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Evidence of the Missing Link Found? 571

HUADPE writes to tell us CNN is reporting that scientists in northeastern Ethiopia recently discovered a skull that they think may be evidence of the "missing link" between Homo erectus and modern man. From the article: "The hominid cranium -- found in two pieces and believed to be between 500,000 and 250,000 years old -- 'comes from a very significant period and is very close to the appearance of the anatomically modern human,' said Sileshi Semaw, director of the Gona Paleoanthropological Research Project in Ethiopia."
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Evidence of the Missing Link Found?

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  • Obviously (Score:5, Funny)

    by ubersonic ( 943362 ) * on Sunday March 26, 2006 @07:32AM (#14997472) Homepage Journal
    the flying spaghetti monster burried it there!

    oO
  • by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @07:33AM (#14997474) Journal
    Hey, I think I need that and a Ball of Everlasting Golem for war epic 1.0. Oh, wait...
  • Really. Who cares. There's no teaching those people. Saw off the coasts and let the middle rot.

    We should be interested in what these things discoveries can teach us. We should absolutely not be interested in trying to convince people who are unwilling to be convinced that this is just a link in a longer chain.

    Evolution is at work. We leave them to themselves and we'll stick to ourselves, and in another 250,000 years we can eat them as either game or domesticated farm animals. God knows we don't have t
    • Now, now. The Institute for Creation Research [icr.org] has its headquarters and a museum in Santee, California, which looks like suburban San Diego. The El Tejon school district north of LA also was in the news for a "Philosophy of Design" course a minister's wife had planned to teach. The Discovery Institute's headquarters [discovery.org] are in Seattle (the Discovery Institute is a big supporter of Intelligent Design). There have been school districts in Oregon and Washington which have also wanted to teach Intelligent Design.

      I

    • Explaining evolution to a fundamentalist bible literalist is like trying to convert an Afghani Muslim to Christianity, it'll never happen.
      -Abdul Rahman
    • by Tsar ( 536185 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @01:40PM (#14998688) Homepage Journal
      A writer promotes the isolation and eventual hunting and eating of a huge fraction of a country's population, based solely on their beliefs, which he sees as evidence of hopeless intellectual inferiority. His statements receive overwhelming agreement from the forum in which he is published.

      How is this viewpoint is morally superior to those which wrought genocides in Biafra, Croatia, Nigeria, Rwanda, East Timor and dozens of other places in our lifetimes? Are we really so willfully ignorant that we believe all these atrocities didn't start this way? So filled with hubris that we believe America (or our intelligencia, which has itself been targeted in other times and places) incapable of such virulent hatred?

      If you still aren't taking me seriously, consider this: Orthodox Judaism posits a literal six-day Creation. If the writer had singled out this group instead of attacking all Genesis believers and the geographic region which he believes contains them, would any of us have called his diatribe anything but hate speech of the most vitriolic and unconscionable sort?

      Please read the parent post again, examine its +5 Insightful score, and tell me how far removed we are from that mindset. And please be intellectually honest; if you plan to claim that BadAnalogyGuy [slashdot.org] was only trying to be funny, or that the moderators were only moderating ironically, please provide supporting evidence.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 26, 2006 @07:36AM (#14997482)
    "...between 500,000 and 250,000 years old..."

    9 comments and there no "Earth os only 6,000 years old" comments yet. It's a good day.
  • by KingSkippus ( 799657 ) * on Sunday March 26, 2006 @07:47AM (#14997503) Homepage Journal

    Cue evolution vs. creationism debate in 5... 4... 3... 2...

    Seriously, I almost dread stories like this for a couple of reasons:

    - Talking about "missing links" puts the idea in creationists' minds that the evolution from apes to man took place in discrete steps, and that the fact that such "missing links" exist is proof that the Theory of Evolution is still just a hunch unsupported by proof. The fact is that the evolution from apes to man is a continuum, and there are a lot of fossils [talkorigins.org] from lots of time periods along that continuum.

