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An artist's scupting of A. afarensis, based on the earlier Lucy skeleton.  (Source: Educa Madrid)

The bones of "Big Man"  (Source: Y. Haile Selassie et al./PNAS 2010)
"Whatever we’ve been saying about afarensis based on Lucy was mostly wrong."

Much like the revolution of modern astronomy in the late 1400s and early 1500s dissolved the notion that the Sun revolved around the Earth, a renaissance in paleontology is dissolving virtually any doubt that remained about man's origins.  Another new discovery has just been completed, the latest of several high profile publications over only the last year.

The new skeleton is a male Australopithecus afarensis, which has been discovered in Ethiopia’s Afar region.  The skeleton joins the celebrated "Lucy" skeleton, unearthed by paleoanthropologists in 1974, and a child skeleton unearthed last year.

The ancient male, an ancestor of modern man, lived approximately 3.6 million years ago in the plains of Eastern Africa, according to several dating techniques.  Yohannes Haile-Selassie of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, who led the team, says the skeleton offers some major new insights into the species.

The skeleton has been nicknamed "Big Man" as it towers at 5 to 5½ feet tall over the much shorter 3½-foot-tall Lucy, who lived 3.2 million years ago.  That large height deviation raises questions over which of the specimen is the norm in terms of height.  The new skeleton was unearthed between 2005 and 2008 at a dig site only 48 km from where Lucy was found.

The skeleton also reveals new insights into the bone structure of the species.  Big Man's 32 discovered bones reveal long legs, a narrow chest, and a inwardly curving back.  All of these indicate that he walked much like a human and enjoyed a ground-based lifestyle.  This is very different from the awkward gait that Lucy was thought to have.  Lucy also had been thought to climb trees a great deal.

The shoulder blade of Big Man is quite different from chimpanzees or gorillas.  And the ribs also appear human-like.  All of these factors indicate a far different chest shape than the chimplike, funnel-shaped chest that reconstructions of the Lucy skeleton indicated.

While confusing perhaps in context with Lucy, the conclusion that ancient hominids were not chimplike is consistent with the analysis of the 4.4-million-year-old Ardipithecus ramidus hominid that was conducted last year. 

Professor Haile-Selassie states, "Whatever we’ve been saying about afarensis based on Lucy was mostly wrong.  The skeletal framework to enable efficient two-legged walking was established by the time her species had evolved."

Carol Ward of the University of Missouri in Columbia seems to agree with these conclusions, stating, "This beautiful afarensis specimen confirms the unique skeletal shape of this species at a larger size than Lucy, in what appears to be a male."

While the discovery may have cleared up debate about whether Lucy was more chimplike or humanlike, the debate about gait is sure to continue.  Harvard University anthropologist Daniel Lieberman states, "There’s nothing special I can see on this new find that will change anyone’s opinion."

Anthropologist Owen Lovejoy of Kent State University, however, believes that the discovery shows Big Man to be a good runner, which could have made the 3.6-million-year-old footprints found more than 30 years ago at Laetoli, Tanzania.  Among the evidence supporting this hypothesis are Big Man's pelvis supported humanlike hamstring muscles and human-like arched feet.

The full study on the Big Man discovery is published here in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A separate 3.3 million year old skeleton of a 3-year-old baby female A. afarensis was presented four years ago.  Nicknamed "Selam" (the word for "peace" in several African languages), the near-complete skeleton was found in 2000 south of the Awash river by a team led by Zeresenay Alemseged of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

The paper on that discovery was published in a 2006 edition of Nature and can be found here.

These discoveries add to the aforementioned recent discovery of "Ardi", the discovery of Australopithecus sediba, and the completion of an early draft of the Neanderthal genome.  All of these wonderful discoveries have helped to blow away the fog of uncertainty surrounding human evolution and offered a much clearer picture of how man arrived at its current form after a slow process of evolution that took millions of years.




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how's your egocentrism now?
By crleap on 6/22/2010 10:59:44 AM , Rating: 1
more evidence/proof in the face of religious/egotistical morons who want to think humans are anything more than a mammalian animal species derived from nothing more than natural selection. a pretty destructive and out-of-balance species, i might add.




RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By Homerboy on 6/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By Breathless on 6/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By mellomonk on 6/22/2010 11:26:39 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
And yet, ironically enough, if everyone believed as you do the world would be far worse off than it is. You should "praise science" that people believe in God.


Really? You sure are painting with a broad brush there. I find folks who truly understand the natural order to be some of the most open minded and intelligent people I know. There is an inherent beauty in seeing the nature of the universe, and concepts such as evolution.

Sure the majority of religious people are peaceful and wonderful, but there continues to be a great deal of ignorance, intolerance, and violence perpetrated in the name of religion. In fact millions have died in the name of religion.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By Breathless on 6/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By MozeeToby on 6/22/2010 12:08:41 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
The fact of the matter is, belief in God (thus believe in eternal consequence) is what keeps a very large percentage of the populace from doing terrible things on a regular basis in order to "further" themselves.
B.S.

People do not walk down the street and think to themselves "Man, I would totally rape that woman, rob that bank, and kill that guy if I wouldn't go to hell for it". They just don't . The idea that you believe everyone around you is harboring those kinds of thoughts is absolutely terrifying to me. People that think like that are called psychopaths, they are very, very few and far between and fear of God isn't enough to convince them to behave any differently.

95% of people don't need any fear of punishment to behave like normal human beings and 95% of the rest get plenty of fear from regular, earthly punishment. The quarter of a percent that's left could be delivered straight to hell the instant they commit their crimes and it still wouldn't deter them.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By MrBlastman on 6/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By sgw2n5 on 6/22/2010 12:39:56 PM , Rating: 3
I don't believe that people are naturally "evil".. a very small percentage, sure, but I find that people are generally "good".

