Dmanisi fossils – more transitional than ever

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The site of Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia has produced four superb hominid skulls ranging in size from 600 cm3 to 780 cm3. These sizes range from the lower end of Homo erectus downwards into the Homo habilis range. The fossils contain a mixture of anatomical features from erectus and habilis. They could arguably be considered to belong either to primitive H. erectus (or H. ergaster), or to a new species, Homo georgicus. Vekua et al 2002 concluded:

The Dmanisi hominids are among the most primitive individuals so far attributed to H. erectus or to any species that is indisputably Homo, and it can be argued that this population is closely related to Homo habilis (sensu stricto) as known from Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, Koobi Fora in northern Kenya, and possibly Hadar in Ethiopia.

These skulls are intermediate in both anatomy and size between Homo erectus and H. habilis, and as a result are exceedingly difficult for creationists to classify. Creationists therefore either ignored them (the usual reaction), or were forced into the absurdity of claiming that the biggest skull is human but the smallest two are apes (Lubenow 2004), or the almost equally implausible suggestion that all of them are human (Line 2005).

In 2007, further light was thrown on the Dmanisi hominids with the announcement that a substantial number of bones from below the skull had been discovered (Lordkipanidze et al 2007). These included a right femur, tibia and kneecap (the most complete known lower limb of early Homo); an ankle bone, part of a shoulder blade, three collar bones, three upper arm bones, five vertebrae, and a few other small bones. Some of these bones were associated with some of the previously discovered skulls.

Analysis of the bones shows that the Dmanisi hominids definitely walked bipedally and upright. However, the bones show a number of differences from modern humans and have some features associated with Homo habilis. The upper body differences lead the authors to suggest, with some caution, that “the Dmanisi hominins would have had a more australopith-like than human-like upper limb morphology”.

Their final conclusion was:

Lordkipanidze et al 2007 Wrote:

The following preliminary conclusions can be drawn: the morphology of the upper and lower limbs from Dmanisi exhibits a mosaic of traits reflecting both selection for improved terrestrial locomotor performance and the retention of primitive characters absent in later hominins. The length and morphology of the hindlimb is essentially modern, and the presence of an adducted hallux and plantar arch indicate that the salient aspects of performance in the leg and foot, such as biomechanical efficiency during long-range walking and energy storage/return during running, were equivalent to modern humans. However, plesiomorphic features such as a more medial orientation of the foot, absence of humeral torsion, small body size and low encephalization quotient suggest that the Dmanisi hominins are postcranially largely comparable to earliest Homo (cf. H. habilis). Hence, the first hominin species currently known from outside Africa did not possess the full suite of derived locomotor traits apparent in African H. erectus and later hominins.

To sum up, these new bones just make the Dmanisi hominids look more transitional than ever. They were clearly most of the way towards modern human posture and locomotion, but weren’t completely there yet:

Gibbons 2007 Wrote:

The bones are so primitive that a few researchers aren’t even sure they are members of Homo. “They are truly transitional forms that are neither archaic hominins nor unambiguous members of our own genus,” says paleoanthropologist Bernard Wood…

One creationist who has discussed the Dmanisi postcranial fossils is Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute, in a web article Human Origins Update: Harvard Scientist and New York Times Reporter Get the “Plug Evolution Memo”…Sort of. (Luskin’s article was addressed at the time by blog articles by Mike Dunford and Afarensis.)

Luskin concludes that the upper body and skull of the Dmanisi fossils are very apelike and that any claim for transitional status rests only upon the supposed humanness of the legs, so he goes to work to discredit that claim:

Luskin Wrote:

Yet these leg and foot bones in many respects resemble modern apes as much as they resemble modern humans. I cannot be faulted for being skeptical of the claim that these species were necessarily evolving towards modern humans.

So what are these supposed respects in which the bones resemble apes as much as humans? Here are two of them:

Luskin Wrote:

According to the Figure 3 in the Nature report, the femoral length is like that of a human or a gorilla (Fig. 3b). … Figure 3 also reports the length of an arm bone, as the humeral length resembles that of a human or perhaps a chimp (Fig. 3b).

