General Question

ubersiren's avatar

What do you think of the new fossil discovery?

Asked by ubersiren (15150points) May 20th, 2009

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8057465.stm

Some are saying it’s the missing link between primate and man. What do you think?

Also related, Christians are outraged by these claims and are very upset that Google is using the picture as part of their logo

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57 Answers

westy81585's avatar

Haha, that google logo is cool…. I dunno if it is or not, but does it really matter that much?

Les's avatar

It is an awesome find. I’m not sure about the “missing link” part (haven’t done enough research to determine that for myself yet), but regardless, it is an awesome find.

As for certain people being outraged by the claims, no big deal. Jesus could swoop down from the sky and sit on Fox News and tell the world that man evolved from apes, and people still would think otherwise. You can’t contest people’s beliefs; science is about finding answers to life’s questions. It may be infuriating at times, but we know that we can’t convince everyone.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think it’s fascinating

oratio's avatar

we did not evolve from apes

tinyfaery's avatar

Soo cool.

CMaz's avatar

Taste like chicken.

robmandu's avatar

The “missing link” discoveries have been going on ever since Darwin. Oftentimes they’ve been hoaxes… or they’re simply not that convincing.

Why anyone’d get upset about that – or what Google does with their logo – is beyond me.

robmandu's avatar

Now here’s a fossil that shows a real link between ancient history and today.

ubersiren's avatar

@oratio : Do you mean we didn’t evolve from apes, or we didn’t evolve from any primitive being? Do you believe in evolution at all? I’m not disagreeing or agreeing, I’m just curious.

I’m not convinced this is the missing link… I think it’s awesome though!

@robmandu: Way cool!

oratio's avatar

@ubersiren As I understand it, we are one of the great apes and we have a common Primate ancestor. Correct me if I’m wrong.

seVen's avatar

They can claim that they discovered whatever, I still stand on that majority what they say do is bunch of deceit wrapped in pretty sophistcated “study”, just like all their bones found of supposed cave mans that were nothing but either humans with born bone deformity illneses or modified ape skulls.

westy81585's avatar

@seVen ....... .you’re kidding me right?

Harp's avatar

To the Black Knight of creationism, “It’s only a scratch”.

justwannaknow's avatar

Get real people. Why did it take them so long to find the “missing link”. If we evolved from primates then why are there still primates? Did they evolve from humans?

EnzoX24's avatar

I swear seVen just comes here to troll people. I can’t believe any reasonable person would possible put that on the shoulders of the mentally challenged. I’m not saying the mentally challenged can’t create art, but to claim cave paintings as those of the mentally challenged is wrong.

And @justwannaknow I wont be the one to correct you on that because I’m short of time, but no, humans did not evolve from monkeys or apes, its called a common ancestor. And before you tell people to “get real” do a little reading for yourself, cause when presented in the correct way, most of this stuff makes complete sense.

westy81585's avatar

@justwannaknow Going further with enzo, there are plenty of species where there evolutionary predecessor is still walking the earth with them…. In fact this has happened with man before… Crow magnun (spelling?) and neanderthul both walked the earth at the same time.

Harp's avatar

@justwannaknow
These indisputably descended from something very similar to these, and yet wolves (and many other variations on the canine theme) are still around.

Darwin's avatar

The term “missing link” is far too abused by both the press and excited scientists. It is true that this is an exciting find, but I suspect it will hardly change paleontology as much as the discoveries from the Burgess Shale, Archaeopteryx, or the feathered dinosaurs of China.

robmandu's avatar

Hell, the article even says it’s not a “missing link”. It’s a frickin’ lemur with opposable thumbs. As the article says, Ida (as the female specimen is called) is more analagous to an “aunt” than a “grandmother”.

What made this find newsworthy was that the fossil is remarkably well preserved, with a great deal of detail visible. This “missing link” business reeks of journalistic sensationalism.

The other problem is that this was certainly news worthy… back in the ‘80’s when it was originally uncovered. Not sure why it’s a big deal nowother than the sensationalism, of course.

oratio's avatar

@robmandu Right on. I agree. The link is right up there, below the question. You can’t miss it. Not missing at all.

CMaz's avatar

So, Sort of a misplaced link?

Darwin's avatar

@robmandu – It’s a big deal now because the specimen was locked up by a private collector all those years, so scientists couldn’t study it. That is one of the big arguments against private collecting of scientific specimens.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@robmandu
As the article says, Ida (as the female specimen is called) is more analagous to an “aunt” than a “grandmother”.