So if there were no religion or laws, and you saw my family walking down the street... you would murder me and rape my wife?

I doubt that. You need to have more faith in people.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By MrBlastman on 6/22/2010 12:45:51 PM , Rating: 2
They aren't all evil, no, not at all, but, I argue you'd see far more than you do now if people knew they could get away with it.

There are many humans who peacefully want to co-exist, have lots of sex, eat fruit and make babies. They want to live in blissful harmony. Yes, there are plenty of those. There are also those who want to do more.

What I'm getting at is Religion and Law cloud our vision of what people really are. They curb peoples attitudes and actions and to fully think that everyone is good inside and would continue to be so if either were removed is very shortsighted.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By sgw2n5 on 6/22/2010 1:02:01 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with that.

Animals are animals afterall. I suppose if push really came to shove, some of people will act like what we really are... animals.

I DO, however, believe that this is a small percentage of people.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By MrBlastman on 6/22/2010 1:12:59 PM , Rating: 1
I don't also quite see why I'm being downrated here.

My post definitely did not offend the religious because they know what I'm saying is true based on flawed human nature.

It also did not tout religion either because it included the rule of law.

My only thought is it offended the Atheists because it notioned that Religion could have an effect on anyone. I don't get it at all.

I dare say that some Atheists are as shortsighted as the Religious Fundamentalists--and are as easily offended. I challenge you to enter the fray rather than hide on the sidelines.

Oh wait, I see it now, I included religion in a post and didn't take a giant dump all over it. That's my problem. How silly of me to try and be logical.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By HighWing on 6/22/2010 4:12:34 PM , Rating: 2
From reading all the arguments one thing has been completely overlooked by both sides here.

It's not so much fear of punishment and/or lack of that fear, but rather how the person "feels/thinks" about committing an illegal/immoral action and taking the responsibility for said action! And THAT comes from several contributing factors, other than just religion and laws of the land, such as how the person was raised, their surroundings, family/home life, education, and much much more. And to this end, we have only just begun to understand just how far reaching little things in the early stages of youth & development can effect how a person will act when grown up.

You can argue night and day that religion and law are the main factor, but facts show that even a deeply religious and lawful person can and will still commit crimes of all nature. How else do you explain church officials committing sexual acts with young boys? MY point here is that there are many other contributing factors that will cause and or prevent a person from committing any kind of crime. Religion & laws are just ONE of many and it really depends on the person and situation on which factors will influence their actions.

As to the animal nature of humans I have this to say; Animals act the way they do not just out of instinct, but out of the sheer nature of the fact that it is ALL they do know and what they have been "taught" all their lives. Domestication and Zoo's are proof of that! Many animals can be taught not to attack animals they might have once hunted as prey among many other things that would normally go against what they would do in the wild. While you may argue it's not always 100%, that is irrelevant as the by the very fact that they can be taught to do it and act differently is proof of concept!

In closing, both sides are right, as YES religion & law can be the driving force for some people to not commit crimes, it is however NOT the reason for why ALL people do not commit crimes.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By MozeeToby on 6/22/2010 12:56:42 PM , Rating: 4
You're right, I don't know what people are thinking. My point was twofold. First, that my morality is certainly not based on fear of eternal punishment; if someone were to conclusively prove without any doubt that God didn't exist, I would behave the exact same way that I behave today, minus going to church and praying. Second, the idea that everyone around me is an evil madman without conscience or sense of responsibility is terrifying. I reject that hypothesis because the evidence just doesn't support it. If nothing else if people really thought that way, it would only take a momentary lapse of faith for all hell to break loose.

It isn't that hard, make a graph of atheism rates vs violent crime rates and see if there is a correlation. People have done it and found that indeed there is a correlation, in that countries with high atheism rates have a lower violent crime rates than other countries. For the record, I'm not saying that atheism in and of itself lowers crime (such a simplistic analysis of the data ignores that fact that atheistic countries tend to be much richer than theistic ones), merely that theism doesn't deter it.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By MrBlastman on 6/22/2010 1:08:04 PM , Rating: 2
But what about rule of law? Remember, my argument is based on laws too.

I'm not saying Religion is needed to keep order, no, there are two forces, not one. Religion applies to some, Law to others, don't forget that. Neither works for both.

You could have an Atheist nation, but what about an atheist nation that has no law? Take away all the consequences and a new man will spring forth--not by everyone, but there are many that inner inhibitions that will come to bear fruit.

Not everyone will become violent psychokillers, no, not at all, I garner you'll see others engage in sexual ways they never would have before, others who try other things etc.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By MozeeToby on 6/22/2010 1:28:24 PM , Rating: 5
You're saying that some people respond to law, and others respond to religion. If that is true, then removing religion from the table would result in an increase in immoral behavior. If there exists a percentage that is moral only because of religion then removing religion will make the rate of immoral behavior go up.

So let's take a look at a very atheistic nation, say Estonia (only 16% theistic). Despite being a poor, atheistic nation their law enforcement is good enough to keep the crime rate right around average, and better than average for countries of similar prosperity. Now lets look at countries where the rule of law has failed. Let's say Sudan, a country where atheism is almost unheard of. Violent crime so common that it can only be called genocide. So we have an atheistic nation with strong laws that maintains order, and a theistic nation with no laws where order has collapsed.

Ok, you easily can point out the vastly different cultures in that comparison so let's make a better one. New Orleans before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina. Before, the violent crime rate was high, but not extremely so. The same can be said for after. During the storm and it's immediate aftermath, when the rule of law collapsed, there was looting, mugging, and raping on a scale seldom seen in the US. Did everyone suddenly lose their religion during the storm?

