by the media so often. It is a misleading term.

    Yes, precisely. The idea that there was a creature, part humanoid and part chimp, depends on confusion how evolution works. Humans and chimps share a common ancestor. No one but a creationist, who wonder about such things as how a chimp could give birth to a human, would suppose that there was some "missing" transitional form between chimps in their present day form and humans. There never was one, and evolutionary theory is not committed to the existence of any such entity.

    The inference in the National Geographic article that because we've discovered an older ancestor, comparisons between chimps and humans are now unilluminating, is also confused. There is only so much information you can get from a fossil record. The advantage of studying present day chimps is that they can actually be observed while still alive. Unless we discover a more closely related present day relative, chimps are all we have if we want to make observations about a living species that is closely related to us.

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