Now that is a good point.

ubersiren's avatar

@oratio : No, you’re spot on. That’s pretty much the theory that I’ve settled on. I heard it first from Penn Jillette on his short lived radio show and haven’t heard a better idea since. Not that he was the first to say it, but that’s where I first heard it. I’m usually late in the game to every conclusion.

Jack79's avatar

Christians are not outraged, though some religious fanatics who think they’re Christians might.

Creationists do not accept we have come from apes, and some even believe the Earth is only 6000 years old and the first human was Adam, who was made of play-doh. So a 47-million-year-old lemur does not prove anything, because it does not fit in with their dogma, and will simply be discarded.

All fossils simply prove what scientists have known for decades. It’s not even a puzzle anymore. There is a clear picture of how evolution has worked so far, and new fossils are always more or less what we expected to find.

The amazing fact in this case is how well the animal has been preserved. They found some of its fur and part of what it was eating, which would shed some light on the details.

ubersiren's avatar

@justwannaknow : As I understand it (someone correct me if I’m not saying this right), Darwin never said we evolved from apes. The theory goes that the beings that we “evolved” from don’t exist in their basic form anymore, because they’re us. The species that are monkeys, chimps, gorillas now, won’t evolve into humans because they never have. The “missing link” refers to a common ancestor between the being that humans evolved from and the being that current day apes evolved from.

westy81585's avatar

@ubersiren You’re on the right track but missing a few key points. Darwin never said that we are the species that we evolved from (at least not like that). BASICALLY what Darwin found while sailing the pacific isles (all thousands of them) was that on one island there would be a species that was extremely similar to another species on a different island nearby. After seeing this multiple times he deduced that at some point those islands were connected, or a member of one of those species (or a common ancestor) found it’s way to the other island….. From that point on, one of those species changed for some reason (either to adapt to it’s new environment, or just simple genetic disorder that wasn’t fatal), and hence a new species began on the other island.

The point I’m getting at here, is that the species we evolved from, does not HAVE to be extinct (and in many cases creatures that other creatures evolved from still exist today).

The “missing link” is yes, the common ancestor that both humans and apes evolved from. TECHNICALLY, this very well could be an ape (though I’m pretty sure most science is leaning towards it simply being a mammal that lived in trees).

You are correct though that Darwin himself never outright said we evolved from apes. But his work heavily implied that it is a possibility.

ubersiren's avatar

@westy81585 : That’s what I meant, but I couldn’t really figure out how to say it. The species we evolved from isn’t extinct, it has just evolved into us- we are that species, generations later. But that species that we evolved from is not the same species that modern day apes evolved from.

westy81585's avatar

@ubersiren Yah you’ve got the idea. I “think” we evolved from one of the last species of man (Crow magnun [spelling?] I think). But we did share the earth with a few other species of humans during the history of our species (thousands of years ago).

oratio's avatar

@westy81585 @ubersiren
Darwin had probably his suspicions and theories, but he didn’t dare to go there. He ended the “Origin of The Species” more or less with an open question about the origin of humans.

As far as I know: the specie we evolved from is extinct, there are no contemporaries. The Homo sapiens sapiens who lived in Europe were called Cro-Magnon. They are us. The neanderthal and us seems to have Homo Heidelbergensis as our common ancestor.

westy81585's avatar

@oratio Thanks for clearing that up (especially cro-magnon spelling, that was bugging me) .... I had learned about this at some point in the psat, but it was awhile ago so I was a bit shaky on it.

oratio's avatar

@westy81585 Yeah, I know. Me too, it’s french so go figure. It’s an exciting and fascinating subject, though a bit confusing sometimes. Not strange though since they are rewriting it now and then with a new find. First Lucy was a direct descendent, then it seems as it was another branch than our ancestors and an evolutionary dead-end. There are probably many surprising discoveries ahead.

Ivan's avatar

@oratio

We didn’t evolve from the apes that currently exist, but our ancestors would be classified as apes.

To answer the question, there is no one particular “missing link.” Evolution does not make giant leaps; it is gradual and continuous.

oratio's avatar

@Ivan Yes, but we didn’t evolve from apes into humans. We are an ape, with ape ancestors, one of several apes that has a common archaic Primate ancestor.

I felt it was obvious when I wrote it, but I guess a short sentence like that is a little bit unclear. I felt it was a bit anal to write anything about it, but it bugs me when people say we evolved from the apes, so I dropped a short whisper to not be too anal about it, more like correcting a spelling error. Suddenly I don’t believe in biological evolution, which could be understandable to read out from that in a sense. I will try to behave more clearly in the future.

justwannaknow's avatar

congradulations all you apes and decendants of apes, you found an ancestor. I am human and you Will not convice me otherwise so do not waste your time or mine.

oratio's avatar

Cool. You will have a hard time finding a mate.