    - Because this discovery is relatively recent, there's a chance that it still may turn out to be something other than what this article purports it to be. The real research is just starting. If it turns out that it's for real, it will be valuable insight into our species's evolution, though creationists will still refuse to believe it. If it turns out to not be an intermediary between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens, the creationists will accuse the scientists of everything from fabricating evidence to trying to pull a hoax as part of some weird conspiracy. The irony is that if it is discovered that this fossil is not the intermediary that it is suspected to be, it is scientists who will determine that, and unlike creationists who have a nasty habit of wanting to dismiss or even repress evidence, those scientists will let us know as soon as they find any inconsistencies, and the data will be there in the open for us to evaulate and form our own opinions.

    I still say that this is the true test for whether a creationist can actually be open-minded or not. Ask them this one question:

    What piece or pieces of evidence will it take to convince you that the Theory of Evolution is, in fact, true and that creationism is not?

    If the answer is "None," as it is with almost every creationist I've ever met, then don't bother wasting your time arguing with them. Nothing you say will ever convince them, as they have deliberately closed themselves off to any kind of rational conclusion based on reality instead of blind faith.

    The nice thing about the question is that it's not a double standard. There are several things that would convince me that creationism is true and not evolution. The most obvious would be if God came and spoke to me in a burning bush. I know that sounds facetious, but it's really not; that really would do it. Or, if compelling scientific evidence were to arise that evolution is a crock, such as discovery of a natural chimera skeleton. These are just a couple of examples, I'm sure there are many more.

    I'm always amused at creationists who think that scientists are in some kind of dark conspiracy to push "the agenda" of evolution. What they don't realize is that if a scientist could discover some piece of incontrovertible proof that the Theory of Evolution is all just a bunch of hooey, he would undoubtedly be one of the most famous people in the world, winning all sorts of Nobel Prizes and recognition in his field. Proving the Theory of Evolution wrong would be one of the greatest, not notorious, scientific finds ever, on the level of Michaelson-Morley experiment [wikipedia.org] that proved that there is no aether and set the stage for Einstein's Theory of Relativity, and you'd better believe that any decent scientists would kill to disprove the Theory of Evolution.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      "The fact is that the evolution from apes to man is a continuum,"

      Sure, but you should be careful. Saying it that way is a bit confusing too. It is a *branching* continuum. To say "from apes to man" is as much an oversimplification of the situation as saying a tree looks like a single stick. Life diversifies and spreads out during biological evolution, and extinction prunes the tree along the way. Many branches can exist at the same time, and it is challenging to find fossils from the branch points them
    • "The fact is that the evolution from apes to man is a continuum"

      It would be a continuum if, if you selected any of the infinite points on the 'path' from ape to man, that point would be embodied in a real creature at some point in history. Since there are a finite number of generations between 'ape' and 'human', the process is necessarily stepped, not continuous.

      We understand the situation you're complaining about, but making statements that don't hold up to basic logic isn't going to make creationists a
    • It is imposible to prove (or disprove) the existenec of God. There is no piece of evidence that will do it. But you don't need to prove God to show that evolution is wrong (and proving God will not be enough to show it either), you simply need to get evidence of changes that don't obey evolution's axioms.

      That said, disproving evolution would be much more important than disproving aether. The entire biology field is based on this theory, and its axioms are mostly our definition of life. If evolution is wron

      • Re:Pet Peeve (Score:2, Insightful)

        "Theory of evolution", not just "Evolution". Evolution itself isn't science, it's the basic data that science starts out with: we see species change over the course of generations, changes accumulating with reproductive cycles. While the "Theory" can be disproved, in that our explanation of the phenomenon can (and probably will, at some point) be shown to be mostly or partly incorrect, "evolution" itself isn't an explanation, it's a thing we see, and is thus "true" in the sense that it's a fact.

        So saying
        • Re:Pet Peeve (Score:3, Informative)

          by arminw ( 717974 )
          ......we see species change over the course of generations.....