These statements are correct as far as they go, but that isn’t very far. Figure 3b was a graph which compared femoral length with humeral length for a number of fossils and species. This particular comparison distinguishes humans from chimps from gorillas from orangs very effectively. Guess what - the Dmanisi fossil falls smack in the middle of the human range:

figure3b.jpg

Figure 3b. Legend: Star: Dmanisi hominid; Z: recent Homo sapiens; Y: gorillas; +: chimpanzees; squares: orang-utans.

It’s quite clear from this graph that the humeral and femoral lengths together strongly support the claim that the Dmanisi leg bones are humanlike. To claim that these measurements are as much evidence of apelike characteristics as humanlike ones is blatantly dishonest.

Another graph, figure 3c, which compares femoral length with tibial length, also shows the Dmanisi fossil in the middle of the human cluster. However, it is also in the middle of the gorilla cluster. This comparison doesn’t differentiate humans from gorillas, but it’s quite clear from the size and anatomy of Dmanisi that it’s nothing like a gorilla, and figure 3c does clearly differentiate Dmanisi from chimps and orangs, both of which are more comparable to it in size. So on balance, this graph also shows Dmanisi to be more humanlike than apelike.

The third graph, figure 3a, compares the tibial length with a tibial width (the tibial mediolateral distal width, to be precise). This time, there is an apelike characteristic: the tibial width could match just about anything (humans, chimps, gorillas or orangs), but the tibial length is too short for a human, matches a gorilla, and is too long for chimps or orangs. But wait a minute - wasn’t tibial length also measured in graph 3c? So it was, and there it fell in the human range, so how can it fall outside of it now? It turns out figure 3a is erroneous - Table 1 on the previous page says that human tibial lengths range from 290 to 374 mm, but that’s not the range shown in figure 3a. So, the one attribute from these graphs that did look unambiguously apelike rather than humanlike turns out to be a mistake. And, for once, it’s not even Luskin’s fault.

figure3a.jpg

Figure 3a. Legend: Star: Dmanisi hominid; Z: recent Homo sapiens; Y: gorillas; +: chimpanzees; squares: orang-utans.

Luskin made another mistake when he said that the tibial width matched that of a bonobo. Luskin appears to think that the Pongo pygmaeus referred to in the graphs is the bonobo. Might I suggest that people who don’t know that Pongo pygmaeus is the formal name for the orang-utan should probably not be trying to critique scientific papers on human evolution?

Luskin’s claim that the foot bones resemble modern apes as much as modern humans is also a misrepresentation. Lordkipanidze et al 2007 has a long paragraph on the foot bones which mentions only one minor apelike characteristic, the angle of a groove for a tendon which is “slightly oblique” compared to the “more vertical orientation” of humans.

But Luskin’s counting of ape vs. human characteristics mentioned in the paper would be of little value even if he had not misrepresented them. The shape, or morphology, of bones is far more complex than can be conveyed by a few lengths. And we know that the leg bones of the Dmanisi hominids are overall very humanlike, because Lordkipanidze et al tell us so very plainly in their conclusion:

Lordkipanidze et al 2007 Wrote:

The length and morphology of the hindlimb is essentially modern, and the presence of an adducted hallux and plantar arch indicate that the salient aspects of performance in the leg and foot, such as biomechanical efficiency during long-range walking and energy storage/return durring running, were equivalent to modern humans.

That’s confirmed by leading paleoanthropologist Erik Trinkaus, quoted by National Geographic:

What is clear is that the overall anatomy is primarily for walking on the ground.

