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About origins, creation, and evolution

Scientific discoveries: 2007-JUL to DEC

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bullet2007-AUG-01: Two "missing links" discovered:
bulletThe coelacanth fish was discovered by fisherman in 1938. The species had only previously been known through earlier fossils. It is a relative of some of the first creatures to walk on land. Now, a 400 million year old fossil of a front fin from an ancestor to the coelacanth fish has been discovered. The fin shows an internal construction that is midway between the coelacanth fishes and ray-finned fishes. Researcher Michael Coates stated:

"This ends intense debate about the primitive pattern for lobed fins, which involves the ancestry of all limbs, including our own. To understand the developmental evolution of the limbs of tetrapods [fourlimbed vertebrates], we shouldn't be looking at the fins of our nearest living fish relatives -- lungfishes and coelacanths -- because they’re far too specialized."

bulletWorld Science reports that:
"Scientists believe another recently discovered fossil is a true missing link between fish and tetrapods. It was a fierce predator dubbed Tiktaalik roseae, which lived 385 million years ago." 1
bullet2007-SEP-05: Origin of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs: A U.S. - Czech team of scientists may have figured out the source of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. Using astronomical observations and computer simulations, they estimate that the original asteroid was about 170 km (106 miles) wide. About 165 million years ago, it hit another asteroid in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The other asteroid was about one third as wide. The collision created thousands of large chunks of carbonaceous chondrite asteroids which are called "Baptistina family asteroids." The researchers are 90% certain that one of these collided with the earth and formed the Chicxulub crater on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula about 65 million years ago. They are 70% certain that the massive Tycho crater on the moon was made by another Baptistina asteroid. One of the researchers, David Nesvorny of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, TX, said that a bombardment of Baptistina asteroids over the last 100 to 150 million years "...produced a surge in the impact [rate] that peaked roughly 100 million years ago." William Bottke, also from the Institute, said:

"We are in the tail end of this shower now. Our simulations suggest that about 20 percent of the present-day, near-Earth asteroid population can be traced back to the Baptistina family." 2

bullet2007-DEC-20: A missing link may have been found: Scientists from the time of Darwin have believed that dolphins, porpoises, and whales evolved about 50 million years ago from land animals. Indohyus, a miniature deer-like animal who lived in India about 48 million years ago has been identified as a likely candidate. The structure of their skull and in particular their ears are very similar to that of early whales. Their bone thickness and chemical evidence indicates that this species spent much of their time in the water. 3

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Ancestor of the 'living fossil' sheds new light," World Science, 2007-AUG-01, at: http://www.world-science.net/
  2. "Asteroid 'crime family' blamed in dinosaur wipeout," World Science, 2007-SEP-05, at: http://www.world-science.net/
  3. "Whales evolved from raccoon-sized creature, researchers say," World Science, 2007-DEC-20, at: http://www.world-science.net/

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Copyright © 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2007-AUG-04
Latest update: 2007-DEC-23
Author: B.A. Robinson

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