          None of the changes we have actually SEEN have evolved one species into another. Innumerable genetic experiments of every sort have been done with one celled organisms which make many generations in a short time. Yet not so much as ONE of these has resulted in a new species. E-coli and other bacteria and moths can respond to environmental stresses, but have and always will remain in their own group.

          Countless generations of fruit flies (drosophil
      • disproving evolution would be much more important than disproving aether

        Well, no. The problem is that evolution as a theory has many different forms accepted by today's biologists and scientists. Evolution has been molded from its original versions back in the 17th and 18th centuries into what we see today. When certain aspects have either been proven wrong or shown quite improbable, most of the accepted theories of evolution change to account for it. It almost reminds me of the formation of denominati

        • I wish more christians were like you and actually, you know, followed the teachings of Christ. I have known a few of these sorts of christians in my life, people who quietly lived their faith and were happy to share it if asked, but who never used their faith as a pedastal to put themselves above others.

          If Christ's teachings really have value, you don't need to preach. Live your life well and people will ask you "How is it that you are so happy and fulfilled? How did you come to be such a good person?" Then
    • There are several things that would convince me that creationism is true and not evolution. The most obvious would be if God came and spoke to me in a burning bush.

      How god would convince you that he is indeed god the creator of all things? Would he have to performing tricks, like splitting bodies of water or multiplying fish (I would prefer the turn water into wine)? Let's suppose that someone has shown to you and speaked, "I am god, the creator of all things, behold my power" at that time the nearby river

    • At this point being a "creationist" includes disbelief in evolution. I think that is fundamental to the definition. If you are a regular Christian like so many of us that believe the theory of evolution is possible and still believe God created man, you can't be called a creationist. Christian will do nicely though.
    • Very insightful post, though there is plenty of egotism in science. Sometimes it takes a generation for a new hypothesis to be accepted in science, even if a hypothesis fits the available evidence a bit better than the current prevailing theory. Evidence that contradicts the prevailing idea needs to be found.

      The main type of argument for creationism (or ID or what have you) seems to be to plant doubt about the various pieces of evidence about evolution rather than present an equally or more cohesive expla
    • by elronxenu ( 117773 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @10:56AM (#14998062) Homepage
      I think some creationists can't distinguish between the theory of man's evolution and the general theory of evolution. They think that our inability to trace exactly how mankind evolved is some kind of flaw in the theory of evolution. Of course it is nothing of the sort.

      The process of evolution is a fact, backed up by mountains of evidence. We can even see it happen over short timescales of a few days or weeks.

      The exact details of how mankind evolved are always being rethought and sometimes we discard an old theory when we find contrary evidence. Nothing in our lack of knowledge or the mistakes of the past invalidates anything related to the theory itself.

      I think that creationists sometimes have an opposite problem as well. They may well be happy to accept the fact of animal evolution but be unable to apply it to mankind. Their church teaches that Man is "special", made in God's image and so on, and so therefore Man could not have evolved from Apes or lesser species.

      It's probably a case of one's religious beliefs causing bias in the evaluation of the independent evidence supporting evolution. www.philosophers.co.uk [philosophers.co.uk] has some great games related to religion and logic, and they explain the results they get from large numbers of people playing their games.

      Here's a relevant analysis from the site:

      There are a number of important implications of the fact that we tend to be bad at the Wason selection task (and indeed, other similar tasks, e.g., the conjunction problem). One has to do with the notion of justified belief. If a belief is recognised to be based on defective reasoning, then to continue to believe it is not justified. But if we systematically, and unconsciously, reason badly, then the extent to which reason actually acts as a constraint on belief is a moot point.

      And here's another relevant quote (this one from the 'Taboo' game)...