My point, going all the way back to my first comment, is that the rule of law is much, much more effective at controlling people's base urges than theistic religion is. The vast majority of people will act morally in the vast majority of situations regardless of religious belief, but there is very tiny minority that will abuse any situation to its fullest; again, regardless of their religious beliefs.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By MrBlastman on 6/22/2010 1:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not going to debate you on religion. There is no point as you are to the extreme end of Atheism yourself. You've misunderstood my intent all along.

I'm talking about Religion OR Law.

We're now taking religion out of the picture, and lets just focus on the law aspect.

Remove laws, chaos ensues and peoples inhibitions come to bear. You said it yourself--Katrina,

quote:
During the storm and it's immediate aftermath, when the rule of law collapsed, there was looting, mugging, and raping on a scale seldom seen in the US.


And thus, have proved a LARGE part of my point. Religion works for SOME people, not all. Law works for the rest. I never said it was the major force, just one of two forces that could work.

As you have shown, Law was a much larger force in Katrina, and, I'd argue for the most of America, Law is the larger force in determining people doing right or wrong. We agree with each other there.

One of those two forces will have a bearing on almost any individual--it depends on the person but one or the other will influence their actions. Law tends to work better as the consequences happen quickly.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By MozeeToby on 6/22/2010 1:55:57 PM , Rating: 3
I don't disagree with you that they both have an effect, I'm simply saying that the effect of religion is massively dwarfed by the effect of law and order. Basically, if you're the type to follow a religious code, I would put money on you being the type to follow a legal one as well.

For what it's worth, I don't agree with the people who have been modding you down. Until part of this last comment you have been making well formed, non inflammatory arguments (which in my opinion is pretty much the only thing that should ever be rated below 1). On the other hand, deciding that I am an atheist (I am not) simply because I feel that religion isn't the biggest driver of morality is a bit inflammatory.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By MrBlastman on 6/22/2010 2:31:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
1). On the other hand, deciding that I am an atheist (I am not) simply because I feel that religion isn't the biggest driver of morality is a bit inflammatory.


My apologies then. :) I unfairly assumed you might be and I was wrong to do so.

I do agree on law being a stronger force--it is, as consequences are now versus later, at least, for the majority of people as they see it.


By addictedcommentsreader on 6/22/2010 3:18:40 PM , Rating: 2
Guys, I don't get the emphasis on distinction between law and religion. Religion is full of rules which I believe do play a great role in keeping society in order. Whether it's the very oppressive versions of Islam you see in some nations that people have to follow strictly, or the 10 commandments. Those are pretty "in your face" laws. If you're trying to use the obvious surface distinctions, then I can't seem to see the purpose of that. What I mean is that basically they are all rules to bring order.
As a side, it also seems to me that alot of "laws" may have origins in religion, or are at least further emphasized or strengthened by religion.
Also, regarding all the talk about society going into chaos without religion or law, it's not that if u take away religion or law that the floodgates will suddenly be open. It's the fact that our morality, what we learn and see growing up are due to those rules. We are shaped by it whether directly or indirectly as a mass societal effect and passed through generations. Hypothetically, if we were to stop teaching it to our children and also somehow isolate them from society's effect, i believe it would be a different society than if we didn't have the rules. I don't know how much, but i believe it would be significant enough to recognize the need for rules.
Humans do act very differently in different cultures and religions. I think it would be easier for people to accept if you didn't use the word "evil". Some South American civilizations were brutal. Tons of cultures have or had polygamy. In the past, there were many cultures in which there was a narrower definition of murder than we have now. So humans are animals and our natural instincts are our natural instincts. Laws and religions provide the rules to help shape macro and micro level morality. And so in that sense, if taken away, should have a big negative impact on how people conduct themselves.


By rubbahbandman on 6/22/2010 6:32:01 PM , Rating: 2
I do not believe organized religion is as useful a tool as you say for controlling our savage instincts of war, killing, and destruction. While it may be successful in uniting large groups of people, it takes much more than a belief in a common God and moral law to avoid the barbarity of humanity.

Were our World Wars not fought largely between Christian nations, let alone religious nations in general? I believe it's safe to say every country involved was predominantly religious. What about the Crusades, or the constant wars of religion between Lutherans, Catholics, and Protestants throughout Europe. Was organized religion a useful instrument in controlling these wars, or did it serve as a catalyst for causing these wars?

In our modern age, religion is no longer a required precursor to keeping the populace in line. It really comes down to education and quality of life aka money and resources to maintain the peace. Look at Scandinavian nations as a sign. They are in fact some of the most atheistic nations in the world and least violent.

I do not believe a personal God exists in the traditional theistic way. I subscribe to Paul Tillich's theological philosophy:

"God does not exist. He is being itself beyond essence and existence. Therefore to argue that God exists is to deny him." God is not a being which exists in time and space, because that constrains God, and makes God finite. All beings are finite, and if God is the Creator of all beings, God cannot logically be finite since a finite being cannot be the sustainer of an infinite variety of finite things. Thus God is considered beyond being, above finitude and limitation, the power or essence of being itself.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By DarthKaos on 6/24/2010 4:24:42 PM , Rating: 1
I don't know about "true" but I hear where you are coming from as far as religion being a system of control. However I believe the consequence of dieing without any future (rebirth, heaven, etc...) would be far scarier to most people. No one would sacrifice themselves for a harem or because they know they will be "for given" because they are truly sorry for their actions.

Not to mention that every war in the recorded history of man was caused by religious beliefs. I know someone will site some war about racism or revolution but at the root of those ideas is religion.

