Ventastega

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ventastega_recon.jpg

The paleontologists are going too far. This is getting ridiculous. They keep digging up these collections of bones that illuminate tetrapod origins, and they keep making finer and finer distinctions. On one earlier side we have a bunch of tetrapod-like fish — Tiktaalik and Panderichthys, for instance — and on the later side we have fish-like tetrapods, such as Acanthostega and Ichthyostega. Now they're talking about shades of fishiness or tetrapodiness within those groups! You'd almost think they were documenting a pattern of gradual evolutionary change.

The latest addition is a description of Ventastega curonica, a creature that falls within the domain of the fish-like tetrapods, but is a bit fishier than other forms, so it actually bridges the gap between something like Tiktaalik and Acanthostega. We look forward to the imminent discovery of yet more fossils that bridge the gap between Ventastega and Tiktaalik, and between Ventastega and Acanthostega, and all the intermediates between them.

Here's Ventastega's place in the phyletic universe, and I think you can see what I mean — all those species represent an embarrassment of riches, revealing the flowering of the tetrapod transition.

ventastega_phylo.jpg

The skull can be compared to others, and the meat of the description of this animal is largely a description of each of the bones of the skull, categorizing and comparing them, and showing that we really are looking at a beast that is partway between Tiktaalik and Acanthostega.

ventastega_skull_comp.jpg
(click for larger image)

Skulls of Tiktaalik, Ventastega, Acanthostega and Ichthyostega in dorsal view, showing the skull roof (grey) used in the morphometric comparison. In Ventastega and Acanthostega the internasal fontanelle is shown darker grey. Not drawn to scale.

I know, you really just want to see what it looks like. Here's a diagram of the bits and pieces of this wonderful fossil.

ventastega.jpg
(click for larger image)

a, Whole-body reconstruction showing known skeletal elements on a body outline based on Acanthostega. Scale bar, 10 cm. b, c, Skull reconstruction in lateral and dorsal views, based on material presented here and described previously. d, Reconstructed association of skull and shoulder girdle in lateral view. e, Shoulder girdle in anterior view. Curvature of cleithrum based on LDM G 81/522. Unknown bones are indicated with vertical hatching. Scale bar for be, 10 mm. f, g, Life reconstructions of head in lateral and dorsal views (copyright P. Renne, 2007). an, anocleithrum; ang, angular; cla, clavicle; clei, cleithrum; de, dentary; fr, frontal; icl, interclavicle; i.fon, internasal fontanelle; it, intertemporal; ju, jugal; la, lacrimal; mx, maxilla; m.ro, median rostral; na, nasal; pa, parietal; pmx, premaxilla; po, postorbital; pof, postfrontal; pop, preopercular; pospl, postsplenial; pp, postparietal; prf, prefrontal; pter, pterygoid; qj, quadratojugal; sang, surangular; scapcor, scapulocoracoid; spl, splenial; sq, squamosal; ta, tabular.

There's one important fact Ahlberg warns us about, though. When you see a detailed, species-packed cladogram like the one shown above, it is tempting to see the roster of species as a linear series, with one form succeeding another. This is not the case! Many of those species were dead ends, and we're seeing the tips of the branches, not necessarily any of the members of the main trunk. What all these fossils tell us is a combination of fortunate trivia — it's good to live your life along the water's edge if you hope to be fossilized — and amazing success. These early tetrapods were exploring a new niche and were radiating into diverse morphologies at a rapid rate, and so what we're also seeing is a portrait of a spectacularly successful strategy, the exploitation of the boundary between land and water by large animals.



Ahlberg PE, Clack JA, Luksevics E, Blom H, Zupins I (2008) Ventastega curonica and the origin of tetrapod morphology. Nature 453(7199):1199-204.

173 Comments

This is terrible news indeed! Now just look at all those gaps we have to fill! Each time we find a new missing link, it’s creating TWO gaps! [/sarcasm]

The government must stop funding this work as it may prove evolution

Scientists have failed to find a SINGLE transitional fossil in 150 years of trying! They have no evidence, just faith!

RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE!!!

It’s still just a… er… um… thing…

This and the preceding article are the type of thing I really enjoy here.

I guess that makes PZ Meyers close to my favorite science writer.

I would recommend that anyone of any religious persuasion learn from his generous and articulate sharing of biology with the public.

But I don’t comment on this stuff very often, because the summaries are usually so complete, I don’t have much to add.