      The other point to make is that it is possible that a judgement that harm occurs is an ex post facto rationalisation of a prior intuition that the acts depicted here are morally wrong. In other words, people don't like things like incest and sex with poultry, they are pretty good at inventing stories to explain why they don't like them, but, in fact, they don't like them regardless. We already know that people engage in this kind of retroactive reasoning when justifying their responses to taboo type stimuli (see Haidt, Koller and Dias). We also know that judgements of wrongdoing by people who take a moralising stance towards the kinds of acts depicted here are better predicted by asking them whether they would be bothered to see these acts than by asking them whether anyone is harmed. The suspicion, then, is that a judgement that harm occurs is simply a buttress of a prior baseline moral commitment.

      The analogy is that refusal to accept the theory of evolution despite the many, many facts in its favour is a consequence of one's deeply held religious beliefs causing an inability to rationally evaluate new (and conflicting) evidence. To accept wholeheartedly the truth of the evolution theory may require abandonment of prior beliefs. The adherent has some investment in those beliefs, and to abandon them is just like selling shares when the market is low.

  • by digid ( 259751 )
    I mean sure this sounds like an interesting find but let's not break out the party hats and kazoos just yet. Don't anomalies exist in all of this? I mean we have examples of anomalies today, ala MIDGET. Let's say a million years from now a civilization is studying our planet and finds the remains of a midget. The find in this article is like saying "we've found the midget and its the missing link!" Of course we know midgets have nothing in common with the speculated evolutionary path of humans.
  • by saridder ( 103936 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @07:57AM (#14997531) Homepage
    ..that happens over time. We just happen to dig up random fossils and see dramatic changes from the previous, older species. We forget that there were sometimes 10,000's or 100,000's of years in between the two species.

    There isn't one "link" between two species. A situation where one day a parent gives birth to a dramatically different, more advanced offspring that is more evolved then the parents doesn't happen. And even if they was a missing link, the chances of that fossil surviving and us finding itwould be near impossible.
    • Wrong (Score:2, Interesting)

      by freddie ( 2935 )
      Even leading evolutionists no longer claim that evolution was a slow graduate change. Because, if it was a slow gradual change than there would be lots and lots of transitionary species as predicted by Charles Darwin. Darwin knew there was a scarcity of these transitionary species, but he predicted that a lot of them would be found.

      Today there are only a few, disputable, examples of transitionary species. What the fossil record appears to show is that species appears suddenly, then they stay unchanged (or
      • Wrong? You pointed out a 30 year old theory which never caught on with true scientists, yet caught the eyes of creationists because it could show a pattern of species appearing, as if by magic or some intelligent being. Even this article mentions all the controversy surrounding this crackpot theory. Go troll somewhere else.
      • Re:Wrong (Score:3, Informative)

        Because your Sunday pastor tells you that "leading evolutionists no longer claim that evolution was a slow graduate change" does not make it true.

        Here are a few thousand examples of transitional fossils: Talkorigin's Transitional Vertebrate FAQ [talkorigins.org]

        Now go and punch your pastor in the nose for passing something off as true that he didn't have any evidence for. I will refrain from doing the same to you because this is the internet.

        And only because this is the internet, dumbass.
  • Nice headline but since the fossil record is an incomplete record, not just because we haven't found all the fossils out there but also because not all animals that have existed became fossils. So when looking at the tree of life it's perfectly fine to call any fossil we dig up a missing link. But then again it's also safe to say the missing link is still yet to be dug up and in fact never will be dug up. So it's a meaningless term. All this talk of the "missing link" is just rhetoric that keeps people stud
    • There are no missing links because there are no links.

      That concept echos back to the Great Chain of Being [stanford.edu], an Aristotelian concept that pre-dates the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment and which continues to be a favorite today among those for whom the concept of "a billion years ago" equates to that vague, amorphous period of "sometime before last Thursday."

      The specimen under consideration may very well be neither a direct decendent of any currently characterized species nor a direct ancestor of any
  • unfortunately ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 26, 2006 @08:03AM (#14997543)
    To a depressingly huge percentage of the US and UK population this will just disprove THE THEORY even more. They'll point out scornfully that you now have TWO missing links where previously you jst had the one. 'Silly scientists' they'll say to themselves, laughing ruefully as they prepare for their next bible meeting.