What if the entire world believed that all humans have a soul. The soul finds piece by living a good life. When we die to find peace we must life as peacefully, nice, and caring as possible. No funny rules or weird requirements based on gender, color, or geographical location. Everyone is accepted and everyone just tries to be courteous. I would be all in for that religion.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By BBeltrami on 6/22/2010 11:54:36 AM , Rating: 2
It's true for everything. The vast majority of environmentalists, Women's rights activists, College Professors, Tea partiers, homosexual marriage advocates, striking teachers, graduating high schoolers, baseball players, dog trainers, manicurists and lawyers (fill in the blank with whatever you want) are peaceful and friendly. But there's plenty of violence, intolerance and ignorance in their fringes.

The righteous, intolerant fringe is the problem, not the subject matter of their vitriol.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By MozeeToby on 6/22/2010 12:10:57 PM , Rating: 1
So just like 90% of anything is crap, 5% of any group is violent, intolerant, ignorant assholes. That actually sounds about right to me.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By Jeffk464 on 6/22/2010 12:03:22 PM , Rating: 2
ahmen


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By MartyLK on 6/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By Quadrillity on 6/23/2010 1:43:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Religion would have me continue in that suffering based on the belief that God would throw people into Hell for committing suicide.

Goes to show that you know nothing about Christianity. It says plain as day that a person saved goes to heaven. Suicide is a sin, and saved sinners still get into heaven.

Don't post here anymore, you spew nothing but uneducated garbage.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By MrBlastman on 6/22/10, Rating: 0
RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By BBeltrami on 6/22/2010 11:45:08 AM , Rating: 2
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 26.2% of us have a diagnosable mental disorder. Just sayin'.

I'm weary of angry extremes and righteously indignant fringes, whether we're talking about religion, science, the environment, politics, whatever. What's more, I'm increasingly irritated by both extremes and their name calling rhetoric. I don't even hear their message anymore.

At some point we've got to relearn how to listen respectfully (even when we disagree) and disagree without judgment. The art of debate and concept of respectful opposition are both dead. To all our detriment.

I don't know when it happened, but somewhere in recent history the conditions for success changed in our culture. Not only do we need to win, but we need to assure that the opposition loses. It's spiteful and ugly, and we're absolutely infected with it.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By sgw2n5 on 6/22/2010 12:35:38 PM , Rating: 1
Very good post.

And interestingly, all of this biblical literalism that is prevalent in the US today is a relatively recent phenomenom. A little over a hundred years ago, most christians celebrated and studied the teachings of jesus but took most of the other stories in the bible as exactly that... stories.

Amazing how we kind of went backwards on that one as technology and scientific understanding progressed.

People nowadays are so emotionally (and financially) invested in religion that ANYTHING that challenges their world view must be wrong.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By MrBlastman on 6/22/2010 12:42:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
ANYTHING that challenges their world view must be wrong.


It is because they don't teach people how to THINK anymore. Well, at least, people are not challenged to think at a young age, thus, they never truly learn how to do it. They learn to memorize facts, regurgitate crap and chant mantras and jump through hoops to get through school.

It is sad.

Fundamentalism in any form is bad. Be it fundamentally atheist or fundamentally religious, they are both egregiously broken ways of being. They aren't thinking. They are blind acceptance.

That is tragic. Religion can exist (or the antithesis of it) where people think freely, explore new ideas and question the world through science, if only people would open up their minds and be taught how to do so once more.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By sgw2n5 on 6/22/2010 12:59:32 PM , Rating: 1
I agree with what you said, besides about the fundamental atheist part. Lack of belief in something in and of itself is not a belief.

That being said... yes, there are asshole atheists out there, that are loud and annoying and actively denounce any type of supernatural belief. For the most part, though, I think that most of them are just worried about religion or religious laws being imposed on them.

I, myself, would probably be considered an athiest. But if any real form of evidence for a God or (especially) an afterlife were presented... you bet your ass I would be a "believer". Everyone, even atheists, would rrreeeeeeaaaaaaalllly like for SOMETHING to happen after death instead of just your consciousness ceasing to exist.

But yes, fundamentalism of any variety is destructive.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/22/2010 2:02:38 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
A little over a hundred years ago, most christians celebrated and studied the teachings of jesus but took most of the other stories in the bible as exactly that... stories.


Not arguing either point, staying out of this mostly, but I'm just curious how you have factually stated this, and that "literalism" is prevalent today. Was there some study or poll done that you could link please to show this? If it's just your opinion, that's cool. But it was stated as an absolute fact.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By drando on 6/22/2010 8:28:23 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Not arguing either point, staying out of this mostly, but I'm just curious how you have factually stated this, and that "literalism" is prevalent today. Was there some study or poll done that you could link please to show this? If it's just your opinion, that's cool. But it was stated as an absolute fact.


Wow, I actually agree with Reclaimer77 here. Who would have ever guessed that that would ever happen? I even uprated his comment because he's absolutely right here. You (sgw2n5) clearly stated your skewed speculation as fact. If you're going to propose a claim as fact then please provide some evidence to support it.


By geddarkstorm on 6/22/2010 1:46:26 PM , Rating: 2
You hit the nail on the head (I don't believe that NIMH study though; just feeds the human psychological propensity to categorize so "someone else" can be blamed for imperfections).

Fanaticism, no matter what the subject is about--be it religion, anti-religion, science, politics, nationalism, environmentalism, money, race, or cupcakes--is always destructive and vile. The only common thread for all the great wrongs in human history, from Hitler to Stalin, is fanaticism. Even power doesn't necessarily corrupt, as we've had great examples of those with great power who did marvelous things. It is fanaticism we should be fighting against most fervently, whatever the form.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By MartyLK on 6/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By Quadrillity on 6/23/2010 1:40:26 PM , Rating: 1
Are you mentally handicapped?


