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An artist's rendition of Haplocheirus sollers  (Source: Portia Sloan)

The skull of the beast shows similarities to its cousins, the ancestors of modern birds. However, the creature's lacks some of the bird-like features of later members of the family, showing that the features likely evolved in parallel in both birds and the related dinosaur group.  (Source:
Newly discovered dinosaur shows that in evolution lightning can and does strike twice

A newly discovered dinosaur in the Alvarezsauridae group has revealed that bird-like features likely evolved twice, both in dinosaurs and in the ancestors to modern birds.  Previously, the group was thought to be ancestors of modern birds, rather than evolutionary cousins. 

Describes Jonah Choiniere from George Washington University in an interview with BBC News,  "Haplocheirus is a transitional fossil.  Previously we thought the Alvarezsauridae were primitive, flightless birds. This discovery shows they're not and that the similarities between them evolved in parallel."

Like birds, the group of dinosaurs has fused wrists and loosely assembled skull bones, leading many paleontologists to believe that they might be the ancestors of birds.  The beasts may also have had feathers, according to analysis in the late 90s and onward.

However, anatomical analysis of a 3-meter long nearly complete skeleton of a new species in the group indicates that the group likely diverged from the line of dinosaurs that evolved into birds, and that the bird-like features emerged in parallel, not in series.  The new skeleton was dubbed Haplocheirus sollers and was found in the China's Gobi desert.  The skeleton was noticed by a member of a team excavating in the orange mudstone beds in the Junggar Basin of the Xinjiang province.  The member saw the pelvis of the dinosaur sticking out of the ground -- and the rest of the skeleton was found soon after.

Professor Choiniere describes, the results of the subsequent analysis, stating, "The rest of the members of this group have really short forelimbs with huge muscle attachments, like body-builder arms. The fossil shows the first step in the evolution of this weird arm and claw."

The new dinosaur is thought to have lived 160 million years ago, making it the oldest member of the family found to date.  Birds and Alvarezsauridae likely split not long before the evolution of the new find, say researchers.  Both group s likely are descended from the bird-footed dinosaurs of the early Jurassic, which include such famous members as the T. Rex and Velociraptor.

The new find likely was primarily an insectivore (as evidenced by its small teeth).  Its small claws were quite agile and would have been ideal for digging, leading researchers to speculate it likely ate termites, which were plentiful in its era and locale.  However, that likely didn't stop the versatile reptile from trying different cuisine. Describes Professor Choiniere, "It may have had a very general diet, tackling smaller animals like lizards, very small mammals and very small crocodile relatives.  It was a lightly built animal and could run very quickly."

The new work was reported in the journal Science.

The truly fascinating thing about this find is that it fuels the theory that in evolution lightning can, and likely will strike twice -- similar designs can evolve in parallel out of a common need.  Thus much of the anatomy in science fiction -- such as teeth on the titular Alien or giant wings and feathers of the flying monsters of Avatar -- may be realistic.  If life is found on other planets similar to Earth, it may show striking similarities as our own planet's fossil record indicates.

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By SublimeSimplicity on 2/1/2010 10:28:32 AM , Rating: 2
I know that evolution is proven scientifically and I'm not questioning that. From a microcosm level I can't get my head around the evolution of flight.

Say there's an animal that has usable arms, for balance, climbing, whatever. It's off-spring takes an ever so slight mutation towards flight. Maybe lighter / thinner bones in the arm or the beginning of webbing for wings. Without actual flight (or even slightly greater escape ability), how does this mutation make it base generation 1 to progress? The first step towards flight doesn't seem like a positive mutation for existence.

By Rugar on 2/1/2010 10:42:47 AM , Rating: 5
Hmmm... maybe you are thinking a bit too linearly, but it's a reasonable question. What if the first character to appear were skin folds allowing gliding (As in the flying squirrel). After you assume this, then following characters allowing true flight are adaptive.

By VitalyTheUnknown on 2/1/2010 12:26:51 PM , Rating: 5
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

This film is cheerfully ignorant, manipulative, slanted, cherry-picks quotations, draws unwarranted conclusions, makes outrageous juxtapositions, segues between quotes that are not about the same thing, tells bald-faced lies, etc - Roger Ebert. Chicago Sun-Times.

Ignorance may be bliss, but encouraging it, as Expelled does, ought to be a crime. - Marc Savlov. Austin Chronicle.

Critics rating 10/100

It's worth to watch to have a good laugh, I get it.

By VitalyTheUnknown on 2/1/2010 2:09:46 PM , Rating: 1
"Darwin theorist don't like Intelligent design because it points at all the flaws inherent that all species derived from a single source."

wrong! and stupid.

"Anyone here want to take a guess at how long it would take for you to get a man from an ape if you applied darwinism?"

wrong! and stupid again.

It just shows that you have no idea what evolution is whatsoever. It's not even worth discussing with you this topic, what you said is complete and utter nonsense.

By Thats Mr Gopher to you on 2/1/2010 2:27:19 PM , Rating: 2
I can reply with moronic banter too.

It may, in fact, be what you do best.

By JasonMick on 2/1/2010 4:02:22 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone here want to take a guess at how long it would take for you to get a man from an ape if you applied darwinism?

Consider that the human genome is 98 percent similar to the chimpanzee I would estimate 10-20 million years as a fair guess -- in line with modern evolutionary theory.