Ivan's avatar

@justwannaknow

Open-mindedness at its finest.

Jayne's avatar

While the general consensus above is true insofar as the formal scientific record goes, it is ultimately all a matter of arbitrary lines of classification, useful but largely meaningless. Which means, @ (the ironically named) justwannaknow, that your pride in being human amounts to little more than my pride in being a thribble.

oratio's avatar

I thought we ate all of those guys 30.000 years ago.

westy81585's avatar

@justwannaknow At what point did we say you weren’t human?

YARNLADY's avatar

It sounds like a hoax to me (but I’m the most skeptical person around).

Harold's avatar

Yet another fabrication by the same people who think they can creat a whole skeleton from a thighbone. They’ll have to try a whole lot harder to convince me…...........

Ivan's avatar

@Harold

:eyeroll:

My bet is that it actually is a fake, but it doesn’t matter. Evolution had sufficient supporting evidence well before this fossil was discovered.

Here, watch this please.

oratio's avatar

@Ivan Why would you think it’s a fake? It’s been closely followed and David Attenborough has documented the work progress. It’s been unknown to us mortals but not the scientists. There has been fakes in the past for fame and money, but with today’s tech I think it would be debunked in a jiffy.

Harold's avatar

@ Ivan- yopu may think it has sufficient supporting evidence, and you are entitled to your opinion. I don’t believe it, though.

oratio's avatar

@Harold You are entitled to that too. But I am curious to know why you think it’s a fake?

Ivan's avatar

@Harold

My acceptance of the theory of evolution is not a belief. Scientific theories do not require belief.

Harold's avatar

I have to disagree that accepting evolution is not a belief. You need to believe (or have faith in) the integrity of those who have done the research. To me, it would require much more faith than to believe as I do.

I can’t say for sure that it is a fake, but there have been so many “missing links” on the news over the years, that I treat them all with healthy skepticism.

oratio's avatar

@Harold I respect that. Skepticism is good. It is the basis of science.

You are quite right in that we have a belief in many scientific ideas and findings. We don’t have enough lifetime to personally confirm the findings of all research. To move forward we accept the compromise of other scientist test the claims and confirming it for us. Our belief in the affirmed, rests on the perceived credibility.

I have no reason to not believe the credibility of this finding, since it has been confirmed in this manner. They could be wrong, they have before, but in the end discovered to be wrong by skeptic science.

Jayne's avatar

@Harold; you have to make leaps of faith for everything, including the assumption that you are not hallucinating this moment right now. So, while it may still be a matter of trust to believe something, this is not a reason not to. Evolution is accepted as practical fact by the scientific community, with very few exceptions, which makes it by far more reasonable to assume that it is true than that it is not. The number of “missing links” in the news is irrelevant; the media sensationalizes everything for the sake of revenue even where the scientific community agrees that it is bullshit. What the media does and what scientists believe are totally disconnected. Please, don’t judge a scientific theory based on what you see on the news. Read some peer-reviewed scientific journals (Scientific American at the very least, not some magazine like Discover that is barely any higher than the normal media) before you come to conclusions. I haven’t investigated this particular finding, and it may very well be fake, but if I have read your comments correctly and you have chosen to believe that evolution is fake as well based on the poor-quality reporting of news sources, I suggest that you allow the scientific community to defend itself through its own publishing rather than relying on the drivel of the media. The media is good for publicizing political and social issues, but they have no incentive to have anything approaching scientific skepticism in what they report, and will have no problem finding a handful of fame-hungry scientists to support them.

Ivan's avatar

@Harold

“You need to believe (or have faith in) the integrity of those who have done the research.”

No, I don’t. This is what makes science so powerful; your theories have to make predictions, be reproducible, be peer reviewed, be continually scrutinized, and constantly remain consistent with all known evidence. You have to get this notion out of your head that scientific findings are just some dude in a labcoat going “Hey I found something!” and then everyone else beliefs it. That isn’t how it works.

“there have been so many “missing links” on the news over the years”

Please watch that video I linked you.

Mozart's avatar

This is cool and all, I just wonder why it found them so long to find it.

Ivan's avatar

@Mozart

It isn’t as if fossils are just lying around in everyone’s backyard, and it isn’t as if we have been looking for that long either.

Darwin's avatar

If they knew where it was they would have gone and found it long ago, but then that would mean they might have skipped over some other cool fossils on the way.

Besides, paleontologists need to leave some work for the future, so they can keep their jobs.~

whitenoise's avatar

Just wanted to repair the link to the google-logo, in case people are curious (the one by the OP is broken.)

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