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By Jeffk464 on 6/22/2010 12:02:09 PM , Rating: 2
ya, take that Jesus.


RE: how's your egocentrism now?
By Myg on 6/22/2010 1:31:18 PM , Rating: 2
What if evolution was nothing more then humanity trying to fill the "image" of God through trying to get closer to him through religion?

Wouldn't that be a strange turn of events?


Artistic sculpting...
By MrBlastman on 6/22/2010 10:54:10 AM , Rating: 1
I have a hard time understanding how an artist can accurately sculpt afarensis when they don't even have a skull or what appears to be any major skullbones.

I see a partial arm, hip, ribs, vertebral column extending to the neck and leg and what looks to be a scapula but no head. How are we to know that it was hairy and ape-looking at all?

From what I can see here, it very well could have looked quite like a modern human with very little body hair and the face could be similar to ours. So really, the ape like picture is pure speculation.

Or, maybe it isn't human at all, perhaps it was a visitor that died on earth? Or, perhaps a time-traveler using superstring manipulation died accidentally on safari?

There just seems to be a huge gap between Lucy and Afarensis here, we need to know more.




RE: Artistic sculpting...
By boobo on 6/22/2010 11:01:05 AM , Rating: 2
The sculpture is based on Lucy, not on the big man skeleton pictured underneath. Scientific art always gives some freedom to the artist (like in artist depictions of black holes for scientific magazines). There's a lot of that in the Lucy sculpture. However, her skeleton did have some rather large skull fragments.


RE: Artistic sculpting...
By MrBlastman on 6/22/2010 11:05:01 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. It is based on Lucy's skeleton, not Afarensis. It could look like a multitude of things. We don't know until we see the skull.

The skeletal differences are so markedly dramatic between the two that I garner they would have a huge difference in their skull, and ultimately facial appearance as well.


RE: Artistic sculpting...
By boobo on 6/22/2010 11:28:00 AM , Rating: 2
But Lucy is also classified as an Australopithecus Afarensis. The sculpture was not meant to depict the Big Man at all. It was completed before these new bone fragments were even published.

Of course, classifications systems and classification choices are subject to change based on new evidence, and it does seem like a bit of a stretch to classify these two together...


RE: Artistic sculpting...
By ThePooBurner on 6/22/2010 1:18:29 PM , Rating: 2
Not ones that would lead to anything that looks like an ape, though. The placement of the fragments in the full size skulls they build, or rather, the full size skulls they build around them are ridiculous. There is no way they could make that kind of leap from the pieces they have.


RE: Artistic sculpting...
By geddarkstorm on 6/22/2010 2:00:29 PM , Rating: 2
That is an unfortunate problem with a lot of these hominids. Most of the time, you just have little fragments, and the blanks are filled in under assumed anatomical ratios (usually quite less than 30% of any part of a creature is found). However, there's very little proof or evidence to support the criteria they use for this, and you can always see whatever you want to see when filling in the blanks, period (that goes for ALL data of any type). Worst yet, there's the assumption the bones found millions of years later are representative of what they were in life, without any warping from geological forces, or shrinking, or other changes. Even rocks warp and morph in shape, and a fossil is just a mineralization rock.

I become rather disillusions with anthropology after taking a course in it. Sometimes they reconstruct whole species based just on teeth they find! No... I doubt most people here really know what goes into it or what it means.

Still, this new skeleton is more complete than most (I'm not kidding)! And strangely very like a modern human...


RE: Artistic sculpting...
By GTVic on 6/22/2010 2:10:28 PM , Rating: 2
The bones for this skeleton were spread out over miles. They can claim what they've found is from one individual, based on the fact that they've recovered 40% of a body with no duplicate parts. Given the amount of fraud in the industry, you have to question whether this proves anything. Even if you accept it, what if she was just the Mini-Me of her generation.


Answer This
By transamdude95 on 6/22/2010 3:51:28 PM , Rating: 2
To all the religious/creationist folks on here who claim that 'god' created the universe and life, etc, please tell me who or what created 'god'? The concept of 'god' is just a human creation. So, who/what created 'god'?




RE: Answer This
By wgbutler on 6/22/2010 5:51:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

To all the religious/creationist folks on here who claim that 'god' created the universe and life, etc, please tell me who or what created 'god'? The concept of 'god' is just a human creation. So, who/what created 'god'?


I'll go ahead and answer your question, even though I'm sure I'll get some snide remarks in respose to my answer.

God is the prime reality. He is self-sustaining and eternal with no beginning and no end. All other things came into existence because God created those things.

I know it is hard for a finite being to grasp that something could be infinite and eternal, but the reality of the situation is that if you reject God you either have to say that:

A) some natural, eternal, self-sustaining, infinite non-intelligent force has always existed, that has yet to be identified, that caused the Universe to spring into existence, and organize itself into a structure that would eventually support intelligent life OR
B) everything came from nothing, and self-organized into intelligent life.

Both of these alternatives are incoherent and much less believable than the God hypothesis.


RE: Answer This
By transamdude95 on 6/23/2010 8:06:06 AM , Rating: 3
Based on your response, why can the universe itself not be self-existant? Why do some have to put a being ('god') behind it?


RE: Answer This
By wgbutler on 6/23/2010 1:18:59 PM , Rating: 3
quote:

Based on your response, why can the universe itself not be self-existant? Why do some have to put a being ('god') behind it?


