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Missing Link Found Between Human Ancestors 664

Posted by Zonk
from the we-were-apes dept.
simetra writes "Researchers with a University of California, Berkeley team are now saying they have 'proof' of human evolution. Fossils have been found linking two types of pre-human species." From the article: "The remains of eight individuals found in the northeastern Afar region of Ethiopia belonged to the species Australopithecus anamensis -- part of the Australopithecus genus thought to be a direct ancestor to humans, according to a report due to be published Thursday in Nature magazine. 'The fossils are anatomically intermediate between the earlier species Ardipithecus ramidus and the later species Australopithecus afarensis,' he said."
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Missing Link Found Between Human Ancestors

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  • Naww... (Score:4, Funny)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:31PM (#15123092) Homepage Journal
    God put all those fossils there just to test us..... :-)
    • by sterno (16320) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:35PM (#15123137) Homepage
      You illuminate a good point. For the creationist folks, they'll continue to dispute this because their blind faith requires it. It's like the entropy argument. They'll say that spontaneous organization can't happen because of entropy and ignore the fact that entropy only applies to closed systems.

      It's cool that they discovered this but it won't change the debate.
      • by IAmTheDave (746256) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {ds-evademanesab}> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:45PM (#15123250) Homepage Journal
        Well, the problem is that you can't prove evolution. While this discovery certainly bridges the gap and piles on more evidence for and in favor of evolution.

        Evolution is (GASP!!!) a theory - a solid, understandable, almost indisputable theory. Think of it like a murder case. The knife, DNA, motive, etc. might certainly remove all reasonable doubt... but without a video of the event, 100% proof of the event is impossible. That's why we have "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" instead of just "proof" - because the evidence is mounted high, but it's not something that's observable in real time.

        It leaves open the door for dispute, no matter how flimsy. It's something that we have to deal with, and will have to deal with forever.
        • Well and... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sterno (16320)
          I do love that they argue that you can't proove evolution but, in this book, some guy wrote long ago that's been translated and interpreted countless times, it says God made the world in 7 days and thus it is true. There is a certain amount of faith necessary to go from theory to fact but it's a very minimal leap compared to believing in the literalness of biblical text.
          • Re:Well and... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Syberghost (10557) <syberghost@NospAM.syberghost.com> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:18PM (#15123611) Homepage
            Of course, there is a whole spectrum between "the Bible is literally true" and "there is no God".

            I've always thought one of the best portrayals of this is the musical Jesus Christ, Superstar. If you look carefully at the dynamics of the relationship between Jesus and the Apostles, Jesus is growing increasingly frustrated that the people closest to him just don't get it; so much so that he begins to lose faith himself in the path he's on, and has to seek reassurance that any of his message will survive.

            Those people who "don't get it" are the ones who wrote the New Testament. It's even worse with the Old Testament, where the documents we have now are even farther removed from what was written closer to the time of the events described, and in some cases represents written transcription of tales told by word of mouth.

            It is likely (and I'm of the opinion that God doesn't exist, but I'm setting that aside for this discussion) that everything in the Bible is simply a bunch of flawed humans trying to get their minds around stuff they didn't really understand, and then it got translated and retranslated and mistranslated and untranslated and other words I can't be arsed to make up at the moment, and doesn't represent what people actually SAW or were told at all. This is possible without being any kind of evidence for or against the existence of God.

            So, let's not confuse Creationism with Religion. The one comes from the other, but the two are not the same thing, and invalidation of the one doesn't speak to the other.
            • Re:Well and... (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Maxo-Texas (864189)
              As a one who lacks faith, I find nothing in evolutionary theory that supports or denies the existence of supernatural beings.

              For some unknown reason, a particular sect of christians has decided to pick a fight with a body of facts and conclusions about those facts (instead of wisely ignoring this non-conflict).

              Historically, when you mix faith and science- faith loses. Because you -can- measure pie is not "3", because you -can- point to measurable, duplicatable hard edged -facts-, and because the bloody ear
            • Those people who "don't get it" are the ones who wrote the New Testament.