You obviously don't understand the basics of molecular biology/genetics. It took a couple of billion years (long time) for organisms to develop useful biochemical pathways and anatomical systems/features. From there it was just tweaking them and refining them to offer subtle improvements over time.

You also don't seem to get that modern evolutionary theory considers random genetic drift, which becomes particularly important when dealing with small isolated populations. Thus while it might take an ape precursor 20 million years typically to evolve into a human or modern ape, it might take a mere 3 or 4 million years to evolve such noticable changes if the population was small and isolated.


None of the 3 have any hard facts. How can any be considered wrong?

I think the previous ops were off base in belittling you, but I agree with them that you don't seem to understand that the vast majority of biochemical, fossil record, genetic, and anatomical evidence is very much in line with modern evolutionary theory. Those arguing otherwise typically use outdated data to fuel their arguments.

For example I read some of the leading intelligent design "argument" compilations like Darwin's Black Box, The Edge of Evolution, Darwin on Trial, and had to stop after a few chapters because of how utterly ridiculous they were (okay I perservered and read all of Darwin's Black Box -- hint it doesn't get any better).

The sources they cite are largely studies from the 60s and 70s -- or earlier even. To base your argument solely on outdated material in such a fast moving field suggests you're trying something squirrely.

And indeed they are. Intelligent design is nothing more than an attempt to cash in on the gullible. Having read the work of its foremost critics, I can say its largely tripe.

There are certainly some questions that remain unexplained, but suggesting that unknowns mean that evolution theory is garbage is as flawed as saying that unproven areas of mathematics mean that 2+2=4 should be thrown out entirely and replaced with a pseudo-theological alternative (2+2=5 perhaps?).

By Mitch101 on 2/1/2010 4:39:14 PM , Rating: 1

Question: "Is the similarity in human/chimp DNA evidence for evolution?"

Answer: In recent years, genome mapping has enabled detailed comparisons between the DNA of humans and that of chimpanzees. Many have claimed that humans and chimpanzees share over 98% of their DNA. This is often taken as decisive evidence of the common ancestry of apes and humans. But is this argument tenable? Is this really a fact which definitively proves a human-chimp common ancestry? It is our contention that the percentage is misleading. In fact, when the data is examined more closely, the human-chimp genome comparisons turn out to contradict what would be predicted by evolution.

In reality, the genetic differences between humans and chimpanzees are probably greater than 2%. More recent studies have shown that the true genetic divergence between humans and apes is probably closer to 5%. Thus, the “over 98% similarity” argument is probably an overstatement.

The differences between the DNA sequence of the human and the chimp are not distributed randomly throughout the genome. Rather, the differences are found in clusters. Actually, at those specific locations, the chimp’s genome is similar to that of other primates. It is the human that stands out from the rest. Scientists often refer to these ‘clusters’ as human accelerated regions (HAR’s) because the human genome supposedly shared a common ancestor with chimps. These HAR’s are located in DNA segments that do not code for genes. But this requires us to believe that evolution just so happened to cause such rapid change to occur in sites where those changes make an important difference in an organism’s functioning necessary to ultimately create a human.

Such would be a whopper of a just-so story. But it gets better. Some HAR’s are found in DNA segments that do code for genes, and herein lies another multitude of difficulties. Evolution would predict that humans evolved from the chimp-human ancestor via natural selection acting on chance variations induced by mutations. However, recent research reveals just the opposite. The HAR’s that were found in protein coding genes showed evidence not of mutations that had been selected in view of their advantageous phenotype, but rather the exact opposite. The genetic changes showed evidence that they were, in point of fact, deleterious. They had become established in the population not because they provided some physiological advantage, but in spite of being deleterious. Such results make little sense within an evolutionary framework.

Clearly the HAR’s show a trend in which the differences observed in the human DNA (as compared to similar species) typically increase the G-C content of that particular region of the DNA strand. Evolution would predict that the G-C content of the underlying gene should remain relatively constant, as natural selection picks out the DNA mutations that improve the protein. If evolution is true, therefore, we should not expect a consistent trend toward an increasing G-C content.

These HAR’s are not always limited simply to the protein coding part of the gene, but often extend beyond the border into the flanking sequences. This further suggests that these differences which are observed in the human DNA are not in fact consequences of natural selection enhancing the protein that the gene encodes. The HAR’s often tend to cluster in a single part of a gene, in and around a single exon (as opposed to across the entire gene), and they tend to correlate with male (but not female) recombination. Such observations make little sense in light of evolution.

In conclusion, as interesting as genetic similarities between chimpanzees and humans are, they are not evidence for Darwinism. Design is also able to explain them. Designers often make different products by utilization of similar parts, materials and arrangements. The common percentage pertains to the regions of our DNA that result in proteins. It makes more sense of the data for the Designer of nature to have used the same proteins to perform the same function in a variety of organisms.

By Keeir on 2/1/2010 7:04:39 PM , Rating: 3
The significant problem with Intelligent Design, Mitch

It all comes down to Faith.

The function of evolution does not require there to be Designer, nor does the function of evolution preclude the possibility of a designer.

Intelligent Design requires you to take it on faith that a Designer made the changes. There can never be proof of this occuring (unless he happened to write a very specific tag line or some such. Maybe in the future we will indeed find a series a genes that serve no other function besides as a signature).

Your examples in the above post may seem great to you, but they in reality say nothing.