Because we know from physics that matter is not eternal and Big Bang theory shows us that all matter, energy, time and space had an absolute beginning from nothing around 13.7 billion years ago.

You can ignore the science if you want and pretend that the Universe has somehow always existed but then you are guilty of the wishful fairy tale thinking that you accuse non-atheists of doing.


wow
By jaydee on 6/22/2010 5:17:15 PM , Rating: 3
Wow, talk about an agenda. Journalism evolving into to crap right before our eyes!




Umm, so the earth IS the center of the universe???
By ZmaxDP on 6/22/10, Rating: 0
By ZmaxDP on 6/22/2010 11:51:37 AM , Rating: 2
Damn, that's what I get for starting a smart-ass reply and taking 30 minutes to finish it...


Carol Ward
By sgw2n5 on 6/22/2010 12:22:56 PM , Rating: 2
Heh... she taught my biological anthropology class years ago when I attended MU for my undergrad.

Good to see that she is doing well; she is very bright and really enthusiastic about the classes the taught.




pathetic
By Ammohunt on 6/22/2010 1:55:01 PM , Rating: 2
Ever notice that every new ancient primate skeleton they find in Africa is the new "Missing Link" most of the hominids they have found are type specimens one offs; some all they have are partial skull fragments! Modern anthropology isn’t science this is speculation. It’s the equivalent of beings 4 million years from now digging up a modern human skull and stating that he drove a ford pinto, smoked Pall Malls and was gay, it’s ridiculous.




Jason Mick
By wgbutler on 6/22/2010 5:43:19 PM , Rating: 1
For anyone who doesn't come to this website on a regular basis, you should know a little bit of the history.

One of Jason Mick's favorite things to do is post articles promoting evolution, and its not uncommon for him to get some anti-religious digs in at the same time. He also loves to promote man made global warming, or other pet liberal viewpoints.

What I can't decide if Jason Mick is trying to generate a controversy (nothing like an evolution debate to get the flame baiters going) in order to generate hits for the website or if he is so drunk with the liberal kool-aid that he can't think of any way to separate his political/(anti)religious views from anything else.

I think the whole thing is actually pretty comical. What's even more comical is reading some of the posts from the militant atheists who lap all this stuff up.




What a Crock
By GeoK on 6/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: What a Crock
By MrBlastman on 6/22/2010 1:21:37 PM , Rating: 2
It is because the general concensus only sees the fundamentalists when it comes to religion and not the moderates, like yourself, who embrace the sciences as well as study the divine.

To them, it is an illogical impossibility, when really, they're then ones being illogical by imposing absolutes without substance and instead pure speculation--by using their speculation to refute other people's speculation.

Sounds rather contrary, don't you think, to what they're trying to accomplish.

Logic and science can exist with the notion of creationism. What is the big bang, then, I ask? Well, it starts by being called a theory...

To demonize anything without having solid evidence yourself to refute it is of the most astute, academic fallacies that can be presented. People should just have more open minds, I suppose.


RE: What a Crock
By sgw2n5 on 6/22/2010 1:26:25 PM , Rating: 2
There is no evidence for creationism. None.

There is a mountain of peer reviewed evidence for evolution, with easily reproducible results.

No matter how anyone tries to spin it... creationism just isn't science.


RE: What a Crock
By MrBlastman on 6/22/2010 1:33:38 PM , Rating: 1
Correct, there is no physical evidence at all. Nada, zip, zilch. It isn't a science at all.

But, a Creationist can still be logical and believe in science. That is what I am getting at. They are out there, and they aren't Fundamentalists either. They routinely question anything and practically everything they believe.

Creationism is just a belief and a faith, but you can't say that it can not ever be proven.

We know evolution is a fact--this much is true and a logical Creationist would never dare argue against it. There is plenty of evidence to support evolution.

The divide exists on the origin of life, where there is zero scientific evidence to prove either viewpoint. It is like pissing up a river that keeps flowing back on you, never getting to where you want it to go.


RE: What a Crock
By sgw2n5 on 6/22/2010 1:47:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Creationism is just a belief and a faith, but you can't say that it can not ever be proven. We know evolution is a fact--this much is true and a logical Creationist would never dare argue against it. There is plenty of evidence to support evolution. The divide exists on the origin of life, where there is zero scientific evidence to prove either viewpoint.


Well... I personally know many creationists who reject every facet of evolution, but your mileage may vary.

And as far as the origin of life... there actually is a fair amount of supportive evidence for abiogenesis (I could send you some literature if you'd like, just give me your email if you are interested), but there is no way to truly re-create (or even know) exact physical conditions of earth 5 billion years ago.

Abiogenesis is speculative at best, and to scientifically "prove" it, you would need to know the exact physical conditions of ancient earth (which can be approximated) but the problem lies with the time frame. A scientist would literally have to let the experiment run for several million years to get the data and prove that it actually occurred.


RE: What a Crock
By GTVic on 6/22/2010 2:03:39 PM , Rating: 2
And I know many people who think the lottery is a solid investment, what's your point?


RE: What a Crock
By Reclaimer77 on 6/22/2010 2:12:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well... I personally know many creationists who reject every facet of evolution, but your mileage may vary.


Evolution isn't the only science on the planet. Do they also not believe in gravity, relativity, and thermodynamic? Do they believe rain is God's tears falling from heaven and not atmospheric condensation? I find that hard to believe.

I mean, I'm trying to stay out of this, but what I'm reading from a lot of you is that if someone doesn't fully buy into the theory of evolution and how man came to be, they are automatically knuckle dragging braindead backwoods inbred worthless lobotomized apes who reject all science and modern advances. Some kind of cave dwellers or something.