There are a few other reasons why Luskin’s insinuation that the Dmanisi hominids are apes won’t fly. Although Luskin dismisses the skulls by saying only that they are small, hence like habilis, hence apelike, the skulls have many similarities with those of Homo erectus, enough to have been originally allocated to that species (Vekua et al 2002). The smallest Dmanisi skull is indeed very small (600 cm3), but the biggest one, at 780 cm3, is larger than any ape, and much larger than any ape of comparable size. The Dmanisi hominids also made stone tools (Gabunia et al 2000). So if these are apes, as Luskin wishes to imply, they are apes that walked bipedally, made tools, and had skulls very similar in both size and shape to Homo erectus. That sure makes them transitional in my book!

Luskin has one final attack to make against the Dmanisi hominids:

Luskin Wrote:

Finally, according to the currently reported data, these new fossils can’t be transitional between the Australopithecines and the genus Homo. The new fossil finds were dated at 1.77 million years. Yet Homo erectus itself has been dated at 1.9 million years of age, a point conceded by Lieberman’s article. Thus, it is impossible that these fossils themselves were actually transitional between the Australopithecines and Homo erectus. (bold in original)

It is true that the Dmanisi fossils are a little younger than the oldest H. erectus fossils, but that only means those particular individuals can’t be the ancestor of the older erectus fossils. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t anatomically transitional, and it doesn’t mean that earlier members of their population couldn’t be ancestral to H. erectus. The Dmanisi hominids didn’t live at only a single point in space and time. They mostly likely existed for hundreds of thousands of years.

The first half of Luskin’s article isn’t specifically about Dmanisi. In it, Luskin compares quotes from commentators and tries to whip up imagined contradictions into a half-serious fantasy about how scientists are supposedly sending each other memos about plugging evolution to the public. Here is one of the pieces of evidence Luskin provides to support his conspiracy theories. Read it and laugh:

Luskin Wrote:

NY Times’ reporter John Noble Wilford’s reversal in rhetoric is even more striking. Keep in mind that he originally reported that “Other paleontologists and experts in human evolution said the discovery [an earlier one] strongly suggested that the early transition from more apelike to more humanlike ancestors was still poorly understood.” But consider the highly different tune sung by his most recent article: “Other paleoanthropologists said the discovery could lead to breakthroughs in the critical evolutionary period in which some members of Australopithecus, the genus made famous by the Lucy skeleton, made the transition to Homo.” Apparently last month, “other paleontologists” said human evolution was “poorly understood” and now the “other paleontologists” are finding “breakthroughs in the critical evolutionary period.” What a difference a month makes! I think Wilford got the memo.

So, because “other paleontologists” said that human evolution was poorly understood (actually they didn’t, if you read carefully), and a month later “other paleontologists” (not necessarily the same ones) talked about “finding breakthroughs” (again, they didn’t, if you read carefully) we’re supposed to be impressed? This is just delusional. There is nothing remotely contradictory about saying that a new discovery might provide new information about something that is currently not well understood. Nor are either of Wilford’s statements “rhetoric”; they’re factual reporting of non-sensational statements from experts. “rhetoric” far better describes Luskin’s writing, which distorts everything it touches.

When scientists say things like “the early transition from apes to humans is poorly understood”, that might mean that we don’t know over what area the transition happened, when and at what speed it happened, the order of anatomical changes, the range of variation throughout the process, and the causes of the transition. Even superb fossils like Dmanisi can only illuminate one point in a complex process. Saying that something is “poorly understood” is not a crushing admission about the lack of evidence for evolution, it’s just being honest - hominid fossils between 2 and 3 million years ago are especially rare, and we really don’t know a lot about what was going on then.

What we do know is that the Dmanisi hominids lived 1.8 million years ago, that they looked very transitional, and that creationists can’t handle them.

References

Gabunia L., Vekua A., Swisher C.C., III, Ferring R., Justus A., Nioradze M. et al. (2000): Earliest Pleistocene hominid cranial remains from Dmanisi, Republic of Georgia: taxonomy, geological setting, and age. Science, 288:1019-25.

Gibbons, A. (2007): A new body of evidence fleshes out Homo erectus. Science, 317:1664.

Lieberman D.E. (2007): Homing in on early Homo. Nature 449:291-292.

Line, P.: Fossil evidence for alleged apemen, Technical Journal 19(1):22-42, 2005.