Its pretty funny that its suggeted that simply sharing somehwere between 95-98% rather than 98% of the same genes should be considered an arguement against Darwinism.

The existence of genes that currently provide no benifit, or even negative, does not contradict evolution Theory at all, it simply shows that evolution is continuing or the gene itself is not properly understood.

A good example of improper understanding is the common Bee type insect. Vast number of worker bees apparently support a single reproducing queen and a small number of reproducing males. Why would evolution cause such a difference? Surely this is a mistake!?! I mean, a single reproducing female has apparently forced dozens of non-reproducing workers to feed it and take care of it... for no direct gain. Yet it turns out that due to the genetic composition of bee type insects, its in the worker bee's genes' best interest to create -more- worker bees. This is the closest match in terms of genetics to the current worker bee. When colonys of Bee type inspects are tested, the most populous type of bee is almost always the female worker bee. Even when the situation exists that larger numbers of reproductive queens/males could be supported, the tendency of the bee type insect is to maximize the worker population... sense it made. No Faith is needed that for some reason a Design (or Wizard) decide to "Do it that Way".

By Gzus666 on 2/1/2010 8:03:36 PM , Rating: 1
quote: Question: "Is the similarity in human/chimp DNA evidence for evolution?"

Looks like scientists took the liberty of answering your copy and paste job that you apparently have no understanding of, but since it is written by morons who think the bible has answers, you take it as gospel (ironic, I know).

If you care to see someone else discount it...

Basically, you are a puppet. You have no understanding of what you are talking about, so you copy and paste garbage you found on a creationist BS website. If you have evidence evolution doesn't work, present it. Otherwise, you have no argument. Every silly joke of a post on that website has responses from legitimate science studies to show they are false. That is the same website that has the balls to say that the second law of thermodynamics disproves evolution. Of course they don't read the whole law or cherry pick so they can cater to idiots who follow their religion (most likely the latter, since the leaders of such cults tend to be sociopaths) and forget to notice the part about a closed system. Even scarier would be if they didn't know the Earth wasn't a closed system...

Hopefully you can see why I can't take your "evidence" seriously. When you disprove the mechanism of evolution, let me know.

By porkpie on 2/1/2010 11:19:26 PM , Rating: 2
"The genetic changes showed evidence that they were, in point of fact, deleterious. They had become established in the population not because they provided some physiological advantage, but in spite of being deleterious. Such results make little sense within an evolutionary framework."

S****! not this nonsense again. Do you honestly not realize that a particular mutation may be advantageous in one setting, but deleterious in another? A classic example is sickle-cell anemia. In malaria-prone climates, having a single copy of this "defect" provides resistance to malaria. Elsewhere, its just a problem.

Much of our genotype is excess baggage, carried over from millions of years ago. It made sense at the time and place, biologically speaking, but does not today. Trying to use this as 'proof' that some god or gods made is childishly naive.

By jahwarrior on 2/2/2010 12:17:11 PM , Rating: 2
Mathematics destroys the theory of evolution, for example some geneticists estimate it would take 10^1800 positive mutations for a one cell organism to evolve in to an advanced mammal such as a working within the evolutionary time frame that gives us about 10^17 seconds, its mathematically impossible to have 10^1800 mutations within 10^17 seconds…impossible. Not to mention the fact that only 1 in 1,000 mutations are positive and a majority of the other 999 are negative and harmful to the organism.

There is no mode for the modern theory of evolution….mutations aren’t it…neither is Darwin’s pangenesis…actually science destroys the theory again and again…but again like I said evolution is a religion, it is a religious belief, because people like to believe it no matter what the actual science says…..they can’t handle the heat so as soon as somebody questions the sacred theory they launch into all sorts of personal attacks and arguments…instead of showing the actual science behind evolution…that’s right because there is none…..Peace

The best book on creation vs evolution I’ve read is “what is creation science”

By porkpie on 2/2/2010 2:16:22 PM , Rating: 2
"its mathematically impossible to have 10^1800 mutations within 10^17 seconds"

How so? We have several million trillion single-celled organisms on the planet...we're seeing several billion mutations per second among them even today (where do you think new diseases come from anyway?)

Anyway, as for your claim that "some genetistics" calculated this 10^1800, I don't think a couple baptist fanatics count as true scientific experts.

By jahwarrior on 2/2/2010 2:50:32 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong…..single cell organisms do not experience several billion mutations per second, if they did they would be destroyed as only less than 1 in 1,000 mutations are positive, while the majority of the 999 others are negative and will destroy the organism…so if any organism experienced several mutations per second, it would live about another second and die…as well there is no source that could cause that number of mutations, and that would not kill that organism, further more we are lucky that or DNA etc. replicates in a process that was specifically made to avoid mutations as mutations will kill you, ask the millions of people with genetic diseases.… can try the experiment yourself spend a day in front of an x-ray machine and see how that works out for you….mutations aka…the loss of genetic material kills a species it doesn’t cause it to evolve….so no matter if it takes 10^1800 or 10^1,000,000 mutations it doesn’t matter as MUTATIONS CANNOT BE THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND EVOLUTION…..THERE IS NO MODE OF EVOLUTION…ONLY HERESAY AND SPECULATION AND NICE ARTIST DEPICTIONS…EVOLUTION IS A RELIGION

By tmradder on 2/2/2010 3:58:07 PM , Rating: 2
Mutations are not the loss of genetic material. Often SNPs or single nucleotide polymorphisms are mutations. The driving force behind evolution is differential reproduction and survival. The person that commented earlier never said that an organisms experiences several billion mutations per second...amongst all the organisms and their cells you will get several billion, if not trillions and above, mutations per second.