Wait - I do have some questions.

I won’t ask the fossils approximate date, as I can google or even make a guess at that.

The teeth look sharp. Was it a carnivore? Who did it eat - any ideas? Would there have been any tetrapod herbivores to speack of at the time? How big was it?

harold said: The teeth look sharp. Was it a carnivore? Who did it eat - any ideas? Would there have been any tetrapod herbivores to speack of at the time? How big was it?

The Ventastega curonica fossil is 365 million years old - 100 million years before the first dinosaur. “Ventastega was likely three or four feet long, and swam in shallow waters eating other fish.” - http://www.tothecenter.com/news.php?readmore=5752

It’s interesting that this is yet another discovery NOT made by the Discovery Institute.

I’ve been lurking for some time, and this seems like an appropriate thread to ask a questions that’s bugged me for some time.

How can we draw an entire body of a creature for which we have only a few bones? In PZ’s example, we have a skull and a couple of “fin” bones. Is it a simple matter of looking at the similarities with other more complete fossils to extrapolate to the full body?

How confident are we that we’ve got the right body type?

Thanks in advance.

It’s interesting that this is yet another discovery NOT made by the Discovery Institute.

Creationists are all devotees of Orwell. “Teach the controversy” means preach creationism. “Present both sides” means present only one side. The Discovery Institute exists to inhibit discovery. “Critical thinking” translates as “don’t question dogma.” This is a long and growing list.

As the figure caption clearly says, the body outline is based on Acanthostega, for which additional skeletal material is available. The justification for using Acanthostega as a guide to reconstructing Ventastega is that the skulls are sufficiently similar that the bodies are likely to also be similar. Obviously, as and if additional skeletal material for Ventastega becomes available that reconstruction will be modified accordingly.

RBH said:

As the figure caption clearly says, the body outline is based on Acanthostega, for which additional skeletal material is available. The justification for using Acanthostega as a guide to reconstructing Ventastega is that the skulls are sufficiently similar that the bodies are likely to also be similar. Obviously, as and if additional skeletal material for Ventastega becomes available that reconstruction will be modified accordingly.

Sigh. I re-read the post a number of times to make sure I wasn’t asking a question that was already answered, and for some reason failed to read the captions.

Thanks for the response, RBH.

Flint said:

It’s interesting that this is yet another discovery NOT made by the Discovery Institute.

Creationists are all devotees of Orwell. “Teach the controversy” means preach creationism. “Present both sides” means present only one side. The Discovery Institute exists to inhibit discovery. “Critical thinking” translates as “don’t question dogma.” This is a long and growing list.

I recently read 1984 for the first time since highschool and long before I even knew creationists existed. As I reread it, the similarities between creationist belief systems and The Party kept popping up in my mind. Doublethink galore. The AiG’s statement of faith, the Wedge Document, and other comparable creationist screeds are like IngSoc. Ignorance is Strength.

Wheels said:

This is terrible news indeed! Now just look at all those gaps we have to fill! Each time we find a new missing link, it’s creating TWO gaps!

Goalpost manufacturers say they haven’t been able to keep up with the demand for ever smaller and subdivided goalposts. Sigh, and we thought we were in enough trouble with rising fuel and food prices.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/tadarwin.html

vorwof said:

I’ve been lurking for some time, and this seems like an appropriate thread to ask a questions that’s bugged me for some time.

How can we draw an entire body of a creature for which we have only a few bones? In PZ’s example, we have a skull and a couple of “fin” bones. Is it a simple matter of looking at the similarities with other more complete fossils to extrapolate to the full body?

How confident are we that we’ve got the right body type?

Thanks in advance.

They just throw a bunch of chicken bones in a pile and fill in the rest with their imagination and call it “evidence.” These are the people that called Piltdown Man, the feejee mermaid and John Merrick trasitional forms. It’s all just fraud and imagination!

Does anyone have the email address for Ann Coulter? I need to send her a link to this post.

Bubba Von Grubba said:

vorwof said:

I’ve been lurking for some time, and this seems like an appropriate thread to ask a questions that’s bugged me for some time.

How can we draw an entire body of a creature for which we have only a few bones?…

They just throw a bunch of chicken bones in a pile and fill in the rest with their imagination and call it “evidence.” These are the people that called Piltdown Man, the feejee mermaid and John Merrick trasitional forms. It’s all just fraud and imagination!

