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From a xian forum:


Hey, they found a " new" fossil , it's a mammal that looks like a river otter/beaver. Now they are pushing the timeline back another 100 million years for mammals. They throw millions of years around like it is a stack of pancakes.

They used to think the only mammals around at the time of the dinosaurs were little rodent types scurrying out of the way of the tyrant lizards. Now this. Kinda makes you wonder about all the old earth/new earth controversies.


Ok, so, scientists find new evidence, and revise their theories to accomadate it.

and.... this xian is mocking that.




So now, a theory (or whatever) has to be 100% accurate about every detail to be valid? You can't adjust a detail here or there in light of new data? So what, you should scrap any theory that isn't completely right fresh off the blackboard?


I don't even know where to begin explaining what's wrong with this.


I hate to give a xian site attention, but in the interest of integrity, here's the post:


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The "new" fossils (oxymoron, anyone?) arerepresentative of a group of

animals that emerged from the early mammal-like reptiles, that predates

even the dinosaurs.


Reptillian skulls, dentition (teeth) and bone densities compared with musculature / movement

indicated an evolutionary direction toward mammalian traits relatively soon after

reptiles appear in the fossil record 390 million years ago.

Long before the big dinosaurs ever evolved from a more reptillian line of creatures,

the early reptiles had already split off into many sub-groups,

a few of which had evolved quickly into having some very mammal-like traits,

anatomically speaking. Their being warm or cold blooded is subject to debate,

but their diet and general lifestyles / physical abilities give hints.


From a paleontological standpoint, these "mammal-like reptiles"

(or in some cases, they could be described as "reptile like mammals"),

left few obvious descendants. It seemed to be a branch that lead to a dead end.

Now we're getting hints that this wasn't the case, just another of those big gaps

in the fossil record due only to the rarity of any given fossil to form,

survive in the rock for millions of years, and then be found and understood by us.

Now some newly found fossils are falling into place within those gaps.


This isn't happening just with early mammals, though

the transition from reptile to mammal is one of the best doccumented in all of

evolutionary paleobiology. It is even more plentiful and better understood than

the transition from fish to amphibians and amphibians to reptiles before that,

and reptiles to birds afterwards. (Though these transitions as well,

complete with intermediate forms, are indeed known to paleontologists, just not as many).

New discoveries, including feathers and proto-feathers on the head and arms

on some therapsid dinosaurs found in China give new evidence on the rise of birds.


I so dearly love how creationists, evolutionary doubters and thumper skeptics

attempt feebly to use science or scientific language to debunk various aspects

of evolutionary theory when

A). they have no idea what they're talking about (at all whatsoever) and

B) . if they understood the scientific method, would know that a theory isn't a "guess", and

C). true scientific methodology does not START with a conclusion and then try to back it up,

paying attention only to that evidence that seems to support it, while denying, perverting or ignoring anything that stands in contradiction to it.


True science revises itself all the time, it's a self-correcting system if it's

honest with itself and true to it's methodology.

New evidence and data pours in at astounding rates into so many varied fields of study

ranging from biology, paleontology, genetics, embryology, geology, even astronomy (!),

and ALL of it is in concert, none of it contradicting the implications or physical law adhered to by

any other aspect of any other field of study.

Religion has NEVER been able to say the same, even within ONE religion like christianity.

(Nor is it self-correcting).


Many times in my life have I either been personally part or, or witnessed,

a scientific study of some kind where one person held staunchly to one interpretive view on the data,

and the other scientist in total opposition - but upon getting their heads together on the material,

come away with one person backing off of their earlier position once their error is confirmed,

or a more logical or irrefutable conclusion is demonstrated.

I have NEVER seen that happen between, say, a christian and a jew,

muslim and a bhuddist, X and Y, ANYONE arguing matters of theology.


So they trash what they don't understand = ignorance and emotionalism,

the benchmarks of any good zealot, racist, sexist, homophobe, etc.



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Oh my gosh!


Have you seen their Prophecy top 100 page




It looks like bloody links to the sci-fi channel or some Star Trek fan website

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Did you notice that there are only 18 links on their Top 100 list? :Doh:




What should we call them - Jetards? :shrug:



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Did you notice that there are only 18 links on their Top 100 list? :Doh:




What should we call them - Jetards? :shrug:




Yeah, thought that was mighty keen too.


Apparently there aren't 100 sources out there for them to list. :grin:

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Hey don't forget guys, god remembers Babylon!!