I'd recommend some intro college classes on genetics and evolution as from your posts it seems you lack understanding on many of the broader notions of both topics.

By jahwarrior on 2/2/2010 5:14:33 PM , Rating: 2
"The driving force behind evolution is differential reproduction and survival". NO ITS NOT

.....differential reproduction or aka…natural selection only works on genetic material that already exists it does not create new genetic material or new species (classic peppered moth example, but no new species or genetic material was created, the moth is still a moth whether it is black or white, as the genes for the differentiation in color already existed in the moths genetic code) Natural selection just shows how species survive through breeding aka the environment favors certain genetic traits that ALREADY EXSIST IN THE GENTIC CODE, it does not create new species or create new genetic material

maybe it is you that should take some basic biology classes….and get your evolution story straight…

or you could be like my college evolutionary biology professor and say “evolution is just the rearranging of alleles” LOL

By tmradder on 2/2/2010 7:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
You IDiot... Just having a large amount of genetic variability does not drive evolution. Did they actually give you a degree at that college?

Natural selection is the driving force of evolution. It WORKS on the variability of the population. If you don't understand that concept then re-take that class with a better teacher as it is a foundation pillar of the science. I'm sure there are some community colleges around you.

Mutations and reorganization of parts of genomes create new traits in are more than welcome to look at current "evolve before your eyes" studies on HIV. Look at studies in protein folding with mutations in key areas of a genome. You must be incredibly foolish or arrogant to assume that

Get a subscription to Science or Nature if the language isn't too advanced.

By tmradder on 2/2/2010 7:43:07 PM , Rating: 2
Oh...and still waiting for that geneticist

By jahwarrior on 2/3/2010 1:16:26 PM , Rating: 2
The Mathematical Impossibility of Evolution (Henry Morris PHD)

According to the most-widely accepted theory of evolution today, the sole mechanism for producing evolution is that of random mutation combined with natural selection. Mutations are random changes in genetic systems. Natural selection is considered by evolutionists to be a sort of sieve, which retains the "good" mutations and allows the others to pass away.

Since random changes in ordered systems almost always will decrease the amount of order in those systems, nearly all mutations are harmful to the organisms which experience them. Nevertheless, the evolutionist insists that each complex organism in the world today has arisen by a long string of gradually accumulated good mutations preserved by natural selection. No one has ever actually observed a genuine mutation occurring in the natural environment which was beneficial (that is, adding useful genetic information to an existing genetic code), and therefore, retained by the selection process. For some reason, however, the idea has a certain persuasive quality about it and seems eminently reasonable to many people—until it is examined quantitatively, that is!

For example, consider a very simple putative organism composed of only 200 integrated and functioning parts, and the problem of deriving that organism by this type of process. The system presumably must have started with only one part and then gradually built itself up over many generations into its 200-part organization. The developing organism, at each successive stage, must itself be integrated and functioning in its environment in order to survive until the next stage. Each successive stage, of course, becomes statistically less likely than the preceding one, since it is far easier for a complex system to break down than to build itself up. A four-component integrated system can more easily "mutate" (that is, somehow suddenly change) into a three-component system (or even a four-component non-functioning system) than into a five-component integrated system. If, at any step in the chain, the system mutates "downward," then it is either destroyed altogether or else moves backward, in an evolutionary sense.

Therefore, the successful production of a 200-component functioning organism requires, at least, 200 successive, successful such "mutations," each of which is highly unlikely. Even evolutionists recognize that true mutations are very rare, and beneficial mutations are extremely rare—not more than one out of a thousand mutations are beneficial, at the very most.

But let us give the evolutionist the benefit of every consideration. Assume that, at each mutational step, there is equally as much chance for it to be good as bad. Thus, the probability for the success of each mutation is assumed to be one out of two, or one-half. Elementary statistical theory shows that the probability of 200 successive mutations being successful is then (½)200, or one chance out of 1060. The number 1060, if written out, would be "one" followed by sixty "zeros." In other words, the chance that a 200-component organism could be formed by mutation and natural selection is less than one chance out of a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion! Lest anyone think that a 200-part system is unreasonably complex, it should be noted that even a one-celled plant or animal may have millions of molecular "parts."

The evolutionist might react by saying that even though any one such mutating organism might not be successful, surely some around the world would be, especially in the 10 billion years (or 1018 seconds) of assumed earth history. Therefore, let us imagine that every one of the earth's 1014 square feet of surface harbors a billion (i.e., 109) mutating systems and that each mutation requires one-half second (actually it would take far more time than this). Each system can thus go through its 200 mutations in 100 seconds and then, if it is unsuccessful, start over for a new try. In 1018 seconds, there can, therefore, be 1018/102, or 1016, trials by each mutating system. Multiplying all these numbers together, there would be a total possible number of attempts to develop a 200-component system equal to 1014 (109) (1016), or 1039 attempts. Since the probability against the success of any one of them is 1060, it is obvious that the probability that just one of these 1039 attempts might be successful is only one out of 1060/1039, or 1021.