Lordkipanidze, D., Jashashvili, T., Vekua, A., Ponce de Leon, M. S., Zollikofer, C. P., Rightmire, G. P. et al. (2007): Postcranial evidence from early Homo from Dmanisi, Georgia. Nature, 449:305-310.

Lubenow M.L.: Bones of contention (2nd edition): a creationist assessment of human fossils, Grand Rapids,MI:Baker Books, 2004.

Vekua A., Lordkipanidze D., Rightmire G.P., Agusti J., Ferring R., Maisuradze G. et al. (2002): A new skull of early Homo from Dmanisi, Georgia. Science, 297:85-9.

39 Comments

Those aren’t transitional fossils. The fossils say no. They always say no, no matter what they actually say. So you should just say no, too. If reality bothers you, try shutting your lyin’ eyes before you say it, and that way you won’t see Satan’s work at all. If that doesn’t work, try saying oogabooga instead. I do, and find that it saves a great deal of stress. (/channeling Casey Luskin and the Creationist Chorale)

Why can’t any creationist understand the difference between “transitional” and “intermediate”? If humans came from chimpanzees, why are there still chimpanzees??? Gee, no real biologist ever thought of that!

Saw the remake of Planet of the Apes this weekend. Now that is real evidence for the theory of evolution!

This is so cool that I’m going to go out and try to find a creationist in a bar or something to argue with.

Wait. It’s election eve. I’ll save this one for Wend.

Loved the description of the new transitional fossils. However, it occurred to me to ask (given Luskin’s blithering), “how does the transitional nature of these fossils argue against ID?”

Could it be that IDists in general, and Luskin in particular, are really just closet creationists?

Oh, I just had to ask: Does Ann Gibbons get a lot of grief for her name from fellow paleoanthropologists? Kind of like having the name “Stone” for a geologist or “Fish” for an oceanographer (which in fact, is the name of an early oceanographer at the URI’s Grad School of Oceanography).

GvlGeologist, FCD said:

Loved the description of the new transitional fossils. However, it occurred to me to ask (given Luskin’s blithering), “how does the transitional nature of these fossils argue against ID?”

Could it be that IDists in general, and Luskin in particular, are really just closet creationists?

Oh, I just had to ask: Does Ann Gibbons get a lot of grief for her name from fellow paleoanthropologists? Kind of like having the name “Stone” for a geologist or “Fish” for an oceanographer (which in fact, is the name of an early oceanographer at the URI’s Grad School of Oceanography).

No. She is very polite, well-educated, and liked. I never heard anyone make a mention of it in any context, even though the pun is obvious.

Dave Luckett Wrote:

The fossils say no. They always say no, no matter what they actually say.

What’s most interesting to me is that when anti-evolutionists assert that the fossils say “no”, they conveniently ignore how one of their own (Michael Behe) asserted that the fossils don’t say anything for or against evolution. Funny how they don’t “critically analyze” each other, but grasp for any argument to discredit evolution, however bogus or inconsistent. Why don’t they just come out and say that creationism/ID is simply not science, but a political movement? Oh wait, Ben Stein already did.

Saw the remake of Planet of the Apes this weekend. Now that is real evidence for the theory of evolution!

Having seen both versions of the film I preferred the original, especially the ending:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Cmw6Jne0tAQ

my son likes it as well and keeps asking when it’s going to be on TV again !

Still, it’ll be interesting to see how other YECs classify these fossils. I’m sure AiG’s Dr. Menton (their resident expert on these matters) is penning something as we speak. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s “just another ape”, in similar vein to “Lucy-she’s no lady”:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/med[…]mand#listTop

Peter Henderson said: I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s “just another ape”, in similar vein to “Lucy-she’s no lady”:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/med[…]mand#listTop

I think Jim already has the appropriate counter-response to that: if you want to call it an ape, fine, be our guest…its an ape that walked upright, made tools, and had a big human-like head. Exactly what part of ‘transitional’ do you not understand?

eric said:

Peter Henderson said: I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s “just another ape”, in similar vein to “Lucy-she’s no lady”:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/med[…]mand#listTop

I think Jim already has the appropriate counter-response to that: if you want to call it an ape, fine, be our guest…its an ape that walked upright, made tools, and had a big human-like head. Exactly what part of ‘transitional’ do you not understand?