You know I really hate Jason Mick for posting articles which intentionally divide the readership and cause arguments based on faith vs. science. When the truth is people with faith enjoy, believe, and benefit from science on a daily basis and they are well aware of it. Is it really THAT important to our daily lives that everyone agree on what happened billions of years ago? I have bigger problems to be honest.


RE: What a Crock
By ClownPuncher on 6/22/2010 2:43:39 PM , Rating: 2
Dude, you are funny. You are probably the #1 poster on DT that sees anyone who disagrees and strait up calls them idiots or retards. Don't put on your middle of the road hat, we all know it is BS.


RE: What a Crock
By Reclaimer77 on 6/22/2010 2:59:30 PM , Rating: 2
Well yeah but those topics are really important. You know, like where we're going not where we've been? This discussion is just an endless, never-to-be-resolved, belief war.

And, oh yeah, you're an idiot Clown :)


RE: What a Crock
By ClownPuncher on 6/22/2010 3:24:10 PM , Rating: 2
Importance is relative. Many people are skeptical of what they are told to put their faith in, whether it be evolution, Christ, Zoroaster, lack of God, Buddha and so on...

I think it is a noble quest to try and find out exactly where we came from and why, and I don't see why anyone should discount anyone elses religious beliefs when there is little proof in any of the teachings that any of them are fact.

My hope is that, whether or not all of this is ever figured out, we can all respect each other and what we choose to put our faith in. (excluding violent fanatics, who should be euthanized)


RE: What a Crock
By Reclaimer77 on 6/22/2010 4:12:10 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
My hope is that, whether or not all of this is ever figured out, we can all respect each other and what we choose to put our faith in. (excluding violent fanatics, who should be euthanized)


Right which is why you came out and called my post BS just because of who I am, not actually what it contained?


RE: What a Crock
By ClownPuncher on 6/22/2010 6:21:08 PM , Rating: 2
You're catching on! Why would someone trust or listen to your values, if you do not apply them to yourself?


RE: What a Crock
By retrospooty on 6/22/2010 5:51:49 PM , Rating: 2
"if someone doesn't fully buy into the theory of evolution and how man came to be, they are automatically knuckle dragging braindead backwoods inbred worthless "

True dat! =)

Evolution happened. That is a fact. We all came from single celled organisms that evolved over the past 4 billion years on earth. Our species has been on earth for appx 150,000 years. If you cant accept that as fact then yes, you are a knuckle dragging braindead backwoods inbred worthless ape.


RE: What a Crock
By teldar on 6/22/2010 5:43:28 PM , Rating: 2
He does say LOGICAL creationists. Which I disagree with.

I can't understand how a creationist can be a scientist, picking and choosing what parts of the body of science they want to accept and what parts they want to throw out the window to support personal religious ideals.
Sounds like knowledge schizophrenia to me.


RE: What a Crock
By GeoK on 6/22/2010 1:43:05 PM , Rating: 2
There is no evidence for life beginning as a series of random actions and reactions; the infamous 1953 experiment "created" some amino acids - nothing else. Nothing convincing has been done since that 1953 experiment. And no one, Dawkins or otherwise, has described, let alone acknowledged, that some mechanism had be behind all of these random events that somehow transformed pond scum to sentient human beings. Speaking of sentient, I've noted that the "scientific" evolutionists don't want to talk much about that same pond scum acquiring consciousness at some point.

I guess I have missed the "mountain" of peer reviewed evidence. I would especially like to see some evidence describing some or all of the myriad of steps involved in going from a few amino acids to sexual reproduction of living cells.

Creationism, as I understand it, does not claim to be science. To me, Creationism describes a subset, if you will, of an ancient, and Holy, record and belief passed down by our Forefathers; well, more correctly, my Forefathers since I believe what has been written and passed on to us.


RE: What a Crock
By sgw2n5 on 6/22/2010 1:57:23 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Speaking of sentient, I've noted that the "scientific" evolutionists don't want to talk much about that same pond scum acquiring consciousness at some point.


There's the problem. You don't understand evolution at all. Nobody claims that pond scum acquired conciousness... NOBODY.

This "pond scum", however, did give rise to very simple life forms that had the ability to self replicate. Over vast amounts of time, mutations were acquired that enabled more and more diverse functions and... blah blah blah

Ya know what? I think I've been trolled. There is NO WAY a biochemist/molecular biologist wouldn't know this.


RE: What a Crock
By GeoK on 6/22/2010 3:19:46 PM , Rating: 2
Ahh - the wonders of anonymous blogs. Rather than come up with concrete facts or statements - the old (and tired)
technique of denigrating the poster is employed. First of all, you can't have your cake and eat it too! It is
intellectually dishonest to say, out of one side of your mouth, well I believe in evolution, and then say, but I don't want to talk about the precursor of all of these evolving animals and organism, to wit: Creation. So - rather than saying something of substance - the statement is made, well poster X must be a troll. The anti-Creationists posting on DT are usually the first to bring up Creation - and the comments on Jason's post match this profile exactly.

And, Creationists, which are constantly being criticized on DT, refers the creation of life. I wasn't the first poster to mention Creationism, I just responded to comments posted before mine. In fact, if the "Facts" are checked - the second commenter is very anti-religious, and by association, anti-Creationist.

Lastly, the old debate technique of changing the subject is also dishonest in my opinion, as in: you did not use the
correct term and thus you must be an idiot (abiogenesis comment). Fortunately, I have a day-time job so none of the negative comments have hurt the least bit!!


RE: What a Crock
By retrospooty on 6/22/2010 9:47:07 PM , Rating: 2
Evolution happened. That is a fact. There is evidence of it all over proven 1000's and 1000's of ways. If you choose to ignore all of that its your business, but DONT be surprised that people think you are stupid for it.