All this means that the chance that any kind of a 200-component integrated functioning organism could be developed by mutation and natural selection just once, anywhere in the world, in all the assumed expanse of geologic time, is less than one chance out of a billion trillion. What possible conclusion, therefore, can we derive from such considerations as this except that evolution by mutation and natural selection is mathematically and logically indefensible!

By tmradder on 2/3/2010 8:49:32 PM , Rating: 2
You just cited a hydraulic engineer....since when did someone with a degree in hydraulic engineering be considered a geneticist? Perhaps you don't under stand how degree and specialized knowledge works?

First of all he makes a critical error in his "math." He's stating that all 200 mutations occur at the SAME TIME in the same organism and cannot occur in a stepwise fashion over populations. If you understood evolution you would know that for mutations to create new genetic information they DO NOT have to occur at the exact same time. Maybe you need some statistical and mathematical refresher courses as well.

Next horrible creationist example please! You're making it too easy to show how awful the foundations of creation and id are.

If that is the best you can do maybe you should forego retaking college classes and reconsider high school biology.

Oh...and STILL waiting for that geneticist.

By straycat74 on 2/1/2010 3:39:16 PM , Rating: 3
Ebert on "Inconvenient Truth"
Am I acting as an advocate in this review? Yes, I am. I believe that to be " impartial " and " balanced " on global warming means one must take a position like Gore's. There is no other view that can be defended.

Ebert on Creationism
That wise man Mark Twain told us: "In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from others." This is true. It is even sometimes true of me. Perhaps of you. However, there are certain areas in which I consider myself an authority, like the movies. I have devoted years to learning about the Theory of Evolution. I think Creationism is superstitious poppycock.

He claims himself as an expert in movies, and therefore creationism is 'poppycock'. And the Mark Twain comment is odd because most of what we know is second hand information. Unless you consider first hand information when you read something someone else wrote.

By Keeir on 2/1/2010 7:10:45 PM , Rating: 2
No offense StrayCat.

I understand your point.

But you quote of Ebert clear states

"I have devoted years to learning about the Theory of Evolution."

One would presume, he has spent years reading the direct works for Darwin and Evolutionary Scientists, rather than relying on say National Geographic or DailyTech. His understanding or views may be wrong, but a case can be made that there is a significant difference between a Christian who has never directly read the Bible and one who has read it cover to cover several times in terms of their ability to speak about the Bible.

By straycat74 on 2/2/2010 9:43:35 AM , Rating: 1
The point is this. Ebert was used as a review for the movie. It would be like a holocaust denier reviewing Schindler's list. He has so much contempt and anger, it is sad.
"I have devoted years to learning about the Theory of Evolution."

1.I will assume, based on his attitude, that he didn't spend much time reading any objective criticism of evolution. If only he would look at it with his critics eye, then his opinion would carry more weight.

2.Al Gore has devoted many years to global warming, sorry old terminology, global climate change.

Side note, I am a believer in the global climate constant. I believe it never changes. It's always sunny and 80 here.

By tmradder on 2/1/2010 11:35:57 PM , Rating: 1
I think you mean unintelligent design...

Why do humans have blind spots and squids don't? Shouldn't squids get the blind spots?

Why do we children (even in the womb) get cancer? Did the designer give us faulty DNA?

How many women would die from natural child birth? Shouldn't if be very close to zero if we are designed?

Why do mammals have much "leakier" mitochondria than birds? Shouldn't humans get the most of our food?

Shouldn't a creator give humans the best parts or is the creator itself flawed?

I'll keep going with bad designs if you really want me to....

By sld on 2/2/2010 9:42:22 AM , Rating: 1
You're asking philosophical, not scientific, questions.

Humans vs squids: Why "should" squids get the blind spots? Why "should" not have 360° vision?

Cancer, DNA: Why is cancer so prevalent in the world today if we're supposed to evolve for the better? Why are we saving the cancer patients, aren't they hampering the evolution of the human race?

So yep, very philosophical indeed.

The answer, if you really want to read it, is in the Bible, Genesis chapter 3. Imperfection and pain and suffering in this world is a consequence of mankind's (represented by Adam) obstinate refusal to acknowledge and worship God.

By sld on 2/2/2010 9:43:32 AM , Rating: 2
Correction: Why "should" humans get 360° vision?

By tmradder on 2/2/2010 12:35:47 PM , Rating: 2
Yes I am arguing that the paradigm of intelligent design is inherently flawed if there are imperfections in any of the "designs." I thought that intelligent design wasn't related to christian faith...perhaps you are getting creationism and id confused?

Why do other mammals get blind spots?...did they piss off the "creator" as well? Or were all mammals lumped together? One must assume they they would have all been created without the defect.

Who says evolution always works for the "better"? Have you taken grade school biology?

By bug77 on 2/1/2010 10:50:18 AM , Rating: 2
Look at going from sea to land. It started with short incursions and went from there. Like the other guy said, it probably started with gliding,

By UNCjigga on 2/1/2010 11:16:43 AM , Rating: 2
I think it's a bit more complicated than that--which is precisely why a find like this is so big. It doesn't make sense for these mutations to develop in series as an all-or-nothing approach; it would make a lot more sense for slight mutations to develop in parallel while the "ancestral" subspecies is still living. So, dinos and birds could have developed in parallel with similar characteristics, but perhaps the cold-blooded/reptilian line didn't adapt as well as the warm-blooded/avian line. Rather than have the entire tree die off, various branches could survive and thrive while others did not. Going back to the example of flightless birds, perhaps those that couldn't fly needed to grow larger to run faster/avoid predators, and as a result no longer needed a flight capability, while the smaller ones needed flight to survive. They could have developed in parallel.