Eric: I’m being facetious ! I’m only assuming AiG will come up with something like this in a few days time.

Peter Henderson said:

Eric: I’m being facetious ! I’m only assuming AiG will come up with something like this in a few days time.

Ah, the ‘you’ in my last question was directed at the hypothetical AiGer, not you Peter. Sorry I wasn’t clearer.

And while you may have been jesting, I think you’re essentially right right about AiG coming up with something. Taking potshots at what other people do is what counts as “research” in creationists circles.

Hi Dave et al.,

Am wondering whether there are indeed any signs of long-term morphological stasis in early Homo populations. Haven’t read of any in the literature, but I would like to think that they do indeed exist.

Regards,

John

About whether there are “any signs of long-term morphological stasis in early Homo populations”: I don’t think we have nearly enough fossils to even begin to start talking about stasis in early Homo populations.

Ann Gibbons, by the way, is a staff writer for the journal Science, not a paleoanthropologist, though she does write most of their paleoanthropology commentaries.

why are there no transitional forms now?

oh sorry, why are there no intermediate forms now?

silly me I thought the scientific method had something about observation in it.

marv levi said:

oh sorry, why are there no intermediate forms now?

Everything that is alive,or was alive in the past, is either a transitional form or a dead end. You, assuming you have, or will have, children are transitional between what your ancestors were and what your descendants will be.

marv levi said:

silly me I thought the scientific method had something about observation in it.

Indeed it does, and if you read the papers you’ll find lots of observations, which I’ve summarized above.

marv levi said:

why are there no transitional forms now?

So, then please explain why extensive documentation of the pedigrees of breeds and breeding of both domesticated animals and cultivated plants do not count as “transitional” or “intermediate forms”

ill ask again- why are there no intermediate forms? if evolution were true we should see countless species making observable attempts to become something more. Everything that is alive is not a transitional form. There should be countless “jumpers” in all species yet despite 7 billion humans on earth right now, far more than ever, there is not one jumper. This holds true in all species. Trillions of species all exactly as they were for centuries.

Only one problem: there are transitional aka intermediate forms.

Did you not know this? I too was misled by creationists who denied Gods Creation.

marv levi said:

ill ask again- why are there no intermediate forms? if evolution were true we should see countless species making observable attempts to become something more. Everything that is alive is not a transitional form. There should be countless “jumpers” in all species yet despite 7 billion humans on earth right now, far more than ever, there is not one jumper. This holds true in all species. Trillions of species all exactly as they were for centuries.

Please explain why you have ignored all of the answers already provided to you.

marv levi said:

ill ask again- why are there no intermediate forms? if evolution were true we should see countless species making observable attempts to become something more. Everything that is alive is not a transitional form. There should be countless “jumpers” in all species yet despite 7 billion humans on earth right now, far more than ever, there is not one jumper. This holds true in all species. Trillions of species all exactly as they were for centuries.

And besides ignoring what everyone has said in response to your question, please explain why you claim there are no “intermediate forms” even though numerous living and fossil lineages of organisms are known with the forms of the species within these lineages grading into each other from one end of the lineage to the other, or even why very primitive birds such as Archaeopteryx Sapeornis or Ichthyornis or Shuuvia have many features inherent in dinosaurs, including fingers, talons, and teeth.

marv levi said:

ill ask again- why are there no intermediate forms? if evolution were true we should see countless species making observable attempts to become something more. Everything that is alive is not a transitional form. There should be countless “jumpers” in all species yet despite 7 billion humans on earth right now, far more than ever, there is not one jumper. This holds true in all species. Trillions of species all exactly as they were for centuries.

marv levi said:

ill ask again- why are there no intermediate forms?