RE: What a Crock
By drycrust3 on 6/22/2010 2:03:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There is no evidence for creationism.


How strange you say this, because wherever I go I see tons and tons of evidence for creation and for after effects of the flood of Noah.
For example, in my country (New Zealand) it is very common to see streams and rivers in an area where once a very large body of water flowed, just as though the whole country was at one time under water and then was raised out of the water quickly, as in "less than a day". This is consistent with the description of events in the Bible, but is inconsistent with current generally accepted theories on geography.
I am quite sure this sort of phenomena is also present in the USA and the rest of the world, although I am also quite sure that if you try hard enough you won't see it.


RE: What a Crock
By MozeeToby on 6/22/2010 3:48:14 PM , Rating: 2
When oil and mining companies start using flood geology to predict the next big find give me a call. Until then, the safe money seems to be with mainstream geology given that it can make useful predictions that investigation then finds correct.

Besides, even if there is evidence for a global flood (which there isn't) that supports creationism in only the most tangential of ways. Proving that parts of the bible are true is trivial, a matter of archeology. That doesn't mean that every word of the bible is factually, literally true. A book can have many pieces of information that are historically accurate while still having other parts that are not.


RE: What a Crock
By drycrust3 on 6/22/2010 10:35:00 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Besides, even if there is evidence for a global flood (which there isn't) that supports creationism in only the most tangential of ways.


Strange, pretty well every country I have been to has signs of a world wide flood. My guess is America does too. As I said before, if you really want to not see the signs, then you won't.

Several months ago I read how some dude decided to see if raw diamonds had any Carbon-14 in them, which, if they were millions of years old, they should not (or more correctly, the amount was less than their instruments could measure). Not only was he surprised to find that there was, but he was even more surprised to find that the age of the raw diamonds was pretty much consistent regardless of the "age" of the fossil layer it was found in. This strongly suggests that the current "age by depth" of fossil layers is wrong, and that all the fossil layers were pretty much laid about the same time.
In addition, with an age of around 80K years, it also suggests that the currently assumed millions of years old ages for fossil layers is also wrong.

My prediction is that when someone finally bothers to check those skeletons for Carbon-14 they will find some. My guess is they will probably be less than 500 years old.


RE: What a Crock
By retrospooty on 6/22/2010 9:52:00 PM , Rating: 2
How strange you say this, because wherever I go I see tons and tons of evidence for creation and for after effects of the flood of Noah.
For example, in my country (New Zealand) it is very common to see streams and rivers in an area where once a very large body of water flowed, just as though the whole country was at one time under water and then was raised out of the water quickly, as in "less than a day". This is consistent with the description of events in the Bible, but is inconsistent with current generally accepted theories on geography.
I am quite sure this sort of phenomena is also present in the USA and the rest of the world, although I am also quite sure that if you try hard enough you won't see it.


Uhh... you do know that the earth is 4.5 billions of years old and the land has literally been turned inside/out several times over due to natural processes, plates shifting, some of which causes massive earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. Every bit of land has been underwater, and every bit of seabed has been dry land at some point.

Its not due to a great flood you heaping fool, its known science and called plate tectonics.


RE: What a Crock
By sgw2n5 on 6/22/10, Rating: 0
RE: What a Crock
By MozeeToby on 6/22/2010 1:45:55 PM , Rating: 5
Based on his comment, he would seem to have problems with Abiogenesis, which further weakens his claim of being a biochemist in my mind since Abiogenesis is a completely different theory that evolution says nothing about. Not to mention his off the cuff remark about evolution breaking the second law of thermodynamics, conveniently leaving off the 'in a closed system' part (which the Earth is not). Without that clause life in general becomes impossible, let alone evolution.


RE: What a Crock
By VitalyTheUnknown on 6/22/2010 3:11:03 PM , Rating: 1
"Based on his comment, he would seem to have problems with Abiogenesis, which further weakens his claim of being a biochemist in my mind since Abiogenesis is a completely different theory that evolution says nothing"
about.


Yep, it is creationist's Achilles' heel, I can detect these trolls from miles away.

"Not to mention his off the cuff remark about evolution breaking the second law of thermodynamics, conveniently leaving off the 'in a closed system' part (which the Earth is not). Without that clause life in general becomes impossible, let alone evolution."

Their thermodynamic argument is a classic misrepresentation of a fundamental scientific concept.
read: http://blog.mlive.com/readreact/2009/01/creationis...
(Creationist's entropy argument)


RE: What a Crock
By BruceLeet on 6/22/2010 3:06:26 PM , Rating: 2
Creationism vs Evolution is much like an algebra word problem: Creationism/Religion starts off on a donkey in Jerusalem going 5mph, Evolution starts off on a jet thousands of years later going 500mph. When will Evolution pass Creationism?


RE: What a Crock
By TeXWiller on 6/22/2010 3:14:45 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
2nd Law of Thermodynamics forces "nature" to move from orderly to disorderly. Meiosis seems to be a pretty orderly process, if someone were to ask me.
This is a pretty ancient troll, if you measure it in the "internet time." It would be nice if the proponents of the intelligent design would come up with a new and refreshing argument, that is, something which couldn't be countered using a high school level education.


So What
By Happy1 on 6/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: So What
By wgbutler on 6/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: So What
By ClownPuncher on 6/22/2010 6:19:49 PM , Rating: 3
I am an unbeliever, yet Christianity does not offend me nor do I attack it.


Still not Dissolved I Guess
By SuckRaven on 6/22/10, Rating: -1
"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins













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