By gamerk2 on 2/1/2010 3:50:50 PM , Rating: 2

Remember, flight takes a LOT of energy to sustain, so if its not needed, its a major evolutionary disadvantage. So its no surprise that flightless species are discovered from time to time.

By amanojaku on 2/1/2010 11:04:15 AM , Rating: 2
Why limit this to flight? Whales know to hold their breath when underwater; maybe the first ones drowned? It seems like evolution is a trial and error process, and not something planned. Each creature on Earth is like a general purpose CPU; each one has basic capabilities (physiology) that can be enhanced with software (behavior, which is the combination of intelligence and experience). But unlike CPUs biology isn't precise; children from the same genetic source are built differently from each other, for unknown reasons.

A bird might have have wings, but it doesn't know it can fly. It has to be taught (behavior), which is what the parents do. But the body has to be capable (physiology), otherwise it could lead to death of the individual, and eventually the species. Since each generation consists of various types of bodies and each parent has varied experience and teaching ability it leads to offspring with various capacities. Those who CAN survive, those who CAN'T die. The ones who survive likely have the required mutations, e.g. stronger wings, light weight body, feathers, etc...

My personal feeling is that mutations occurred first and creatures learned to exploit them. As more creatures developed similar mutations they eventually became characteristics of new species. Just a theory, anyway.

By MozeeToby on 2/1/2010 11:46:14 AM , Rating: 2
Don't forget instincts as a source of behavior; they evolve just like body shape and can take a long time to change, even after the behaviors they program no longer work for the current body shape. I can't remember the name, but I remember reading about a flightless bird that would still climb trees and jump off when confronted with an unexpected predator. Predators are extremely rare on the island they live on, so it was never selected against. Sad and hilarious at the same time.

By Flunk on 2/1/2010 12:11:43 PM , Rating: 2
That's a flightless parrot from New Zealand, the Kakapo.

By wrekd on 2/2/2010 9:28:44 AM , Rating: 1
I like you're idea, but don't forget to take into account bacteria, viruses, and parasites. They are known for transferring genetic material between species. We're not even the same genetic creature throughout our own lives.

By MozeeToby on 2/1/2010 11:04:57 AM , Rating: 5
This is known among creationists as 'irreducible complexity'; since evolution is a gradual process and some structures require all their components to be present in order to work that must mean there is something wrong with evolution. "What use is half an eye?" is a question that is frequently asked.

The answer is that the current system does something that the individual components didn't when they first evolved. With the eye, it's clear to see that a light sensitive patch of skin could be a clear advantage over no light sensitivity at all. Then it's easy to see how a simple transparent dome could at least determine direction, even if it couldn't focus properly. And so on.

Assuming the first flying birds were tree climbers, any mutation that increases the survival chances of a fall could be selected for, including mutations that increase surface area (glide surfaces, wings, feathers) or reduce weight (thinner bones, smaller size). Once falling has become safe enough to use as an escape mechanism, it's easy to see how gliding can be selected for. And, depending on how the glide surface evolved its easy to see how gliding becomes flying.

By SublimeSimplicity on 2/1/2010 11:28:37 AM , Rating: 2
Assuming the first flying birds were tree climbers, any mutation that increases the survival chances of a fall could be selected for, including mutations that increase surface area (glide surfaces, wings, feathers) or reduce weight (thinner bones, smaller size). Once falling has become safe enough to use as an escape mechanism, it's easy to see how gliding can be selected for. And, depending on how the glide surface evolved its easy to see how gliding becomes flying.

Thanks. This fills in the voids a bit more that I can see a path through random mutations / determinate selection for flight.

By Keeir on 2/1/2010 7:25:40 PM , Rating: 2
Something that I think people in general have difficulty with also is the vast number of generations involved.

Humans have changed ALOT in the past 10,000 years. And humans have a relatively long generational change cycle at ~20 years.

Consider the changes wrought amoung our Canine Friends... (directed evolution to be sure, but significant changes in size, bone structure, coloring, coat, eye/nose sensitivity, etc) in 5 x 10^2 generations

A typical period of time in the Jurassic Age (covers around 55 million years if I recall) boils down to roughly 5 millions or so... Even with relatively long Generation gaps of 10 years, we are still left with 5 x 10^5 generations, or literally 1000 times greater than the above Dog example. (For example, if you would take the difference between a Pug and a Poodle, and expand that 1,000! times, thats a very significant difference... in very short geological time)

By PresidentThomasJefferson on 2/2/2010 2:51:05 AM , Rating: 2
yep, great post. it's how gliding squirrels with their huge gliding 'wings' evolved too

By Chernobyl68 on 2/1/2010 1:58:08 PM , Rating: 2
I suppose that's why birds still have weight-bearing legs, and use arms/wings to fly.

By VitalyTheUnknown on 2/1/2010 11:41:33 AM , Rating: 3
"just as many scientists believe a creator or some kind exists as do the opposite"


Level of support for evolution:

By Mitch101 on 2/1/2010 1:57:35 PM , Rating: 1
Well hell if its on Wikipedia it might as well be bible script.