              And you're basing this conclusion on your interpretation of 'Jesus Christ Superstar'? Wow. Just wow.
            • Re:Well and... (Score:3, Informative)

              by Jonny_eh (765306)
              What you claim about the new testament being retranslated, and transcribed over the years is true. I'll disagree with you on the point about the old testament though. The five books of Moses, which make up the most important part of the old testament, are taken directly from the Hebrew Torah. The Torah has been transcribed flawlessly, not even a letter changed, for at LEAST 2000 years. The Dead Sea scrolls contain a full copy of the Torah, and it matches the current editions that we have exactly. The method
              • Re:Well and... (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Creepy (93888)
                That, however, doesn't mean that there aren't errors in interpretation. Take the 7 day creation story - taken literally, that's 7 revolutions of the sun. Taken figuratively, that could mean any amount of time, as God had to create the sun and the earth to have any period of measurable time in the first place and he/she/it had not done so at the start of creation. Some groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses even interpret the (approximately, since it was supposed to end already) exact age of the earth base
              • Re:Well and... (Score:5, Interesting)

                by plunge (27239) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @06:57PM (#15125873)
                2000 years takes us nowhere near far enough to claim that the text is some sort of unaltered missive. Yes, we have copies from 2000 years ago. But we also have more recent copies, and we also have older copies, and the overall conclusion is that the text changed a lot. In fact, it's pretty solidly supported at this point that the Genesis story is cobbled together out of two separate creation myths. In fact, we even know these myths.

                Before Moses, people spoke of seven _generations_ of gods who created the earth, the sixth having the bright idea to create a servant (man) whom would allow the seventh generation to rest while man continued working. Other cultures spoke of the gods creating man and woman together. Others spoke of the creation of Adamah, a man made of red clay, a golem creature. And so on.

                "If it was possible for the Torah to be transcribed for 2000 years perfectly, who's to say it hasn't been transcribed perfectly since it was written?"

                Modern scholarship and an analysis of the text.
        • Evolution is (GASP!!!) a theory - a solid, understandable, almost indisputable theory.

          Gravity is also a theory. I wonder why people aren't arguing that God just will objects in place.
        • What are you on? (Score:2, Informative)

          by x2A (858210)
          "the problem is that you can't prove evolution"

          What the hell are you talking about? Evolution is a known fact, we can even see species evolving ourselves. Like that lamb that was born with six legs... there isn't a species of lamb with six legs, it parents didn't have six legs, which means that a change must have occured. This animal wasn't able to walk by itself, which means that without human help, it would die... this is the natural selection bit. An animal born with better eyes/ears that could see/hear
        • by OwnedByTwoCats (124103) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:08PM (#15123489)
          "To Prove" means different things in mathematics and in science. In mathematics a proof is absolute, eternal, and contingent on stated axioms. A theorem that has been proven is true, given that its axioms are true.

          In science, proof means "supported by evidence to such an extent that to withhold provisional assent would be perverse". Both stronger and weaker than mathematical proof; stronger in that no axioms are required, weaker because new evidence may be discovered.

          Evolution, in the sense of the 3+ Billion year history of life on earth, is as proven as any statement about the real world can be. It is incomplete, but enough of the overall shape of that history is known that some startling predictions can be, and have been, verified by finding new fossils of old creatures to fill in the gaps. This is "Evolution, the fact."

          Evolution, in the sense of the mechanisms that account for what we see in the history of life, and in ongoing behavior of living things, ranks with the standard model in physics and the periodic table in chemistry as fundamental explanations of the nature of the universe. This is "Evolution, the theory."
      • by BWJones (18351) * on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:01PM (#15123412) Homepage Journal
        For the creationist folks, they'll continue to dispute this because their blind faith requires it.