Anyone else remember that show? I guess if god remembers it, it's not entirely doomed to the dustbin of forgotton Star Trek rip offs

(props to the B5 fans out there, you know I'm just playin').


Kinda makes ya wonder 'bout all that evilution stuuff. :puke:

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Oh my gosh!


Have you seen their Prophecy top 100 page




It looks like bloody links to the sci-fi channel or some Star Trek fan website


As long as people fall for stuff like this, science will suffer.


Seems like prophecy always leads to the end of the world. Remember that old TV commercial that said "Today is the first day, of the rest of your life"? The slogan of the Christian prophecy nuts would be "Today might be your last day, so accept Jesus before it's too late"! I'll go with the Total cereal ad any day. I mean, if you must prophetize, at least give us some good news!


Penn and Teller: The End of the World


The strangest prophecy site I've ever ran into is Power of Prophecy by Texe Marrs.

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Total cereal ad any day.


I believe it went like this


Today is the first day of the rest of your life, start it right with Total.


I believe you are proposing this as a Christian mantra..


Today is the last day of the past of your life, end it right with Jesus! :shrug:

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Total cereal ad any day.


I believe it went like this


Today is the first day of the rest of your life, start it right with Total.


I believe you are proposing this as a Christian mantra..


Today is the last day of the past of your life, end it right with Jesus! :shrug:


You're a much better ad writer than I am! Now some Christian trolling the boards will see your little slogan, and lift it for use on his church sign.

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I think it is funny. Sure, scientists were "wrong," but it isn't like they are ever totally certain of anything. Besides, they still have to deal with the fact that these fossils, no matter if they are mammailian or not, are millions of years old. So even though scienctists were "wrong," they(the literalists) are still wrong.


FNA, do you know of any good online sources (besides talk.origins) for reading about the evolution from reptile to mammal? Everything I have seen (mostly from NOVA and Discovery) is very simplified and it just doesn't give any specifics.

BTW, I just finished watching a great NOVA series on evolution called, what else, Evolution. Netflix rocks!

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FNA, do you know of any good online sources (besides talk.origins) for reading about the evolution from reptile to mammal? Everything I have seen (mostly from NOVA and Discovery) is very simplified and it just doesn't give any specifics.




There's a TON of good data out there, a lot of it on the net,

some can even be found by renting or buying DVD's that PBS, the BBC

or even the Discovery Channel sells.


Some links I found just now using Google:









It's kind of funny that you said "besides" Talk Origins,

I take that to mean only that you're familiar with that site,

because it has some EXCELLENT pages on the subject,

and directly debunks "creation science" (Intelligent Design theory).

One such magnificient page is here:




Some of my own material here includes some of the names of the species

that were the early mammal-like reptiles. I'll include them here,

perhaps other web searches on these names will yeild some more info.


These animals first appear in the fossil record about 300 million years ago,

(reptiles in general only appeared 90 million years before that)

and survived for about 120 million years. Their skulls were more like those of mammals,

but their posture suggests a more primitive reptillian gate.


Tapinocephalus, 270 Million Years Ago (henceforth "MYA")

Estemmenosuchus, 255 MYA

Robertia, 260 MYA

Procynosuchus, 260 MYA

Cistecephalus, 260 MYA

Lycaenops, 260 MYA (Very much like a reptillian Wolf, and seems to have hunted like one)

Lystrosaurus, 250 MYA

Thrinaxodon, 250 MYA <----This little fella is one interesting animal! About 2 feet long, a meat eater, it was quite possibly covered in fur from head to toe. It was able to breathe while eating, an ability modern mammals have but no living reptile has, and lived like a prairie dog in burows.

This is 185 million years before T-Rex, keep in mind.

Cynognathus, 230 MYA <---Upright posture, and there is evidence it bore live young, and had body hair, both mammalian traits, but it's skeleton was still strikingly reptillian. It's teeth were very much like those of a predatory mammal; with incisors, canines, and molars.

Kannemeyria, 230 MYA (Kind of like a giant Hippo with 2 tusks and a beak)

Placerias, 215 MYA

Massetognathus, 220 MYA <---A plant eater, a lot like Thrinaxodon but differnt diet, possibly covered in fur, teeth like a mammal, and a dog-like tail.


These mammal-like reptiles were evolving in full-swing towards being mammals

100 million years before the big dinosaurs came along.

The first of them appear 270 million years ago, and the dinosaurs long after that,

going extinct 65 million years ago.

We humans and ALL our primate ancestors have been here less than 6 million years.

(Our species, 800 thousand to 1.6 million - open to debate).

