Oz fossil sheds light on mankind's evolution, Independent Online, August 29 2006, Malcolm Burgess ...
An Australian fossil find may mean living creatures left the world's oceans for the land much earlier than once thought, rewriting a small part of mankind's evolution, scientists said ...
Also from my August backlog. See also PhysOrg.com. This seems a `beat up', claiming that "a lung fish fossil more than 20 million years older than earlier finds", i.e. "410 million years old" instead of "390 million years," "sheds light on mankind's evolution" and is "rewriting a small part of mankind's evolution" (my emphasis). It seems now that science is now so competitive, scientists have to relate their discoveries to some popular issue like "mankind's evolution," irrespective of how tangential it is. In my opinion, this represents a further corruption of science and should be stamped out.
A study of rocks collected near Buchan in Victoria state's East Gippsland has yielded a lung fish fossil more than 20 million years older than earlier finds ... Professor John Talent who found the rocks, said the fossilised lung fish - or coelacanth - sets back the timeline for when marine animals made their first excursions on to land. As far as I am aware, the Coelacanth (Latimeria) is not a "lungfish" but "has a single, large, elongated, pseudo-lung filled with fat."
'What we've done is close the gap' "It seems from experimental data with living coelacanths that there should have been older ones," Talent said. "What we've done is close the gap - we've got the fossil right back near the origin of this group." The discovery is described in the latest issue of the international journal Biology Letters. The coelacanth, which the paleontologists describe as a "living fossil" fish with "proto legs", was once thought to have become extinct with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. The problem for Darwinism is if the Coelacanth's lobe-fins are "proto-legs" and "Natural selection" (i.e. the differential reproduction of random micromutations) is a "blind, unconscious, automatic process":
"Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind's eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker." (Dawkins R., "The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design," W.W Norton & Co: New York NY, 1986, p.5).
then why have they remained "proto-legs" for ~400 million years? This is an even greater problem for Darwinism, in that of the two groups of "Crossopterygii [Sarcopterygii] or lobefinned fishes", one group, "the Coelacanthini" is still represented by "living coelacanths very like their earliest fossil precursors" while the other group, "the Rhipidistia ... gave rise to all the land-living vertebrates":
"Still another group of fishes is even more important to us, for it includes the ancestors of all the land-living vertebrates (or tetrapods), including ourselves. These were the Crossopterygii or lobefinned fishes. There are two main divisions, and their subsequent histories show the most remarkable contrast between conservatism and progress in evolution. The conservative group, the Coelacanthini or fringe-finned fish, was destined to remain water-living. It gradually petered out during the course of the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic, and vanishes from the geological record at the end of the Cretaceous; the coelacanths were long thought to have become extinct. But in this century, living coelacanths very like their earliest fossil precursors, have been taken off the coast of South Africa, to provide a famous instance of a `living fossil'. The second crossopterygian group, the Rhipidistia, does not survive as such, but instead gave rise to all the land-living vertebrates, so that its history is one of unmatched evolutionary success." (Kurtén, B., "The Age of the Dinosaurs," World University Library, Weidenfeld & Nicolson: London, 1968, p.67) .
Which I accept did happen. My disagreement is how it happened, i.e. not fully naturalistically. Richard Dawkins' weak, tautological, Darwinian `explanation' of why "the Coelacanth Latimeria ... is a 'living fossil', in the sense that it has changed hardly at all since the time of its fossil ancestors, hundreds of millions of years ago" is:
"More biologists agree that stasis is a real phenomenon than agree about its causes. Take, as an extreme example, the coelacanth Latimeria. The coelacanths were a large group of ... fish ... that flourished more than 250 million years ago and apparently died out at about the same time as the dinosaurs. I say 'apparently' died out because in 1938, much to the zoological world's astonishment, a weird fish, a yard and a half long and with unusual leg-like fins, appeared in the catch of a deepsea fishing boat off the South African coast. Though almost destroyed before its priceless worth was recognized, its decaying remains were fortunately brought to the attention of a qualified South African zoologist just in time. Scarcely able to believe his eyes, he identified it as a living coelacanth, and named it Latimeria. Since then, a few other specimens have been fished up in the same area, and the species has now been properly studied and described. It is a 'living fossil', in the sense that it has changed hardly at all since the time of its fossil ancestors, hundreds of millions of years ago. So, we have stasis. What are we to make of it? How do we explain it? Some of us would say that the lineage leading to Latimeria stood still because natural selection did not move it. In a sense it had no 'need' to evolve because these animals had found a successful way of life deep in the sea where conditions did not change much." (Dawkins, Ibid, 1986, p.246)
is: 1) "the lineage leading to Latimeria stood still because natural selection did not move it" (which merely restates the problem); 2) "In a sense it had no 'need' to evolve," which, to the extent is says anything (i.e. what does "In a sense" mean?), it is a Lamarckian explanation based on the organism's "needs"; and 3) " because these animals had found a successful way of life deep in the sea where conditions did not change much," begs the question that "conditions did not change much" in ~400 million years. See Northern Arizona University graphic below of what the continents looked like in the Early Devonian 400 mya:
Besides, why would the "Crossopterygii or lobefinned fishes" common ancestor of "Coelacanthini" and "Rhipidistia" develop in advance "proto-legs" in an environment where "it had no 'need' to evolve because" it "had found a successful way of life deep in the sea where conditions did not change much"?
This sounds more like a case of a Far-sighted Watchmaker preparing in advance by intelligently directed mutations, a line of fishes which would eventually "gave rise to all the land-living vertebrates" (i.e. amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals)! Such "new species may arise quite suddenly ... by other means. .... When they have arisen they must justify their existence before the tribunal of natural selection, but that is a very different matter" (my emphasis):
"But if we come to the conclusion that natural selection is probably the main cause of change in a population, we certainly need not go back completely to Darwin's point of view. In the first place, we have every reason to believe that new species may arise quite suddenly, sometimes by hybridisation, sometimes perhaps by other means. Such species do not arise, as Darwin thought, by natural selection. When they have arisen they must justify their existence before the tribunal of natural selection, but that is a very different matter." (Haldane, J.B.S., "The Causes of Evolution," , Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, 1993, Second Printing, p.75)
However, it was rediscovered living in the Indian Ocean in 1938. This new fossil, a single lower jawbone, is nearly 410 million years old, much older than previously known coelacanth fossils, Johanson said. It is worth noting that this is only "a single lower jawbone." So they have no way of actually knowing whether this fossil, when alive "410 million years" ago was a "lungfish" with "proto legs."
The new species, Eoactinistia foreyi, fills a gap in fossil records of the fish, which were previously known to reach back 390 million years. ...It is interesting that this is pushing the origin of the lobe-finned fishes further back down in the Devonian (~416-359 mya) and possibly even into the Silurian (~444-416 mya).
Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
Genesis 4:2b-5a. 2... Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. ...