        While I am a scientist, I also believe in God, and that was partially my point in the original post, albeit glibly stated. The amazing thing about the creationists and the fundies is that there is no allowance for thought. Look, we have been given the gift of choice and the gift of intellect so that we can question and discover the wonder of the universe through science. Nothing out there says that God/Allah/Yahweh/Jehova etc...etc...etc... cannot work through science. Of course this is partially the deal that ID folks want to play up, but the problem with their perspective is that they *are* blinded by preconceived notions rather than allowing themselves the dangerous and subversive prospect of questioning and thinking for themselves.

        For my part, I don't care what people decide to believe or not as long as they don't tell me what I have/should believe. More importantly, there are fundamental issues related to education and economic development and freedom that are dependent upon having a basic understanding of how things work scientifically and mathematically. To cripple education through the agenda that the ID folks are proposing is doing a disservice to us all.

        • I'm sick and tired of the debate between "Evolution" and "Intelligent Design". It takes away vital time and resources that COULD be spent researching the true source of the Universe and all of us in it.
          I speak, of course, of The Great Green Arkleseizure
        • >To cripple education through the agenda that the ID folks are proposing is doing a disservice to us all.

          That, I think, is a key point, but the damage to education is not the worst part of it. ID is a political, not a scientific, debate based on the distribution of power, not knowledge.

          As evidence, I offer the foremost proponent of ID: Seattle's Discovery Institute (link deliberately omitted). In addition to ID, its "fellows" promote classic authoritarianism, including the virtues of torture (look up

      • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:12PM (#15123524) Journal
        One of the funnier ones that I heard was from an ex-student of mine( he was with Focus on the Family). They were doing a demonstration of Carbon Dating. So they took samples and showed that there were incorrect. One of the better ones was a knife blade from a knife that was made the previous year. When I mentioned that the dating requires the item to be from something living or once living material (such as the wooden handle of the knife), he replied that there was nothing written to indicate that, so it could not be true.

        It was good for a chuckle. But it did show me that the moral majority group was alive and well.
    • Re:Naww... (Score:5, Funny)

      by dc29A (636871) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:35PM (#15123143)
      God put all those fossils there just to test us..... :-)

      You mean the Flying Spaghetti Monster?
    • God put all those fossils there just to test us..... :-)

      But the Bible leads us to believe that God wouldn't do this. However, the sacred scriptures of the Flying Spaghetti Monster explicitly say that He does do this; therefore, FMSism is the one true religion.
    • God put YOU here to test ME! ;-)

      • Re:Naww... (Score:3, Funny)

        by BWJones (18351) *
        God put YOU here to test ME! ;-)

        If you are one of my medical or graduate students, then perhaps that statement is more true that you think. :-)

    • Re:Naww... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by OwnedByTwoCats (124103) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:13PM (#15123530)
      They didn't find a missing link. Now that they've found the fossils, they are no longer missing! Unless someone loses them. :-(

      What they have done, though, is to create two new gaps.
  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:31PM (#15123098)

    Now, I'm sure that by now my opinion regarding ID and its proponents is well-known, and I'm equally sure that the majority of the Slashdot community are in agreement, but there is one positive thing I can say about ID: it's thrown a spotlight onto the theory of evolution, and has stimulated many concerned people towards a more comprehensive understanding of the theory (as well as a more comprehensive understanding of the word 'theory' as it pertains to science). Also, it seems like there have been some major advances lately...this latest story hot on the heels of the walking fish [news.com.au] discovery, that have gone a long way towards silencing the detractors of evolution. Whether these advances are truly happening at a faster pace than in the past, or said advances are merely being perceived as such due to the increased attention evolution has been getting of late, is difficult to say...but the central point remains that the theory of evolution and the theory of ID have both been placed under the harsh light of truth, and it is ID, not evolution, that is shrivelling away.

    ID has done quite a bit of harm to the minds of young people, but by virtue of the controversy, it has also done some good. Think of it as...well...evolution in action.

    Anyway, this latest news is great....now I finally have something solid to point to when my fundie friends stick their fingers in their ears and chant 'missing link! missing link!'.