You forgot Nebraska man. ;)

“They just throw a bunch of chicken bones in a pile and fill in the rest with their imagination and call it “evidence.” These are the people that called Piltdown Man, the feejee mermaid and John Merrick trasitional forms. It’s all just fraud and imagination!”

Glad to see us creationist aint the only ones to do that…Maby we does have somthing in like wit da scienceism!

No point. Morton’s Demon has pretty thoroughly possessed Ms. Coulter.

“It’s still just a tetrapod”

(Sorry. I just couldn’t resist.)

Cedric Katesby said:

“It’s still just a tetrapod”

(Sorry. I just couldn’t resist.)

Damn straight! Until they show me in a lab one of them Ventastegategathingies give birth to a cat, it’s all just *theory*! Where’s the evidence????

fnxtr said:

No point. Morton’s Demon has pretty thoroughly possessed Ms. Coulter.

A Coultergeist-demon hybrid! They never came up with something so bizarre on BUFFY and ANGEL.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/tadarwin.html

A Coultergeist-demon hybrid!

Eh, it’s still just another kind of demon.

Paul Burnett -

Thanks.

This is an area I’ll have to do some reading in.

Dear Paul -

What you said below isn’t quite accurate:

Paul Burnett said:

harold said: The teeth look sharp. Was it a carnivore? Who did it eat - any ideas? Would there have been any tetrapod herbivores to speack of at the time? How big was it?

The Ventastega curonica fossil is 365 million years old - 100 million years before the first dinosaur. “Ventastega was likely three or four feet long, and swam in shallow waters eating other fish.” - http://www.tothecenter.com/news.php?readmore=5752

The earliest known dinosaurs date from somewhere in the mid to late Triassic, with an age range of approximately 230 to 190 million years ago. So this means that the earliest tetrapods, including Ventastega, arose nearly two hundred million years before the earliest dinosaurs.

Regards,

John

PZ raises a good point from the paper:

There’s one important fact Ahlberg warns us about, though. When you see a detailed, species-packed cladogram like the one shown above, it is tempting to see the roster of species as a linear series, with one form succeeding another. This is not the case! Many of those species were dead ends, and we’re seeing the tips of the branches, not necessarily any of the members of the main trunk. What all these fossils tell us is a combination of fortunate trivia — it’s good to live your life along the water’s edge if you hope to be fossilized — and amazing success. These early tetrapods were exploring a new niche and were radiating into diverse morphologies at a rapid rate, and so what we’re also seeing is a portrait of a spectacularly successful strategy, the exploitation of the boundary between land and water by large animals.

I TA a bioinformatics course that my supervisor teaches which the first half is predominantly on phylogenetics. Every year we have to teach students how to look at phylogenetic trees and it can be difficult. Dealing with rooted versus unrooted trees, relationships, etc. In terms of getting the point that it is the branching pattern that matters and not how close things are in a linear order the trick is to get students to understand that all branches are freely rotatable around nodes. Get them to take the cladogram in this case and rotate things around nodes. They will quickly see that the linear order is radically different yet they are the same tree. The relationships haven’t changed at all.

An excellent excercise to get anyone used to looking at trees.

They will quickly see that the linear order is radically different yet they are the same tree. The relationships haven’t changed at all.

I gather that it’s like each branch is perpendicular to all the others - effectively a new dimension? (But to put the thing on paper means forcing it into two dimensions.)

Henry

An excellent excercise to get anyone used to looking at trees.

But the tree is still just a woody green plant!!one!eleven!!!!

I couldn’t resist commenting, even though it seems that it will fall on deaf ears on this blog. Just a bit of advice, if you want to continue with the cherade that evolution is real science you might want to tone down the sarcasim just a tad. The defensiveness and general mimicking the same old darwinian rhetoric reveals how strong the faith is, the faith you pretend isn’t a faith that is. By the way, If you think Ann Coulter would be impressed with any of the same old stuff on this site that appears in every other evolutionary sight, you must be kidding.

I couldn’t resist commenting, even though it seems that it will fall on deaf ears on this blog. Just a bit of advice, if you want to continue with the cherade that evolution is real science you might want to tone down the sarcasim just a tad. The defensiveness and general mimicking the same old darwinian rhetoric reveals how strong the faith is, the faith you pretend isn’t a faith that is. By the way, If you think Ann Coulter would be impressed with any of the same old stuff on this site that appears in every other evolutionary sight, you must be kidding.

