Chicken, archosaur…same difference

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My daughter is learning about evolution in high school right now, and the problem isn't with the instructor, who is fine, but her peers, who complain that they don't see the connections. She mentioned specifically yesterday that the teacher had shown a cladogram of the relationships between crocodilians, birds, and mammals, and that a number of students insisted that there was no similarity between a bird and an alligator.

I may have to send this news article to school with her: investigators have found that a mutation in chickens causes them to develop teeth—and the teeth resemble those of the common ancestor of alligators and chickens, an archosaur.

Continue reading "Chicken, archosaur...same difference" (on Pharyngula)

17 Comments

I don’t see, “Hmmm, tastes like archosaur”, having quite the same cultural ring to it.

My question: what’s PZ’s take on Rob? (If Rob falls out of favor, I have a very handsome son just about the right age).

Do you suppose that US society is rapidly moving towards some sort of Eloi-Morlock structure (I would never suggest who fits where)? Maybe the Morlocks have had a bad press for too long!

Just wondering.

Some years ago I taught a months Gened course on geology for Wheaton College for non-scientists. I had 10 students half of whom were YEC dues to home-schooling and church teaching. It was a strange experience from my English background. I took a relaxed attitude to it but did not compromise on anything. It caused problems for students and another even complained about indoctrination from her youth pastor. Many evangelical colleges have sound science teaching but draw their students from YEC backgrounds.

Ultimately I have no solution.

For another good article today, check out http://www.discover.com/issues/mar-06/cover/. It’s an interesting read concerning a recently discovered very large virus, and uses this discovery to argue against ID. For example:

“This is striking news, especially at a moment when the basic facts of origins and evolution seem to have fallen under a shroud. In the discussions of intelligent design, one hears a yearning for an old-fashioned creation story, in which some singular, inchoate entity stepped in to give rise to complex life-forms—humans in particular. Now the viruses appear to present a creation story of their own: a stirring, topsy-turvy, and decidedly unintelligent design wherein life arose more by reckless accident than original intent, through an accumulation of genetic accounting errors committed by hordes of mindless, microscopic replication machines. Our descent from apes is the least of it. With the discovery of Mimi, scientists are close to ascribing to viruses the last role that anyone would have conceived for them: that of life’s prime mover.”

That Discover article is like, so last week.

signed, The After the Bar Closes hipsters

I may have to send this news article to school with her: investigators have found that a mutation in chickens causes them to develop teeth—and the teeth resemble those of the common ancestor of alligators and chickens, an archosaur.

Common designer, obviously.

*sigh*

To Maine Yankee: If you think Morlocks have gotten bad press, check out Stephen Baxter’s authorized sequel to The Time Machine, The Time Ships, and see what Morlocks could accomplish.

Albion Wrote:

Common designer, obviously.

*sigh*

According to Uncommon Descent it’s an example of front-loading. I’m not sure if that means they think chickens are shortly going to develop fangs.

(As well as developing being dead, since this mutation’s also lethal.)

Hmm…that Uncommon Descent thread contains a bunch of replies where readers point out the obvious: this is evidence for common descent, it supports the idea that birds evolved from reptiles, and it fits evolutionary predictions.

How long will those comments last, I wonder?

Wow! DaveScot responded to a comment by plugging what sounds like hyper-super-macro-evolution:

John Davison (see sidebar) has hypothesized a mechanism he calls semi-meiosis that can deal a new hand in a single generation producing fertile offspring (of both sexes for sexually reproducing organisms) of a species different from the parent. This is in total agreement with the indisputable testimony of the fossil record which reveals not gradual transitions but the sudden appearance of broad new taxonomic orders.

Apparently they’ve decided hopeful monsters are plausible after all. Is this part of a trend along with accepting common descent? Now ID takes every claim from evolutionary theory and turns it up to eleven?

She mentioned specifically yesterday that the teacher had shown a cladogram of the relationships between crocodilians, birds, and mammals, and that a number of students insisted that there was no similarity between a bird and an alligator.

Back when I used to do educational reptile shows for school classes, Scout troops, etc, one of the animals I used was my alligator, Fluffy (just a youngster). And I took pains to clearly point out some of the similarities between gators and birds. Both, for instance, have four-chambered hearts (no other reptile does – though monitor lizards come close). Both make nests for their eggs, and both provide parental care for their young (most other reptiles don’t). Baby gators make a chirping call for their mommy just like baby birds do (and as I was pretty good at imitating that call – it goes something like “eeeuuuwwwt, eeeuuwwwt” – I could often entice Fluffy to chirp a few times for us.

During all my talks (and in all of my books), I always gave quick thumbnail descriptions of the evolutionary history of snakes, lizards, turtles, amphibians, spiders, scorpions and cockroaches.

For most of those kids, it was probably the only lesson on evolution they ever got.

Brings a whole new meaning to reverse genetics.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Sorry this is off subject ,but very interesting

Feb 16th 2006 From The Economist print edition or go to No Beliefs.com(freethinker)

How life on Earth got going is still mysterious, but not for want of ideas

Michael Roberts I read your post and thought .….what would happen if those YEC-ers were in your position, .…..you say you have no answer, .….but does it not make you angry? Once the brainwashed take over the country should you not be asking yourself [Those who controls “TMTHE ONE TRUE WORD OF GOD” are incompetent liars?] .…..if not the children but the adults in charge. Then why should they not be held to account ? This is not a matter of one world view vs another but a Nobel Lie vs the NOBEL TRUTH and if we DO NOT make a stand then we are absolving our responsibilities NE PAS ? OK don’t take the big stick to the ignorant. BUT at least give it too them in EVERY CONCEIVABLE WAY.

Quote current pop culture. Tell them they are absolute SH*T H**DS Tell them they WILL GO TO HELL FOR TELLING LIES TELL them they are LIARS

TELL THEM ABOUT LENNY FRANK!!!!!

Hey at least you will FEEL better.

DON”T GIVE A MILLIMETER

All this demonstrates is that chickens and alligators are (evidently) the same kind of animal.

All this demonstrates is that chickens and alligators are (evidently) the same kind of animal.

As are (evidently) humans and chimps, who after all share much more of their genetics than chickens and alligators do.

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on February 22, 2006 11:42 AM.

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