    Rationality will triumph....it's just going to take us longer than we'd like.
    • by SatanicPuppy (611928) <Satanicpuppy AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:41PM (#15123200) Journal
      I think the biggest problem is that we don't put enough emphasis in schools on the methods and criteria of analytical thought, and instead just teach fact after fact after fact. Which is more useful to know?

      If you tell someone "This is the truth" then what you get is someone who believes what he hears. If you show someone how to find the truth, what you get is someone who can make his own descision about what he is told.

      You see this every day with stupid lawsuits from people whining because they weren't told that something could be dangerous, when the ability to think rationally and apply logic to a situation should have made that obvious!
      • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:14PM (#15123546) Journal
        Ah, but what you've missed is that many humans seem not to have this capability for analytical thought you would like to teach. I'm not sure whether its been beaten out of kids by their brainless parents, or whether they were born that way, but a large proportion of the current adult population really can't think analytically at all. Moreover, it's a very hard thing to test for in a standardized way. How can you leave no child behind, if you don't have a standard by which to determine if they are behind? Facts, on the other hand, are very easy to test for.

        Put another way, offer to pose a word problem to most adults and you'll see pupils dilating in fear. Now, you and I and the rest of the "smart" people know damned well that all a word problem is is a way to test if you can actually connect phyical conditions to a static, rules based concept (typically arithmetic or algebra). It's coming up with 2+3=? instead of a teacher asking you what 2+3 is. The latter is easy, the former is more complex.

        This problem is continued at higher levels, even through the graduate degrees. During my masters work, most of the courses (in strucutral engineering) focused on applying the proper techniques to solve for stresses and stains in materials based on a set of given loads. Well, sad to say, that is the easy part of any task. I didn't have a single class that was focused on determining how to figure out what loads were actually going to be acting on the materials. And that happens to be where the real work is. I can teach a high school graduate how to find the right table and apply a simple formula to get an answer. It's much more difficult to figure out where the loads are coming from in a complex load path.

        So, yes, we need more focus on critical thought. Unfortunately, I don't see things getting better from either the political or practical side.

        • I'm not sure whether its been beaten out of kids by their brainless parents, or whether they were born that way, but a large proportion of the current adult population really can't think analytically at all.

          Come now. You suggest that the capacity to know how to think has been beaten out of children by their own parents. You mean, those same parents who send their children off to be instructed by strangers at an institution where the curriculum is determined by bureaucrats and business interests? Where they
    • Stop! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by temojen (678985) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:43PM (#15123213) Journal
      Intelligent Design is not a theory. It's not even a hypothesis. It's an assertion.
      • Intelligent Design is not a theory. It's not even a hypothesis. It's an assertion.

        Depends on who you ask. To some, it's a belief. Like me - I believe in evolution, but I still believe it is the work of an intelligent force because (say it ain't so) I'm a Christian.

        To others, however, it's cold hard fact. Like a poster said somewhere here - schools teach "fact" instead of how to reach a conclusion on ones own. It is religion that stoutly teaches from an early age that creationism is a "fact" and in

        • Re:Stop! (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ScrewMaster (602015)
          I'm guessing that you do not understand what the term "theory" means in this context. You also don't seem to understand what a "fact" means in conjuction with a "scientific hypothesis" or a "scientific theory". Oh sure, creationists attempt to redefine the terminology in order to gain a surface veneer of validity, much as the RIAA has redefined "copyright infringement" as "piracy". However, word games are about as far as creationists can (or ever will) be able to go, and at that they only manage to fool the
      • Thank you for almost getting it :-). Intelligent Design is not science, it is not a theory, it is not something testable by the scientific method. It is a proposal for a minor change in the philosophical underpinnings of modern science. The reason why it should be discussed in science classrooms is because even at the level of a highschooler, you don't want students to take the philosophical basis for what they are being taught for granted.