By Thats Mr Gopher to you on 2/1/2010 2:25:05 PM , Rating: 3
Hehe, they should rewrite the Bible - Wikipedia style. Would be interesting.

By Cuddlez on 2/1/2010 6:36:11 PM , Rating: 2
Probably not exactly what your thinking but:

By JediJeb on 2/1/2010 2:32:36 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's funny that the Wiki there makes so much reference to Nobel Prize winners signing on, yet even Al Gore has won a Nobel Prize. Overall since they don't mention which 72 Nobel Prize winners signed on, it doesn't lend much power to their argument.

I will say that a majority of scientist do believe in evolution. There are also many that I personally know that believe in creationism but would not say it openly because of fear of being ostricized by peers. As long as there are "agendas" on either side it will be hard to know the truth of how the scientist are divided. Just as it was promoted by the UN that the majority of scientist backed human caused global warming, it is now becoming evident that the majority was not so solid and that those who promoted it most were using deceitful means to reinforce their position because they did not have the solid numbers they claimed. Even in the Wiki linked above one says 99.9% back evolution and another then says it is 95%. 5% of all scientist in the world is a fairly large number when you think about it, and I am sure there are more than 480,000 scientist in the world as the Wiki references.

The Wiki article also states that Intelligent Design is called a pseudo science because its theories can not be tested or proved. Yet if someone shows evidence that would question evolution then it must simply be an anomoly or bad data. As someone said above, if you refuse to hear the questions to you theory, then your science has become a religion. Any scientist who can not handle questions to his theories isn't much of a scientist.

Why not teach every idea on how life and the universe came into being, if one is scientifically sound and the other is not then the good one should win. If you are afraid to hear out the opposing sides then you must not have much faith in what you believe is true whether you are on the evolution side or the creationist side or the intelligent design side. Scientist not allowing debate kept us from teaching that the world was a sphere and not flat for many many years. And no it wasn't just the Church that kept that debate down, scientist from all over the world did not want to be proven wrong by a few new upstarts.

By VitalyTheUnknown on 2/1/2010 3:42:09 PM , Rating: 2
Forgive me for my curt response that may seem rude to you, but if you have any interest in evolution and science and you have 10 minutes to spend, just watch this short clip that has some of the answers as to why biologists, chemist etc. treat intelligent design proponents as cunning scam.

And that is just one example.

By MattCoz on 2/1/2010 3:15:12 PM , Rating: 2
The existence of a creator and evolution are not mutually exclusive.

By Fritzr on 2/2/2010 4:14:17 AM , Rating: 2
Using the theory of irreducible complexity. A creator capable of designing and building the universe is far more complex than our universe. Such a creature probably did not arise by spontaneous creation. However an alternative theory about how the current universe came to be relies only on beating the odds when scrambling chemicals.

Given a choice between (1) A creator who is to complex to arise spontaneously and (2) a creation that is full of flaws, extraneous features and exhibits change over time in it's creatures.

I think the Creationist argument about irreducible complexity favors evolution. Darwinian evolution does NOT require that a creator create itself. All evolution requires is that failed designs do not survive.

It is possible that a creator designed a universe, set it loose and sat back to watch. There is nothing to prevent God playing billiards. It is just that the method used to fashion creatures appears to be what we call Darwinian evolution.

By xmichaelx on 2/1/2010 6:39:03 PM , Rating: 2
I have researched both evolution and creation...

Researching creation [sic] must have taken you seconds of mind-bending reading!

(But seriously, creationism is boundless and therefore untestable using any method other than a time machine. At least evolution has a fossil record backed up by geology, chemistry, oceanography, and atmospheric sciences.)

By davepermen on 2/1/2010 11:35:40 AM , Rating: 2
sometimes animals had to jump quite far, or from high down. those that where better for gliding survived and mated afterwards.

if the population was small, and the amount of needed jumps quite high (living in trees, living in chaotic mountains, what ever), they quickly started to cut out anything not being suitable to jump far/glide and survive.

next step is jumping further / flying.

when ever evolution sounds strange on how it could add something new, i think of removing something old instead.

think of lemmings. when everything not sutable for a task died, the rest is "evolution".

By banthracis on 2/1/2010 2:47:14 PM , Rating: 2
Mutation to have lighter bones. Allows offspring to jump further, run faster and results in a higher life expectancy and greater ability to reproduce.

Offspring down the road continue to grow lighter, add in a mutation that allows webbing to grow between limbs.

Offspring now have rudimentary gliding abilities, further allowing them to escape predators.

Advantages of flight are selected for as it increases by ability to escape predators and raise young in area's inaccessible to those without flight.

Follow this line and you get flight.

By gamerk2 on 2/1/2010 3:54:29 PM , Rating: 2
Except for one flaw: Flight takes a lot of energy. As such, if there is no need for flight, it is in fact a major disadvantage. So for the trait of flight to advance, there must also be a reason to USE flight [escape from preditors, extra food source, etc]. Other then that, your thesis is correct.

By Slyne on 2/1/2010 3:30:34 PM , Rating: 2
Most evolutions have no direct effects, that is they don't help an individual thrive nor do they make its life more difficult. However many descendants continue that lineage. Each individual at birth then inherits myriads of features that make it unique. At some point a feature or a combination of features suddenly make an individual more likely to feed, breed, adapt to the environment, etc... Even then it may not pay off, because say a predator ate the particular individual in the nest, or some other inherited feature made the individual less likely to thrive, or another individual concurrently came with an even better feature, etc

But if that individual manages to breed, and its uniqueness gives it a 1% chance to better survive than other individuals of its species, then it becomes a number game until its kind takes over the species, at least locally. For instance, 1,000 generations later that individual will have more than 20,000 times as many descendants than any 'regular' member of its species; and since most species breed every year, 1,000 generations may not take that long in perspective.