    • No need to insult people who go to church meetings there (no, I'm not one of them). The people who reject that stuff probably read as little scriptural text as they do scientific text. I'm sure there are a number of church-goers involved, but I suspect a lot of them would call you crazy for not believing in ghosts or aliens too, neither of which is a biblical thing.
      • Christians do not believe in aliens. Some do believe that ghosts (also evil spirits and satan in the bible) are the reason to suffering, illness, and pain, but you must be a lucky one if you never had to deal with them.

        Those who believe that Jesus Christ is an alien are cultists. Their beliefs are radical and have no factual basis. Do not confuse them with Christians.

        Just go to church once and get to know the people there. Don't be hostile. You'll find that most people will like you.
        • "Their beliefs are radical and have no factual basis. Do not confuse them with Christians."

          HAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHA

  • Is it just me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by physicsphairy ( 720718 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @08:05AM (#14997548) Homepage
    ...or is "the missing link" found every couple of months?

    (1) This is only one skull. Weigh in the likelihood that it could be just a deformity of something distinctly not a missing link.
    (2) Evolution occurs through generation and elimination of lines. Is there even the slightest evidence that this is not from one of the extinct lines? It's fully possible (and likely) that the species in question doesn't even have modern living descendants.
    (3) If it *looks* like a human....
    (4) And for good measure, color me suspicious that the estimated age is on the same order of magnitude as the estimated error in that measurement.
    • Imagine how much more complicated will be finding the missing link between Homo Erectus and Steve Ballmer. You know, the current population of the latter species is almost extinct itself, so the scientists will have a hard time trying to find any relevant fossils.
    • Re:Is it just me... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Charles Dodgeson ( 248492 ) <jeffrey@goldmark.org> on Sunday March 26, 2006 @08:33AM (#14997620) Homepage Journal
      is "the missing link" found every couple of months?
      Well, not quite that often, but you are right. Almost all the major finds have been since the publication of The Descent of Man which is when the challenge was first posed. The article itself says that this find joins a handful of others between homo erectus and ourselves. And of course homo erectus is also a "missing" link discovered since The Descent of Man.
      This is only one skull. Weigh in the likelihood that it could be just a deformity of something distinctly not a missing link.
      You are right. It's happened before. For decades the thinking about Neanderthal was distorted because the first major find turned out to me a severely arthritic and deformed individual. It will take more finds before we can more confidently draw conclusions.
      Evolution occurs through generation and elimination of lines. Is there even the slightest evidence that this is not from one of the extinct lines? It's fully possible (and likely) that the species in question doesn't even have modern living descendants.
      Again, this has been a mistake that's been made before. (Neanderthals again provide an example). But even if this branch of hominid doesn't turn out to be a direct ancestor, the more we learn about it the better picture of Human evolution we'll have. Also while it has certainly happened that there have been separate hominid species living at the same time, on the whole you don't expect there to be many distinct simultanteous species of something so mobile.
      And for good measure, color me suspicious that the estimated age is on the same order of magnitude as the estimated error in that measurement.
      The article doesn't say how the dating was done, nor whether further analysis should refine the estimate.
      • And for good measure, color me suspicious that the estimated age is on the same order of magnitude as the estimated error in that measurement.

        The article doesn't say how the dating was done, nor whether further analysis should refine the estimate.

        Just as a follow-up, the original press release (PDF [stoneageinstitute.org] or HTML [stoneageinstitute.org] gives more detail. Appearently the fossil was found in undatable material that itself occurred above a 500,000 year old layer and below a 250,000 year old layer.