Deediddly: Rhetoric won’t cut it, no matter how pretty you think it is. You have yet to offer a better explanation for Ventastega than the one offered here. Crying “design” won’t cut it, you have to have a better explanation for the evidence.

And it’s obvious that you don’t.

Eric Finn said:

I am sure we both agree that sarcasm is not the easiest style of writing to adapt. Maybe I should drop all attempts, since it doesn’t come naturally.

No, I believe you did fairly well. But I was perhaps too hasty, and the IDiots out-Poe themselves.

deedee said: …I guess the semantics games so important to you evolutionists is what your “mountains of evidence” are all about, huh?

Well, you lackwitted troll, how about you show some intellectual honesty and acknowledge the correction without so much sarcasm, hmmm?

How about putting your “mountains of evidence” where your mouth is.

It’s all in the public domain. If you really care to learn, start with a biology textbook that was written by scientists.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask them.

If you require extensive tuition, I’m up for that, at a very reasonable rate of US$200 per hour plus expenses.

Tell me one piece of it that didn’t begin with the presupposition that what ever you see has to fit into your faith in evolution in the first place.

Evolution isn’t a faith, it’s a conclusion.

And, BTW, every single piece of evidence didn’t begin with any presuppositions.

Tell me, is there anything in your comments that isn’t founded on either presupposition or delusion?

Oh, realizing spelling is your field and not science, I thought you might want to know that you followed my lead and didn’t capitalize my name. How embarrassing.

Proper nouns that are not capitalised by their owners shouldn’t be capitalised (unless your original failure to capitalise your name was a mistake as well).

BTW, that’s “embarassing”. Only one “r”.

Now, do you really want a typing contest, or did you come here to discuss some science?

deedee said: …I guess the semantics games so important to you evolutionists is what your “mountains of evidence” are all about, huh?

Well, you lackwitted troll, how about you show some intellectual honesty and acknowledge the correction without so much sarcasm, hmmm?

How about putting your “mountains of evidence” where your mouth is.

It’s all in the public domain. If you really care to learn, start with a biology textbook that was written by scientists.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask them.

If you require extensive tuition, I’m up for that, at a very reasonable rate of US$200 per hour plus expenses.

Tell me one piece of it that didn’t begin with the presupposition that what ever you see has to fit into your faith in evolution in the first place.

Evolution isn’t a faith, it’s a conclusion.

And, BTW, every single piece of evidence didn’t begin with any presuppositions.

Tell me, is there anything in your comments that isn’t founded on either presupposition or delusion?

Oh, realizing spelling is your field and not science, I thought you might want to know that you followed my lead and didn’t capitalize my name. How embarrassing.

Proper nouns that are not capitalised by their owners shouldn’t be capitalised (unless your original failure to capitalise your name was a mistake as well).

BTW, that’s “embarassing”. Only one “r”.

Now, do you really want a typing contest, or did you come here to discuss some science?

Whooops, sorry about the double-post, folks.

Mods, please feel free to delete one of them.

deedee said: … I would like to first point out that it’s always amusing how evolutionists refuse to answer the question themselves.

The question has been answered. Piece by piece, step by step, for about 140-odd years.

Modern evolutionary theory (MET) is the answer. It explains, inter alia, the following:

(1) The fossil record
(2) Anatomical similarities among organisms
(3) Differences between organisms, particularly those that occupy the same ecological niche on different continents
(4) Genetic similarities among disparate organisms
(5) Developmental similarities among disparate organisms
(6) Metabolic similarities among disparate organisms
(7) The fact that the similarities and differences among organisms form patterns of nested hierarchies
(8) Symbiosis
(9) Adaptation of organisms to their habitat
(10) Secondary sexual characteristics
(11) Predator-prey “arms races”
(12) Parasite-host “arms races”

And more.

Perhaps, before you try to criticise evolutionary theory, you should actually go and learn what it says first.

As I asked, what convinces you so much about your interpretation of the facts?

The fact that MET is the only logical interpretation of the facts that does not call upon the superntaural, that’s what.

No one has decided to answer that, exept the old mocking-bird “mountains of evidence,” which of course, we could go round in circles, by me calling my interpretation of the facts “mountains of evidence” too, but as much fun as it is its a little lame.

No, it’s not a little lame. Your claiming of the evidence for your position (which, BTW, is what, exactly?) is a lot lame.

The evidence overwhelmingly supports one logical conclusion - that the mechanisms for biological change that are described in MET are what actually happens in the world.