And yet, the christians think it's somehow all about us. Laughable.


We ourselves are a species in transition, evolving still.

We are loaded with evolutionary leftovers (vestigial traits).

Our appendix, wisdom teeth, fingernails and toenails, and shitloads of unseen latent genes

tell a tale of where we came from.

Heck, even our HAIR.


Did you know we humans are the ONLY primate on the planet

who's natural coat of body hair and/or blubber is insufficient to protect us in ANY of our natural environment? Even in Africa, we need some degree of shelter and clothing in certain conditions like rain. We are also the only primate that is positively bouyant. (We float).

Remember I said that - I'll get into more on that subject another time.

There's a very interesting theory brewing among some paleo-anthropologists

about where our ancestors may have spent their time, which explains a whole lot.

But it's only theory right now, and has very little hard evidence - but loads of circumstantial evidence. It needs testing, but so far is at least logical and plausible,

and would also explain why the "missing link" fossils are not yet forthcoming.

It also explains our descended larynx, which makes speech possible.

It also helps explain our posture, and the situation of our weak coat of body hair,

and the fact that we are the only primates that can make blubber.

(Subcutaneous yellow fat).


Curious yet? LOL The theory is that at some point in human evolution,

our direct ancestors lived on the seashore, and hunted fish in open waters.

Think about it; we're not fast or fierce. We need special advantages to survive in the wild.

Land predators can't follow us INTO the water, and oceanic predators can't follow us OUT of the water. So our ancestors lived on the border of these two worlds for a long time for protection.

The ocean is a rich food source, but bodyhair becomes worse than useless.

Hair is there to keep you warm in air. But in water it's not only useless, it creates drag.

Every other aquatic mammal is descended from land-dwelling ancestors,

many lost their body hair and gained blubber, which is an EXCELLENT insulator in the water.

Swimming creates a whole different set of variables to posture, the more streamlined, the better.

Dogpaddling about is slow. The way humans swim is much faster.

And coming up for air? Quick breaths, and back down.

Ever see the divers of Pago-Pago? Some of these guys can hold their breath for up to 5 minutes,

and dive 100 feet deep. So we KNOW humans can do it. Coming up for air like that over and over would prompt the larynx to descend in the throat.


Evolution doesn't start with a goal and work toward it. Evolution didn't wake up one morning and say "I'm going to make these proto-humans able to talk". No. Speech is a side effect.

Some other factor caused the human larynx to descend in our throats.

It comes with risks, such as choking, because with a descended larynx we can not breathe while swallowing. Seashore fossils of bones are rare as hell, the tide pounds rocks into sand, what chance do a few bones have? And beach sand is NOT a good place for fossils to form, and there are tons of scavengers, from birds to crabs to insects. The vast majority of carcasses would be dispersed into nothingness very quickly.


Like I said, this theory is in it's infancy, and may be completely wrong.

But it sure has a lot of circumstantial evidence going for it.


Whew, sorry for the long post! -Greg FNA

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Whew, sorry for the long post! -Greg FNA
No need to apologize, that is some great stuff. I hadn't heard that theory before, and it is very interesting.
It's kind of funny that you said "besides" Talk Origins,

I take that to mean only that you're familiar with that site,

because it has some EXCELLENT pages on the subject,

and directly debunks "creation science" (Intelligent Design theory).

Yes, I am familiar with it, and I do enjoy it. But for some reason I have a hard time grasping what I am reading, it's strange. I think it is a lack of pictures and diagrams, I'm a very visual person so I need to see what they are talking about.

Also, TO is about as useful as AiG in a debate with fundies.

Some links I found just now using Google:
Thank you for the links. I usually ask someone that knows what they are talking about for links because there is just so much crap out there, I'm not sure what to trust.
No. Speech is a side effect.
This is interesting. I know that evolution is not working towards specific goals. But speech seems to have enough advantages that I question if it would just be a side effect. Speech is (probably) the most important social advancement. The NOVA show I just finished watching suggested that social forces may be what drives our evolution (memic evolution) instead of biological evolution. Hmm, I don't think "instead" is the right word. Um, perhaps I should say memic evolution is the main force on human evolution.

But, it didn't say anything about the larynx having to drop down. I'm not familiar with primate anatomy at all, except for a couple of basic differences between chimps and humans.

You certianly have me curious. Thank you.

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Very welcome, thanks for the reply.


You're right of course that it can get very cerebral.

And my own background makes me prone to using "big words",

a habbit I try real hard to break on public forums because I can

come off as a geek, a know-it-all, or somehow pompus.