        The issue at stake is to teach rational and sound thought in lear
    • I don't think I really believe that ID has spurred advanced in evolutionary theory. I don't know any biologists who are doing their research because they feel compelled to prove the IDers wrong. Most of them seem to realize that for any data they come up with, the Creationist crowd will find a new way to spin it and dismiss it. The researchers do what they do because they love the subject; if anything, the ID argument is distracting them from their work.

      The argument about lots of discoveries recently is
      • I agree. Neither of these recent discoveries have in any way been motivated to happen because of ID. They both came about because of slow advances in how we search for fossil evidence and how we target where to look. No one planned out what would be found, and certainly not to respond to some provincial, largely American political fad.
    • but there is one positive thing I can say about ID: it's thrown a spotlight onto the theory of evolution, and has stimulated many concerned people towards a more comprehensive understanding of the theory

      One thing that ID proponents don't seem to realize is that they are playing with fire. They don't seem to realize that rationality is a bully, and if religious types bend at all in the face of it, then their followers might start to come up with some uncomfortable questions of their own, like "How do I know
    • I agree with what you're saying, but I have to ask... am I the only person who's been to an aquarium or seen the BBC's series "The Blue Planet?" I've known for years that lungfish and mudskippers can breathe air as well as water, and I learned from the BBC series that there are fish that walk along the bottom of the ocean.

      Why is it that these things come as such as surprise? Science has known this stuff for decades. We don't need to look for missing links - they aren't missing at all.
    • These discoveries are being blown out of proportion because of the ID thing, I think. "Proof" of human evolution? First of all, science never "proves" anything. It corroborates certain hypotheses, and rejects others, but all scientific hypotheses- evolution, the Big Bang, continental drift, whatever- are (potentially) subject to falsification. That's what makes them empirical, *scientific* hypotheses rather than logical deductions, opinions, or articles of faith.

      Second, we've had transitional fossils for

  • Oh no! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vhogemann (797994) <victor AT hogemann DOT com> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:32PM (#15123111) Homepage
    What did they do! Now we have to find four missing links to put between these they just found!

    BTW, FP?
    • > What did they do! Now we have to find four missing links to put between these they just found!

      "The fourth missing link is..."

      • Ardipithecus ramidus
      • Australopithecus anamensis
      • Australopithecus afarensis
      • CmdrTaco

    • You beat me to the punchline. You bastard! (said in the whiny Kyle voice) Now the creationists will move the goalposts once again and say, "Well what about the transitional fossils between X & Y? Where are Xa and Ya?" Repeat ad nauseum.

      The one thing interesting to note is that never, in any discussion about evolution, do any creationists/IDer ever provide any evidence to support their claims. None. Nada. Zip. They only come back and say, "Well Evolution doesn't explain [insert whatever alrea

    • Re:Oh no! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Frymaster (171343)
      What did they do! Now we have to find four missing links to put between these they just found!

      you may think it's funny, but this is exactly what creationists do. as the fossil record fills out more and more, they continue to demand finer granularity. no mater how many different stages of evolution are found, there will always be missing intermediaries.

      it's like xeno's paradox: you can never get to a certain place because you must first go half the distance, and then half the remainder, then half of that

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:34PM (#15123125)
    This is about the third story on "missing links" reported on Slashdot (and in the rest of the media) in the past week.

    The name "missing link" implies there is a problem with evolution, and this "link" solves it, when this is in fact not the case. There will always be gaps in the fossil record, and we should not call every discovery that happens to be within one of those gaps a "missing link".

    As is always said, creationists love the discovery of "missing links", since every time one is discovered, the original gap is replaced by two new ones.
    • I don't mind the term "missing link", but I would think that they would use a term, "a missing link" as opposed to "the missing link" implying that there is only one. ..and as for "proof" I would say that's too strong of a word at this early stage.. "strong evidence" would be much more appropriate.
      • There really isn't a "missing link" anymore. As plunge (27239) said in this post [slashdot.org]

        Currently we have so many [fossils] that all the basic connections are pretty clear. And when you add in genetic studies that confirm these relations, the conclusion becomes about as rock solid as can possibly be. Creationists often try to confuse the debate over how particular twigs branch with a debate over whether there even is a tree of life pattern and branching at all.