Anyway, I briefly, No I do not agree with Behe’s opinion on the age of the earth.

Why not?

What age do you think the Earth is?

Why?

What do you say to all the evidence (e.g. measurements of rocks that are c. 4 billion years old)?

Yes I absolutely agree with his logic that the complexity of biology at the molecular level is irrational to believe it came about through natural causes.

On what do you base this leap of faith?

What prevents natural processes from generating structures that appear to us to be complex?

“Design” is not something that scientists disagree on. From Behe, Crick, Dawkins, Sagan, Wise, Fawkins etc. No scientist argues that we don’t see design in nature.

Now you are splitting hairs.

Design in nature is not controversial. Evolution is a design process.

Only, evolutionists call it “apparent” observable design, creationists & I.D. call it just “observable design.”

This is semantics.

The term “design” has multiple meanings.

The creationists are using it to imply the application of intelligence (i.e. God) during the processes of biological change over time. This is wholly unscientific, because there is no evidence to support it, there is evidence to gainsay it, and there is no conclusive way to measure it.

BTW, what the hell do you mean by “observable design”?

Do you mean something that is interpreted by our brains as being designed?

Or do you mean something that was formed through the application of intent?

Or what?

I know what the words you use mean, but the way you put them together renders them meaningless.

The Theory of design has been being used to solve cases long before evolutionists started getting their shorts in a knot about it.

This is rubbish.

What, then is the “theory of design”?

ID, as expounded by Behe, Dembski, Wells et al., is nothing more than an expression of ignorance (the “set theoretic complement” of processes we know about).

For example, a piece of evidence goes through the “explanatory filter” when we try to determine the cause of it.

No it doesn’t. You really are just making this up.

The explanatory filter is of no use to anyone, mainly because it demands that every single possible explanation be conceived of and considered.

Law courts don’t work like this. Science doesn’t work like this. Evidence is judged mainly against what is already known, and each piece of evidence must be set into the context of what we know to be possible; what we consider to be likely; and what we don’t know.

The order of elimination is very important. First we investigate whether a natural law could have caused it, when that is ruled out, we investigate the probability of random chance causing it, if that is ruled out, we concur that it was designed.

But this ignores the possibility of unknown natural mechanisms operating.

As well as ignoring the fact that “random chance” is a very loosely defined concept, and the fact that in combination, stochastic and regular processes can operate to produce phenomena that, while obeying all known laws, are still alrgely unpredictable without an extraordinary effort (e.g. weather prediction).

I can give many examples of this, but for this post I should break and pick up later.

I bet you can’t really.

I have to ask, why do so many evolutionists clump all creationists as part of the Ann Coulter fan club.

Because you all deny reality to some extent or other.

Personally I think she is correct on a lot of things, incorrect on somethings, a little too sarcastic, sometimes rude, but often hilarious.

Oh dear. She is a lunatic. She publishes crap and promotes it through sheer chutzpah.

However these bloggers seem a little fixiated on her.

Well, wouldn’t you be if someone with no knowledge of what you do was trying to persuade the taxpayers that your entire field of expertise was wrong?

iml8 said:

What I want to see is the evidence that the Moon isn’t made of green cheese. Prove it to me and I’ll pay any sum of money demanded. I’m sitting here with my arms folded waiting …

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/tadarwin.html

What you don’t seem to have realised, Greg, is that you are essentially offering to buy a piece of moon rock for any sum that can be conceived.

Oh, wait … I get it now. Carry on.

deedee said:

Wow people (and I use the term loosly). All you have to do is read back over the temper tantrum you immature people have had due to the fact that I don’t share your very strong faith, and you have yourselves proved my original point.

And you have just proved all of the counter-points.

You are picking on trivial side issues in an attempt to deflect attention away from the actual main point. You appear to be sniping at MET from a position of profound ignorance, both of MET in particular and of science in general.

You appear to have ignored the requests for further detail about your position. All you are doing now, having goaded your intellectual betters into saying something that sounds aggressive, is playing the “temper, temper” card.

That is, this board is not about an intelligent conversation that might actual aid in the discovery of what is really real, but rather you are content as a bunch of mocking birds.

Hypocrite. Show some interest in actually learning something and you will see a much more positive response.

I will continue to hope that a spark of real interest in the truth will be ignited in someone here, but, as I first stated, ANYTHING I had to say here would fall on deaf ears, so my visit with you typical hissy fitters is done.