    • Eh, human populations haven't been that big all that long, the likelihood is that any branches were cut off fairly quickly, making any fossil from a time period reasonably similar to the trunk line (i.e. our ancestors). Of course, i'm not an expert in the field, so I suppose I could be wrong, and 'reasonably similar' is even more arbitrary coming from me than from someone whose primary area of study lies in geneology.
    • I don't know what the big deal is, the Missing Link [canoe.ca] has been up in Canada all this time...
  • by Hogwash McFly ( 678207 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @08:07AM (#14997549)
    Satan put it there to trick us.

    said Sileshi Semaw, director of the Gona Paleoanthropological Research Project in Ethiopia."

    'Sileshi' -> 'His Lies'

    See? It's obvious that this man is the devil and is trying to test our faith with false fossils and his lies.
    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @09:11AM (#14997723) Homepage Journal
      One nineteenth century minister, considering the then brand new evolution debate, had an idea.

      When Adam was created, why didn't he immediately collapse from low blood sugar? Because he had the products of digestion already in his veins -- he probably even had the remains of a meal in his belly. This was a meal which he never actually ate , as moments earlier he'd been an inanimate lump. A human adult is the product of a long developmental process; his bones and sinews are knit through a lifetime of activity, which in Adam's case never happened. Adam was conceived as if he were the product of an ongoing process, even if that process never happened. And thus Adam would have had a belly button of course.

      If not Adam, why not the world, and all the creatures in it? Clearly the world God conceived, in order to operate, would have to be the product of a similar process of development, and it would show all of the manifestations of that process, even if that process never actually happened. Indeed, evidence for evolution would be the very hallmark of the Creator Himself.

      This seemed to the poor fellow a splendid idea. He felt certain the the religious side of the debate would lay down its arms and embrace evolution. Naturally, he was completely wrong. The religious side of the debate was the forerunner of the modern Fundamentalist movement, and much preferred a science whose purpose was to prove religious dogma. Under this naive man's idea, the free inquiry into evolution becomes practically sacred, something that no human authority has any right to tinker with.
  • 404 ? (Score:5, Funny)

    by mOOzilla ( 962027 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @08:41AM (#14997642)
    I clicked the link and all I got was 404 page not found, I guess it really is the missing link :)
  • by nowhere.elysium ( 924845 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @09:10AM (#14997716)
    So far, I've only skimmed the /. comments, but i'm getting some pretty distinct bad feeling against christians here... I'd just like to make one thing clear; not all of us christians are into bible-thumping and trying to put the 'fun' back into 'funadmentalist'. I've always considered God to be a craftsman. mayber there's just the off chance that this '6000 years' bollocks is because humans can't count in terms of the infinite. sounds weird, i know, but hear me out. we've already managed to establish a decent and pretty reliable form of carbon dating, yes? comparing half-lives of fairly inert materials gives us a good idea of temporal scale, right? maybe the seven days that the bible mentions is God's idea of seven days, and not ours... i think it's fair to say that the first, say, 5 billion years of the planet's existence were the prototyping stages; the whole 'right, i've got the ball of rock, let's make it habitable' period. we're already starting to consider some of the problems that we'd come up against when it involves terraforming, so it's fair to say that if you include planetary formation into that stretch of time, it increases significantly. i reckon that yes, God made us; there's got to be a motive force behind it all: i believe it's a sapient beneficiary; otherwise we're all gonna go nuts with loneliness, in the existential sense. however, i also think that evolution is a matter of prototyping, and the design process. not all of us religious types are unreasonable; some of us realise that our holy books may have started as the word of God, but they were ultimately recorded by Man. just my two pence. if you're gonna shoot me down in flames, then please do it in the form of a decent argument. otherwise, you're just as bad as the next fundamentalist...
    • Well spoken, the ID people are only displaying an incredible lack of faith in the skills of their God.
    • by murderlegendre ( 776042 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @10:04AM (#14997893)

      Animosity against Christians? Oh hogwash, that is just a vast oversimplification of a set of very complex socio-political dynamics which play out here on Slashdot. Christian folks like yourself are quite welsome to join in and partcipate in any capacity.

      Anyway, we have some activities planned this afternoon over at the Coliseum. Invite your friends, and don't forget to bring a loincloth. Lunch will be served.