        When you don't have a factual rebuttal to factual evid

        • I should add my favorite creationist misunderstanding: the idea that one form of life should, according to evolution, "turn into" something else. i.e. that at some point, dogs should evolve into something that is not a dog. However much you breed fruit flies, they complain, all you get are fruit flies (albiet fruit flies with all sorts of different and new features, but they are STILL FRUIT FLIES!!!!)

          However, common descent implies just the opposite. Just as humans are still mammals (if you keep breeding
    • I hate to be one of those kinda peops, but please look to the AC for insight.

      Evolution's validity doesn't, and definitely shouldn't in the media, rely upon finding a fossil for every single step in the multi billion year process. At the rate we're going, in a million years they'll be digging me up and calling me "the missing link."

  • apes? (Score:5, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:35PM (#15123138)
    from the we-were-apes dept.

    Speak for yourself, Zonk. I know I was never an ape. My distant relatives are a different story...
    • Re:apes? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Theatetus (521747)
      I know I was never an ape. My distant relatives are a different story...

      Carlous Linneaus, a creationist (by default), defined humans as apes long before Darwin was born. An ape is a primate with no tail and certain other diagnostic characteristics.

  • Doesnt Really Matter (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ranton (36917)
    Anyone who in this day and age still believes that humans did not evolve will never be convinced. They are incapable of realizing they are wrong if they havent already.

    If this is a missing link, it creates 2 new ones. Instead of "what species comes between 'Ardipithecus ramidus' and 'Australopithecus afarensis'", you have both "what species comes between 'Ardipithecus ramidus' and 'Australopithecus anamensis'" and "what species comes between 'Australopithecus anamensis' and 'Australopithecus afarensis'".

    W
  • by pxuongl (758399) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:36PM (#15123150)
    click here to see what the missing link is all about...
  • by cloudkj (685320) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:37PM (#15123161)
    Now the real question is, who put those fossils there?
  • I don't get it. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cosmotron (900510) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:42PM (#15123205) Homepage Journal
    Why can't people think that God put an devolved form of life on the planet and we evolved like the Scientists say?
    • I know you were joking, but isn't a creation that is initially simple, yet is able to augment its intelligence and ability, more impressive than something that is created to perform at a static level for all time?
    • According to the Bible, God is perfect and allmighty. Would he create an imperfect model?

      He's not a programmer, after all, who needs beta testing. Considering the way the world looks, I wish he DID beta test this thing before releasing it. I doubt we'll get an update soon, and the backups are not looking too good either.

      Then again, I'd be scared to be rolled back to high school...
    • > Why can't people think that God put an devolved form of life on the planet and we evolved like the Scientists say?

      (a) Many non-vocal religious people think precisely that, but they're not the sort of people who make the news.

      (b) Many people believe that God is revealed to mankind primarily by scripture, even if they are not scriptural literalists. Scripture does not describe the creation of being which then change over time.

      It's worth noting, incidentally, that fidelity to scripture was originally a r
    • Re:I don't get it. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by molarmass192 (608071) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:39PM (#15123889) Homepage Journal
      Genesis 1:27 God created man in his own image. ... so that would imply that god is an omniprsent monkey. Zealots prefer to worship the image of an old guy with a white beard and hair, they're not so keen on worshipping Koko the signing gorilla.
  • Serious question for any evolution scientists out there: How come we're always just looking for the "missing link" for the human species? Have we found many other "missing links"?

    It seems to me that nature is full of all sorts of implausible creatures -- the stick insect, for example. Have we ever found the missing link between, say, a primordial centipede and the stick insect? Or is there a type of ancient toucan that has a beak that's not quite as big and not quite as colorful as the ones we see today? Ar
    • I'm not in that filed, but it strikes me as massively incorrect to assert that they are "just" looking for human missing links. In fact, I know that paleontologists love documenting transitional species of all sorts, and have done so time and time again. It should be no mystery as to why documenting what we know about human ancestry is of special interest and gets more press coverage.