Wrong again. There are people who visit this board who are actually scientists, i.e. people that actually do science, and know more detail than you can imagine about their particular fields of expertise.

There are any number of things that you could ask that would receive a positive response, but you have carefully avoided them. Instead, you are behaving like a typical creationist troll.

If, OTOH, you have a genuine interest in learning something, then do so. Ask some questions. But, seriously, expect there to be scepticism, and expect people to ask for clarification and detail. And be prepared to provide them. If you are prepared to engage in a rational discourse, then there are plenty of people here who would join you.

For the record, I have been publicly speaking on world views and education verses indoctrination for 7 years now and have studied the creation/evolution debate for 9 years.

Did you mean “versus” there, deedee?

If you have “studied” the “debate” for 9 years, then you must know by now that there isn’t any real debate. The “controversy” is a false dichotomy manufactured by the creos. And how come you are posting things here that one would expect of a heavily-indoctrinated creationist troll?

I have interviewed more scientists on the subject than most of you have probably ever met.

Have you really interviewed more than 600 scientists? Because 600 is a rough estimate of the number of scientists I have met (to speak to, that is, not just attending a conference at the same place).

Plus, interviewing scientists is no substitute for doing science, and some of the experts here whom you denigrate actually are scientists.

And, for any of you who hold to the view that our society at this time has not been indoctrinated with the state-funded religion of evolution are choosing to be ignorant.

Yep, creationist troll.

I’m bored now with challenging your viewpoint that evolution is a religion. It isn’t, it’s a conclusion. I can’t be bothered to go over (for about the 17th time in the last couple of years) arguments that you will almost certainly ignore, and probably cannot even understand.

You keep right on thinking (another VERY loose term) that your attacks and intimidation tactics show that you are on the right side.

This is just a bunch of lies.

Who is being attacked and intimidated? It is the people who teach MET who are being attacked and intimidated.

Who is being persecuted? Certainly not the IDers. They are publishing book after book after book of utter drivel, but they have never once been threatened with violence by scientists. Certainly not the YECs, who recently had some of their lies on sale in the bookshop run by the Grand Canyon park authority.

But I think it’d be really neato if some of you hotheads studied SUBSTANCE & EVIDENCE instead of rhetoric, then you might have something intelligent to say. Oh, I’m sorry, I hope the word “intelligence” doesn’t get you all in a tissy again like the word “design.”

You are a lying hypocrite. Go away until you are prepared to accept Mosaic Law (something about “thou shalt not bear false witness”).

Besides, I think you meant “tizzy”.

Nigel D said:

What do you say to all the evidence (e.g. measurements of rocks that are c. 4 billion years old)?

LOL, speaking of “mountains of evidence”.

Okay, let me see if I got this right:

- By spectral element analysis the Sun is a third generation star, and AFAIU can’t be older than ~ 5 Ga or so.
- By modeling fusion, convection et cetera, the Sun must be ~ 5 Ga or so.
- By dating cratering on the Moon and other planetary bodies, the solar system clocks in at ~ 5 Ga or so. (Mars, Venus et cetera have their own datings covering these periods.)
- By dating Earth, meteorites (and perhaps Moon rocks), the solar system clocks in at ~ 4.6 Ga or so.
- By dating the oldest surviving rocks Earth is at least ~ 4 Ga or so.
- By dating increase of salinity of the seas, IIRC Earth is at least 2 Ga or so.
- By estimating ozone dissociation until sufficient UV blockage that enabled land colonization, Earth is at least 2 Ga or so. (Livio, et al.)
- By dating plate tectonics, IIRC Earth is at least 0.1 - 0.5 Ga or so.
- And by dating specific geological locales, weathering and rock formation times, I’m pretty sure you must get lower dates in the same range due to plate tectonics.
- By estimating species diversity, AFAIU Earth is at least 0.1 - 0.5 Ga or so.

Creationists aren’t just bending backwards trying to avoid the evidence, they are totally spineless under the burden. “La la la, I can’t hear you!”

Btw, I believe I once have heard that there is a direct correlation between salinity in land animals and the time when we left the seas, and the respective ages concur. Though that merits a check. But that would put yet another lower limit on Earth age.

Lies! Its all lies!

Jesus rode a dinosaur!

The speed of light changes!

Radioactive half-lives have decreased!

Trees rings form every time it rains, not every year!