There are, all over the place. What do you think a lungfish is? A flying (really gliding) squirrel or fish? Amphibians - hmm, they lay their eggs in the water like fish, live as fish, then become pseudo land-dwelling. Sounds pretty intermediate to me.

if evolution were true we should see countless species making observable attempts to become something more.

Wrong. Species do not change via will, but by descent with modification. You are different than your parents. Did you will this to be? Of course not. This question reveals an ignorance of the basics of evolutionary theory, which is probably why you are so confused. Go check out the Talkorigins FAQ.

Everything that is alive is not a transitional form.

Why not?

There should be countless “jumpers” in all species yet despite 7 billion humans on earth right now, far more than ever, there is not one jumper. This holds true in all species. Trillions of species all exactly as they were for centuries.

That isn’t remotely true. Species change all the time.

And what in the world is a “jumper”?

marv levi said:

ill ask again- why are there no intermediate forms? if evolution were true we should see countless species making observable attempts to become something more.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! There is nothing at all like this in Evolutionary theory. No organism or species is trying to evolve. There are no goals in evolution. This is a common and fundamental misunderstanding of the theory. Consider flying squirrels. They are actually gliders, not fliers. Are they intermediate between nongliding and true flight? It is conceivable that a population somewhere could evolve adaptations that allow for extended glides, more controlled glides, muscle assisted glides, etc all the way to true powered flight. Maybe. If all the intermediate steps are advantageous in their own right, or at least not selected against. But the squirrels aren’t trying to evolve flight. Their future evolution may well take a completely different path. Gliding evolved because it was beneficial to the squirrels by itself, not as part of an attempt to reach some goal.

Everything that is alive is not a transitional form.

Wrong again. Everything alive that leaves descendants is intermediate between it’s ancestors and it’s descendants.

There should be countless “jumpers” in all species yet despite 7 billion humans on earth right now, far more than ever, there is not one jumper. This holds true in all species. Trillions of species all exactly as they were for centuries.

“Jumpers”? Where did you get that? Anyway, it has nothing to do with evolution as scientists understand it. If you are going to debate evolution, you should first understand it. You wouldn’t go to a physics website and debate Quantum Theory armed only with what you learned in high school would you? The TalkOrigins site mentioned above is a good place to start as is this site. In all seriousness, if you really want to understand evolution and want to talk about it in good faith (oddly rare in creationists) check out that site, read a couple books on the subject (from the science side) and come back here with your questions.

marv levi said:

ill ask again- why are there no intermediate forms? if evolution were true we should see countless species making observable attempts to become something more. Everything that is alive is not a transitional form. There should be countless “jumpers” in all species yet despite 7 billion humans on earth right now, far more than ever, there is not one jumper. This holds true in all species. Trillions of species all exactly as they were for centuries.

I think that this show the root cause of the whole evolution vs. creationism problem. This guy has absolutely no clue what the theory of evolution actually says, so he is arguing against the version of it he learnt in Sunday school.

In my opinion, one of the main problems is that people don’t learn the basics in school, so instead they think that evolution means “the tough survive”. Until people actually get taught the theory, you’ll continue to get questions like “why are there still monkeys?”

Also, if mammals came from reptiles, why are there still reptiles?

If reptiles came from amphibians, why…

If amphibians came from fish, why…

Etc.

marv levi, re your claim that there are no intermediate forms: could you please describe what you would accept as transitional form? What features would you be looking for? Something with a mixture of characteristics from an earlier and a later species? If not that, what? Or, what do you think the Dmanisi fossils are, if they’re not transitional? At the moment your statements are so vague as to be meaningless.

JimF said:

marv levi, re your claim that there are no intermediate forms: could you please describe what you would accept as transitional form? What features would you be looking for? Something with a mixture of characteristics from an earlier and a later species? If not that, what? Or, what do you think the Dmanisi fossils are, if they’re not transitional? At the moment your statements are so vague as to be meaningless.