      I work in the Space field, and think astronomy and planetary science are way cool and such, but I don't know of any more i

    • It's the anthromorphic bias that we all have. We'd generally much rather hear about humans, and how we're special than about some stupid ape somewhere.

      Oh wait, at some point evolution would have all primates descent from a single species...
    • How come we're always just looking for the "missing link" for the human species? Have we found many other "missing links"?

      Name your species -- whales, domestic dogs, cattle, modern antelope, sharks, squid, tapeworms, whatever -- and the fossil history won't be perfect but it'll be substantial. Darwin's insight was to explain the mechanism for change between one species and another -- but in terms of physical evidence, "Have we found many other 'missing links'?" is a no-brainer, because even back then the

  • Hemos, the missing link, even had a birthday [slashdot.org] recently. So....why look any further?
  • Why is the summary placing the word proof in single quotes? Did the definition change while I wasn't looking?
  • It is clear that the link to this article is not missing.

    - Andrew
  • What exaclty were these specimens comprised of? TFA does not say. Are we talking about full skeletons, partial skeletons, limbs, bones, chips, or coprolites?
  • Think of it. It would have never happened if Q didn't hard convinced Picard to close that transtemporal abnormality.
  • Well, ok, there are some... I mean, they really look ... umm...

    But the flood existed! It did, the book tells you it did and you have NO proof that it didn't. Ha! Evolution? Who cares? But the flood, the flood!

    In other words, as soon as you prove one thing wrong, they'll start riding the next. Same thing that happend to the flat Earth or the sun rotating around it.
  • "Da, Gee Fred, It dosen't look good for us?" B. Rubble
  • I sit right next to her...a cross between Milton (office space) and Richard Stallman. Enough to convince me.
  • I wonder how many of these fossils the church has successfully had destroyed in the past.. do creationist types become archeologists? would seem like a waste of time, since the world is only 6000 years old and all..
  • You don't need to go digging for million year old fossils to know that evolution is a fact. It happens. We see it around us constantly.

    We have sped up evolution for our own purposes: selective breeding.
    We have slowed it down for our own purposes: again, selective breeding.
    We have seen species develop into "other thans" in the last 200 years.

    So, I ask, with all humility, why the hell are we still trying to find evidence of evolution when we already have it?

  • by amightywind (691887) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:06PM (#15123469) Journal

    Here [si.edu] is a nice diagram that gives some context to the finds. "Missing Link" is hype and "Proof of Evolution" is very misleading. But the diagram is an amazing summary and speaks for itself.

  • by bwintx (813768) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:23PM (#15123690)
    Whenever the subject of bird flu comes up, ask your nearest fundies whether they're worried about it coming to [wherever you are]. Then, ask why. Then, point out that, unless they typically handle strange birds that fly into their yards or are poultry workers, they can't get bird flu -- unless it mutates to a form that can be transmitted from human to human. They've heard that often enough, they probably won't even argue -- until you explain that mutation is part of evolution [howstuffworks.com]. Therefore: if they're afraid of getting bird flu...

    (They won't concede the point, of course, but it's fun to watch them backpedal, spin, skid, etc.)

  • by balaam's ass (678743) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:38PM (#15123875) Journal
    Laying aside the whole evolution/creationism/design thing, the language used by these archaelogists is a big red flag.

    Count the number of times they use language like "proved", and also words like "for the first time", "unambiguous", "It is the only place in the world", ..."We have proved that one (species) is transforming into the other" [--- how did they manage to prove THAT, without even any mention of how the fossils were dated?]

    This is not the language of careful scientists. These are people touting themselves, their research and their region in spectacular ways. It is grandstanding. It may be that the results are valid, but I think we have every right to be skeptical until other scientists weigh in.

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