The earth is in a black hole and so time passes much slower here than it does in the rest of the universe!

Ferrets were catapulted from the Ark’s landing spot across the rest of the planet via volcanic eruption! (I love that one)

Arrarat was the highest mountain 4,000 years ago!

Can’t you see that you are bending over backwards to accept an overly complicated “theory” of evolution when the Truth is so elegant, so simple?

Torbjörn Larsson, OM said:

Nigel D said:

What do you say to all the evidence (e.g. measurements of rocks that are c. 4 billion years old)?

LOL, speaking of “mountains of evidence”.

Okay, let me see if I got this right:

- By spectral element analysis the Sun is a third generation star, and AFAIU can’t be older than ~ 5 Ga or so.
- By modeling fusion, convection et cetera, the Sun must be ~ 5 Ga or so.
- By dating cratering on the Moon and other planetary bodies, the solar system clocks in at ~ 5 Ga or so. (Mars, Venus et cetera have their own datings covering these periods.)
- By dating Earth, meteorites (and perhaps Moon rocks), the solar system clocks in at ~ 4.6 Ga or so.
- By dating the oldest surviving rocks Earth is at least ~ 4 Ga or so.
- By dating increase of salinity of the seas, IIRC Earth is at least 2 Ga or so.
- By estimating ozone dissociation until sufficient UV blockage that enabled land colonization, Earth is at least 2 Ga or so. (Livio, et al.)
- By dating plate tectonics, IIRC Earth is at least 0.1 - 0.5 Ga or so.
- And by dating specific geological locales, weathering and rock formation times, I’m pretty sure you must get lower dates in the same range due to plate tectonics.
- By estimating species diversity, AFAIU Earth is at least 0.1 - 0.5 Ga or so.

Creationists aren’t just bending backwards trying to avoid the evidence, they are totally spineless under the burden. “La la la, I can’t hear you!”

The earth is in a black hole and so time passes much slower here than it does in the rest of the universe!

Wouldn’t they want it to be the other way around?

Henry

Eric said:

Lies! Its all lies!

[…]

Ferrets were catapulted from the Ark’s landing spot across the rest of the planet via volcanic eruption! (I love that one)

[…]

That is a winner, all right. Well, on the strength of that argument I guess I have to reject my knowledgeable ways and join a fundamentalist cult as a “keith”.

Ferrets were catapulted from the Ark’s landing spot across the rest of the planet via volcanic eruption! (I love that one)

Would that explain why some ferrets have black feet?

The earth is in a black hole and so time passes much slower here than it does in the rest of the universe!

Wouldn’t they want it to be the other way around?

No, it’s the latest creationist answer to the “Starlight Problem”, the fact that light from the distant stars has every appearance of having been in been in transit for billions of years. If we’re in the middle of gigantic gravity well, and our time here runs relatively more slowly, then they can explain a 6000 year old earth inside a zillion year old universe.

This is apparently a more palatable answer than the old standard, “God just made it look that way”, which seemingly raises theological issues about the motives of a duplicitous god.

Of course, that still doesn’t explain why our earth itself looks to be billions of years old, but that’s another evasion (apparently a question for another time, which hopefully will arrive quite slowly).

Torbjörn Larsson, OM said:

Btw, I believe I once have heard that there is a direct correlation between salinity in land animals and the time when we left the seas, and the respective ages concur. Though that merits a check. But that would put yet another lower limit on Earth age.

There is an explanation http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/[…]h/may05.html why the body fluids of terrestrial vertebrates have the same salinity as the body fluids in fresh-water fish, about one third of the salinity of sea water.

I am not sure it can be used to come up with an estimate for the age of the Earth.

Regards

Eric

If we’re in the middle of gigantic gravity well, and our time here runs relatively more slowly, then they can explain a 6000 year old earth inside a zillion year old universe.

OK, with that they can rationalize ignoring cosmology and astrophysics, but not radiometric dating, plate tectonics, geological layers, or fossil ecosystems from highly different climates stacked on top of each other at the same location. I’d say they’ve still got a bit of work to do there.

Of course, that still doesn’t explain why our earth itself looks to be billions of years old,

It also doesn’t explain why the incoming starlight isn’t extremely blue shifted, as it would be if we were extremely time dilated relative to the stars. Not to mention that said starlight would then be coming in around a million times the intensity expected based on what’s known about astrophysics, in addition to being compressed into mostly gamma (or worse?) radiation. So at the risk of repeating myself, I’d say they’ve still got a bit of work to do there.

