Meet Orthrozanclus (down with phyla!)

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conwaymorris1LR.jpgI missed this one a week or two ago. Simon Conway Morris and his colleague Jean-Bernard Caron published a paper in Science on a new Cambrian fossil called Orthrozanclus. The cool thing about the fossil is that it combines features from two other fossils that Conway Morris previously implicated as transitional stem groups between the modern crown groups (“phyla”) of mollusks, annelids, and brachiopods: Wiwaxia and Halkeria. Of course, according to Discovery Institute propaganda, transitional fossils like this don’t exist.

Here is a news summary. See also the Orthrozanclus post from PZ Myers, his post last year on another stem group mollusk-ish critter, Odontogriphus.

24 Comments

Worse news is that the article reports that

In addition, when discussing the origin of major body plans, it is likely that the genetic and morphological gaps in the Cambrian were much smaller than the present disparity of phyla would suggest.

Re “when discussing the origin of major body plans, it is likely that the genetic and morphological gaps in the Cambrian were much smaller than the present disparity of phyla would suggest.”

Isn’t that also a direct prediction of the current ToE? (I.E., If the data said otherwise the theory would have a problem.)

Henry

as nick mentioned in a post a few days ago, the ‘origin’ of a new higher taxon would appear at the time to be just another speciation event. i’m pretty sure that the debate over what phylum to put these critters in simply reflects our post-hoc examination. perhaps at the time, they had diverged only to family (or less?) level, and our procrustean (thanks for the adj., SJ Gould!) efforts to assign them into one or the other phylum fails because they did not (yet) belong exclusively to one or the other.

But it’s still a.…

… no, actually, what the hell is that thing? :)

It looks like those things I used to comb out of my dog’s fur, after a romp in the meadow.

How come the Discovery Institute never, well, discovers anything like this?

How come the Discovery Institute never, well, discovers anything like this?

I don’t get it either. Doesn’t the DI have dozens of PhD’s working out in the field looking for archaeological proof of Design and the Flood? You’d think they’d have found some bunnies in the Precambrian by now.

How come the Discovery Institute never, well, discovers anything like this?

That requires intellectual integrity, and geologic naivity. The DI possesses neither. The know that rabbit fossils will not be found in Cambrian deposits, so they ignore the entire concept out of a desire to seem relevant. Dwelling scientifically on what they cannot explain would require an even greater display of integrity than they can muster of faith.

This reminds me of an argument in which a creationist tried to tell me that remote ancestors of horses weren’t “really” horse ancestors becasue they are also ancestors of rhinoceroses. “So which is it? A horse or a rhino?”

So your grandfather isn’t really your ancestor because he’s also your cousin’s grandfather. Well, which is he, you or your cousin?

Two more gaps in the fossil record to explain.

Ah ha! Two MORE gaps in the fossil record.

Oh yeah, well if you and your cousin have the same grandmother, why is your grandmother still around? How many gaps is that?

Re “You’d think they’d have found some bunnies in the Precambrian by now.”

Yeah, where’s Elmer Fudd when they need him?

Henry J Wrote:

Re “You’d think they’d have found some bunnies in the Precambrian by now.”

Yeah, where’s Elmer Fudd when they need him?

Be vewy quiet. I’m hunting twilobites.

Ah ha! Two MORE gaps in the fossil record.

Gosh CJ, your not Alan Partridge in disguise by any chance ? :

http://www.gazmac.freeserve.co.uk/part.htm

Still, I’ll expect something from the folks at AiG on this one as well over the next few days.

How come the Discovery Institute never, well, discovers anything like this?

Or AiG either. It’s amazing the amount of information on their website that’s been discovered by evolutionary scientists !

Just to reiterate two important points: All fossils are transitional fossils. All species are transistional species, including our own.

All fossils are transitional fossils. All species are transistional species, including our own.

Not sure if this is a semantic problem, but not every species becomes the parent of another species. My understanding is that this is in fact much more the exception; that the vast majority of species are dead ends. Just because evolution never sleeps, doesn’t mean every species is transitional. Most terminate at extinction, transitioning to nothing.

Look, another neat discovery NOT made by the Disgusting Institute:

“Something old is now something new, thanks to Lamar University researcher Jim Westgate and colleagues. The scientists’ research has led to the discovery of a new genus and species of primate, one long vanished from the earth but preserved in the fossil record.”

http://www.sciencedaily.com/release[…]09161526.htm

Re “But it’s still a.…… no, actually, what the hell is that thing? :)”

The common ancestor of modern dust bunnies?

*sigh* to Flint

Yes, extinction is one form of transition, and perhaps the dominant one. Note the difference, however, between terminal extinctions (read robust australopithines in the paleaoanthropology world) versus transitional extinctions (e.g., in most academic circles, Homo habilis (sensu lato) to Homo erectus (sensu lato).

Still, I’ll expect something from the folks at AiG on this one as well over the next few days.

yeah, I’m gonna check with the high school student who works as a clerk at my gas station too.

I’m sure he’ll have tons of interesting commentary on this find.

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Vietnam travel said:

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wow sir, if you don’t have anything to say, don’t say it.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on April 15, 2007 2:46 PM.

SMU Daily: The Discovery Institute: harming us with pseudoscience was the previous entry in this blog.

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