About speech being a valid goal of ANY kind of evolution;

that's a theory too, and we are the only test case that we know of.

There is no bell curve when the sample is one. ( LOL )


But consider other species that are indeed very social, and communicate with eachother.

Dolphins do it, and are very social.

But their "language" either isn't understood enough by us to make a comparison of how it developed, nor is dolphin history likely to ever be anything but oral tradition even if we lean to speak dolphin and start asking them. Trusting oral tradition is a bit like trusting the bible.

Some truth, some bullshit, and determining which is which depends on our own perceptions and criteria for judgement.


Many social animals communicate with eachother,

but they do not have a spoken language as we do.

The difference between communication and language is in the specifics, and in abstract conceptualization - especially concepts displaced in time.

Don't freak on me, I only mean communicating a concept about the past or the future to someone else, something not locked into the moment at hand.

To our knowledge, no other animal on Earth can communicate (or perhaps, even grasp the concept) anything outside the moment or those moments to immediately follow.


If I stare at a woman and make bedroom eyes, I've just communicated with her without saying a word. Animals do this, and it evokes a concept of something yet to happen; sex or no sex.

This is what I mean by awareness of what is to immediately follow.

If she makes a "yeah right" face and turns her back, she's just communicated her response to me, in the negative, also without saying a word.


But using a structured spoken language we both share, I can chat her up,

(as the Brits say) telling her all about the past, my hopes for the future.

I can put an abstract thought in MY head into hers; I can tell her how good I am

with the magic suitcase, and what's in it. Now, keep in mind the magic suitcase is nowhere to be seen at the moment. I just put a perceptual image into someone else's head of something that isn't here, isn't happening right now and likely wouldn't have been imagined by her without my input.


Our social structure as humans is very complex, and we have built in loads and loads of little nuances into interpersonal interaction. Simple language, we're complicated and dealing with eachother is also complicated.

But if you were to study the social interaction of chimps, dolphins, whales, or less developed lifeforms like schools of fish, hell even ANTS, there's TONS of information being exchanged,

and a lot of social structure. None of these species however have a written language.

It's either chemical, instinctual, or at it's most advanced in apes and whales and dolphins,

it's spoken (or auditory) non-specific language of in-the-moment needs.


Ugh, I'm typing too much again. LOL

Ok, you want some articles on the subject with pictures? http://www.museums.org.za/sam/resource/pal...luver/later.htm


This one's a bit technical, but it may be of some use to you, worth a click:



And the whole thing about the lower jaw of reptiles and mammalian earbones

is expertly laid out on this Talk Origins page; even if you don't read a word on it,

there are some excellet illustrations on this page:



I could go on, but I think that's good enough for now! :eek:



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I just found another webpage that I wanted to include here,

it's something I just found now but a quick overview has me thinking it's one of the best sources yet.




This page covers a lot of ground, not just reptiles to mammals.

The transition from fish to amphibian, and reptile to bird is at least in part described here.


Hey I'm enjoying this! "Learning can be fun!" LOL

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Hey I'm enjoying this! "Learning can be fun!" LOL
Me too, and yes it is! It is going to take me a while to get through the links, which is good, I needed something biology related to read.

I honestly haven't ever thought about the physiological changes needed for language to occur. Even without that aspect, the evolution of language is very interesting, and new to me. That series(yes, the same series) had a guy who thinks, based on listening in on people, that up to 2/3 of everything we say is gossip. This surpried him, and others. Apparently many thought language's main purpose was to teach and organize. In a sense, gossip does help with organization, it helps one find out where he and others stand in the given society. But it appears that gossip may be a very important function.

Of course you are right, a species doesn't need language like we do to have a social community. In fact, we still communicate more information non-verbally. But it seems that language makes it easier for the societies to be larger and more complex. Ants do have intricate societies, but each ant has and knows its place, so it isn't as complex as it may seem. But humans are not like this, we are not born into a purpose for society, we have to find our place. It seems to me this is where language's importance can be seen, even if it is mainly for gossip. We use gossip to find information about the people we live with/around. Other species find out this information, but it seems to be more difficult, either by observing the group, which takes time, or by trial and error, such as challenging a more dominate member, which is dangerous. Language does not involve these at least as much as non-verbal communication.

But, of course, none of this takes into account the physical aspect. But, it seems entirely possible that social pressures have the ability to be a cause of biological evolution, doesn't it?

(Looks like we may have a battle of the long posts ;) )

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