Henry

Eric Finn said:

There is an explanation http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/[…]h/may05.html why the body fluids of terrestrial vertebrates have the same salinity as the body fluids in fresh-water fish, about one third of the salinity of sea water.

I am not sure it can be used to come up with an estimate for the age of the Earth.

Eric, thanks.

I’ll admit it isn’t an independent limit, but I was thinking of how it ties biology to the salination process and sets another lower limit of age way beyond creos puny 6 ka of “history”.

Henry J said:

It also doesn’t explain why the incoming starlight isn’t extremely blue shifted, as it would be if we were extremely time dilated relative to the stars. Not to mention that said starlight would then be coming in around a million times the intensity expected based on what’s known about astrophysics, in addition to being compressed into mostly gamma (or worse?) radiation. So at the risk of repeating myself, I’d say they’ve still got a bit of work to do there.

Henry

IIRC, cdk007’s series of videos on ‘Why YEC’s Must Deny Gravity’ contains all combinations of YEC ‘explanations’, including a spherical shell of wormholes by shortcutting the distance to stars. Possibly you could ‘use’ such a shell to cut down on the intensity (by only admitting a smaller amount of light, while the rest is still on the road to fry us at the creo endtime next year or so.) Dunno if it ‘solves’ the blue shift, you would need some serious bullshit creo ‘physics’ fairy tales, and I’ll need more coffee before tackling that.

[The main problem for such a shell besides that stable wormholes can’t exist and that it is ridiculously improbable with them perfectly positioned before each and every star, is that such a shell is gravitationally instable. Why try to impose impossible physics instead of admitting that creationism means “goddidit” anyway?]

Btw, someone (probably cdk007 again) has posted an awesome youtube showing how a single nebula refutes all of yesterdays, todays and tomorrows creationist lightspeed variance models, since you can’t speed up or speed down light and get a consistent result from the observations. Can’t find it right now though.

Torbjörn Larsson, OM said:

I was thinking of how it ties biology to the salination process and sets another lower limit of age way beyond creos puny 6 ka of “history”.

Except it does not, which Erik was trying to tell me. Apparently vertebrates descend from fresh water adapted animals, so I was going from yet another old folk tale. Curious that sea fish stems from fresh water fish, but wow!

Torbjörn Larsson, OM said:

Btw, I believe I once have heard that there is a direct correlation between salinity in land animals and the time when we left the seas, and the respective ages concur. Though that merits a check. But that would put yet another lower limit on Earth age.

I think that’s an urban legend, Torbjorn.

Sea water contains salt at a concentration of about 1.3 M (obviously, it varies a bit from place to place, but this is a typical figure for ocean water). Our blood contains salt at a concentration of about 0.3 M (or about a quarter the concentration in seawater).

IIUC, marine fish have a salt concentration in their blood that is closer to ours than it is to that of seawater, so there seems to be some general advantage to possessing an internal salinity that is less than that of seawater.

Because much of evolution has occurred in the oceans (especially pre-Ordovician), it is hard to see how this could correlate in time. Surely our single-celled ancestors would have been evolving to whatever internal salt concentration was most useful, and what is to say that ours has not changed since?

henry writes…

It also doesn’t explain why the incoming starlight isn’t extremely blue shifted…

Would it be? I can’t quite get my head around this one. If we were at the bottom of the intense gravity well of a black hole and you put in some light, do we get the wavefronts at the right rate (but measure them withe wrong clock) or do they “stack up” as light itself slows down in transit.

I can see the immense blue shift for a very deep but otherwise “normal” well, but (IIUC) black holes are massive enough to significantly affect light, so I have no idea what would theoretically happen inside the event horizon. This is not my area of expertise, and it mostly makes my head hurt.

(If the energy doesn’t get down in real time, though, there’s one hell of an energy pile-up somewhere, too bad we can’t tap that.

Would it be… on further thought, I don’t know. In the case of a very deep gravity well that’s not quite a black hole, I’d expect incoming light to be extremely blue shifted when hitting a stationary object.

Inside a black hole though, to the limited extent that I understand it, there is no bottom to the gravity well (the distance to the “center” is infinite), and there’s no such thing as “stationary”. An object that wasn’t shredded on entry will continue accelerating, which would tend to red-shift the blue-shifted light, so I’m unsure what the net result would be.

Henry

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on June 27, 2008 7:41 AM.

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