As for your example, if lighter bones were not detrimental to the survival of the individuals who had them, and if webbed fingers were not detrimental either then eventually came an individual with both, endowed with primitive flight (or glide as was suggested by another poster), and that gave it a heck of an advantage over the other members of the species.

By foolsgambit11 on 2/1/2010 5:17:03 PM , Rating: 2
Darwin talked about this in the Origin of Species. He used several mammals with varying adaptations to show that there was an evolutionary advantage to a wide range of gliding/flight adaptations. For instance, take "flying" squirrels, who can glide between trees thanks to the extra skin between their arms and legs, which could gradually have grown to its present size, each enlargement giving the squirrel a greater and greater advantage. I think he had 3 or 4 animals in his list of gliders/flyers, ending with bats, which can fly in the fullest sense of the word. All of which combines to demonstrate that there is an evolutionary advantage for every step on the path to flight, since these animals currently survive and thrive in their individual habitats. For birds, I think he briefly mentions the possibility that the wings could originally have been a swimming adaptation, but I think he was probably off from a historical standpoint. Theoretically, it makes sense - start with a penguin, then go to something that "hops" along the surface of the water, barely getting airborne for a few seconds, to full flight. But I think historically, penguins lost the ability to fly, rather than being a precursor to it.

The most interesting thing about reading the Origin of Species is that all of the arguments used against speciation when he published are the same arguments used today. He addresses concerns about special capabilities like flight, the development of complex organs like the eye, the lack of modern intermediate forms between species, the lack of evidence in the fossil record, the development of instinct simultaneous with changes in form, &c, &c. While he didn't get everything right (we believe now), and much of his analysis was through analogy more than direct evidence, the principle he (and others) developed has continued to be our best scientific explanation for the origin of modern species for 150 years. And the principle is so simple - life always varies, and the most fit variations survive - while the results are so complex.

By kroker on 2/1/2010 10:18:01 PM , Rating: 2
From what I know evolution is not proven (though there is more and more evidence supporting it all the time), it's just a theory. It's just that it's the only explanation which makes sense so far. Even Darwin said that if we find a better explanation we should throw evolution out the window.

As for me, I don't really understand why there is the requirement that a new trait needs to be proven useful for it to survive. I think that luck plays a good role in evolution too. Or maybe the individual with the new trait happened to have other advantages as well (faster, stronger, better techniques for avoiding predators etc). Isn't it possible that a new trait doesn't have to prove necessarily useful for it to perpetuate? Or that the new trait proved useful in a way which isn't apparent to us now?

So far there is only one certain thing: life exists, and has existed for millions of years, whether we understand how it appeared and how it got to be the way it is or not (and, you know, we would really like to, so we try to guess the most likely scenarios). Feel free to come with better explanations if you have any.

By Fritzr on 2/2/2010 4:23:56 AM , Rating: 2
If the trait does not make any difference to survival, then you may well see 2 populations following the appearance of the neutral trait. 1 with the new trait and 1 without it. In early times the new trait is at risk of disappearing since it will appear in a small number of individuals. If their population grows, maybe better feeding grounds where this trait appeared, then it will spread.

For real world examples look at humans and bears among others.

By porkpie on 2/1/2010 11:23:22 PM , Rating: 2
"Without actual flight (or even slightly greater escape ability), how does this mutation make it base generation 1 to progress? "

I would imagine it went from gliding to flying. Small creatures developed the escape trait of jumping from trees or rock formations. Eventually their ancestors began to glide (aka modern flying squirrels) and from thence to actual flight.

It's just like the old "how did the eye develop" question that creationists keep trying to throw out to disprove evolution. A fully functioning, focusing eye isn't necessary to provide some benefit. It began as a few light-sensitive cells, which eventually evolved to something that could detect patterns and movement, and then to fully formed eyes.

By AbsShek on 2/2/2010 8:14:26 AM , Rating: 2
It seems that what you are thinking about is the evolution of wings made from loose skin. Do bear in mind that the birds in question here use their feathers for flight, not the skin on their wings.

Feathers could have well been evolved from spine like hairs (similar to porcupine quills) which slowly and later sprouted fur like structures that provided the required air resistance. Also, the evolution of flight itself would have evolved from using these "wings", and flapping them wildly to gain a forward thrust to get away from the predators. The perfect current world example is the chicken, as you will notice they don't really fly too far, and mostly flap wildly when running.

Now we come to the Darwinian statement "survival of the fittest". The "bird ancestor" that managed to get away from the predators using this "flapping" (flapping could also scare them away because of the noise), got to live long enough to mate with multiple mates and spread the desired "wing gene". (Don't use the "spreading genes" as a pick-up line, it doesn't work)

The wings may not always have served the purpose of flight, but may have been re-purposed and then refined in later generations. All in all, it got to where it is now because it kept them alive somehow, not because flight was planned.

Disclaimer: I know I'm stressing on evolution over intelligent design. I just want to say that I am not trying to disprove anyone, just providing an my opinion and explanation to the valid and good question raised above.

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