      • No one ever seems to talk about exactly why Christians were fed to the lions. Rome at the time was actually quite a tolerant society and people freely practices hundreds of religions and nobody really cared. When Christianity first arrived, it was treated as just another strain of Judaism.

        However, unlike most of the hedonistic and polytheistic religions of Rome, early Christians were quite boisterous and disorderly about their beliefs in grace and eternal life and were determined to convert everyone they
  • by Conanymous Award ( 597667 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @09:19AM (#14997749)
    Really. Every fossil found is touted by the media as a "missing link" between this and that. The "missing link" hysteria in the media is ridiculous. How many times have we already found the "missing link"? Every fossil that is found is a link between creatures that lived before and after it. Every new fossil can give us a clearer picture of how evolution has worked (and very often they mess up our nice concepts), but they can never give us a complete lineage, and thus the media can always gloat over a new "missing link".
  • We will all learn the answer one day. On that die when you die.

    Then at least that answer will solved and everyone can get along at least on that point. Either in the afterlife or oblivion.

  • *Everyone* knows by now that every time they find another fossil, was also have another gap in the fossil record. As time goes on, the number of gaps just keeps increasing!
  • by kronocide ( 209440 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @10:39AM (#14998007) Homepage Journal
    It's the OP that is in error, not TFA. There is a big difference between the missing link and a missing link. The former is a 19th century semi-religious concept that has no scientific value. The article however uses the latter phrase, which just means that we had no knowledge of the species that was intermediary between homo erectus and homo sapiens, and now we do, which is scientifically interesting.

    Also, see this:
    Human - apes, transitional forms [talkorigins.org]
  • by charlie763 ( 529636 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @01:37PM (#14998674) Homepage
    Great, now we have two missing links.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @02:14PM (#14998861)
    Anyone who gets his hopes up this might end the bullspit about creationism should realize one thing: Religions were never really bothered by facts.

    You can fly back in time 250,000 years and prove that Earth existed before the Bible tells you. You'll get 3 reactions (in this order):

    1. They'll claim your results are just fabricated.
    2. If your results are simply true and claiming them as fabricated even they can't pretend anymore it's not there, they'll claim that God tricks you into believing it, to test your faith.
    3. Once it's proven past the point of any doubt, they'll find a new pet project to "prove" the existance of God.

    Take a look at the debate whether the sun revolves around the earth or v.v.

    First the observations were called false, since the telescope produces false results.
    Once it could no longer be blamed on the telescopes, it was a test of God to ridicule scientists and test the strength of their faith.
    Once our probes went to every corner of the solar system and found moons around other planets, proved that the sun is the center etc., the matter was dropped and we got a new "proof" for the Bible's story.

    Simply stop listening to those who do not want to learn. If they want to be happy in their own little world, leave them there and let them enjoy being stuck in the past. Should creationism be taught in your school, explain to your kids that the schools have to do that to appease the religious fanatics.
  • WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by leoPetr ( 926753 ) <leo@petr.gmail@com> on Sunday March 26, 2006 @02:51PM (#14999021) Homepage Journal
    "Missing link"? That's not scientific terminology [wikipedia.org], and it hasn't been scientific terminology for many, many decades now. The only ones talking about "missing links" these days are creationists who are under the impression that Darwin's Origin of Species is the latest and the greatest on the science front.
  • by XBL ( 305578 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @02:53PM (#14999028)
    Wouldn't it be amazing if we could somehow genetically reengineer Home Erectus and revive the species? Imagine how much we would learn.
  • whenever it wasn't vacationing at the ranch in Texas.

    Clearing brush is a job the missing link can handle.

    If we had more missing links clearing brush, we wouldn't need all those immigrants the missing links want to make felons for being here.

  • Lame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Legion303 ( 97901 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @08:47PM (#15000126) Homepage
    There is no such thing as a "missing link" between species, only a continuum of links. CNN needs better science writers.

What is now proved was once only imagin'd. -- William Blake

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