No doubt he’s looking for crocoducks and catodogs.

Henry J said:

Also, if mammals came from reptiles, why are there still reptiles?

If reptiles came from amphibians, why…

If amphibians came from fish, why…

Etc.

The whole population of a species doesn’t evolve at once. Isolated populations speciate and distinguish themselves genetically from each other. If the original population is still adapted, it will avoid extinction.

I’m other words, your grandparents don’t explode the moment you were born. Back in the Devonian, Tiktaalik was taking to land. Its relatives in the deep sea and shorelines were still doing fine in their environmental niche.

You understand this, I understand this, but, the thing is Creationists and Intelligent Design proponents refuse to understand this and are trying their damnedest to keep anyone else from understanding this.

Dinosaur Teacher said:

The whole population of a species doesn’t evolve at once. Isolated populations speciate and distinguish themselves genetically from each other. If the original population is still adapted, it will avoid extinction.

I’m other words, your grandparents don’t explode the moment you were born. Back in the Devonian, Tiktaalik was taking to land. Its relatives in the deep sea and shorelines were still doing fine in their environmental niche.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! There is nothing at all like this in Evolutionary theory. No organism or species is trying to evolve. There are no goals in evolution.

… there are no goals?? is not survival the goal of a species and out reproducing its competitors?

No. It’s not a goal. It’s an outcome of the process. Please educate yourself.

fnxtr said:

No. It’s not a goal. It’s an outcome of the process. Please educate yourself.

Please go to school. The goal of all organisms is to survive. It is progammed into their behaviour. Look up ‘survival of the fitest’. All animals without a desire to survive would have not outlived those that had that desire. Basic evolutionary theory. Read about it. Very interesting.

Everything that is alive,or was alive in the past, is either a transitional form or a dead end

…then why was Darwin so concerned with what he perceived as the sparsity of transitionals?

TGB said:

…then why was Darwin so concerned with what he perceived as the sparsity of transitionals?

Perhaps because he was writing over 150 years ago? And yet,even without all the lovely transitional fossils, or the evidence from analysis of DNA etc, that we now have, he still got it. Unlike jobbie the blithering booby.

Also, if mammals came from reptiles, why are there still reptiles?

If reptiles came from amphibians, why…

If amphibians came from fish, why…

I always reply “Most Americans came from Europeans. Why are there still Europeans?”

TGB said:

fnxtr said:

No. It’s not a goal. It’s an outcome of the process. Please educate yourself.

Please go to school. The goal of all organisms is to survive. It is progammed into their behaviour. Look up ‘survival of the fitest’. All animals without a desire to survive would have not outlived those that had that desire. Basic evolutionary theory. Read about it. Very interesting.

Sigh.

Where do you think the “programmed behaviour” came from? Did animals decide to have this “programmed behaviour”? Or maybe God gave it to them?

The reproductive drive is a successful adaptation. It wasn’t a goal, it was an outcome of the process.

Animals don’t know they’re insuring the survival of their species anyway. They just get horny because that’s how they evolved. And you have conflated survival of the individual – flight or flight – with the survival of the species.

Frank J said:

Dave Luckett Wrote:

The fossils say no. They always say no, no matter what they actually say.

What’s most interesting to me is that when anti-evolutionists assert that the fossils say “no”, they conveniently ignore how one of their own (Michael Behe) asserted that the fossils don’t say anything for or against evolution. Funny how they don’t “critically analyze” each other, but grasp for any argument to discredit evolution, however bogus or inconsistent. Why don’t they just come out and say that creationism/ID is simply not science, but a political movement? Oh wait, Ben Stein already did.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Nicely done! I saw ‘Expelled’too and concluded Ben ought to stick to money management. What a cast of pseudo-science reprobates—not an honest, non-self-promoting thinker in the bunch. PS: Sorry. I don’t like doing ad hominem broadsides very much but I made an exception in this case. Great Darwin’s Ghost! They are an irritating gang of obfuscators.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim Foley published on November 3, 2008 10:00 PM.

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