Archive of items from Evidence News

Who is allowed to study what dinosaur?As Stegosaur plates claimed to reveal sex, reveal a lot more, according to reports in ScienceDaily and Science (AAAS) News 22 April 2015, BBC News and ABC News in Science 23 April and PLoS doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123503. Evan Saitta of the University of Bristol has spent six summers helping to excavate a “graveyard” of stegosaurs in Montana USA. He noticed that the back plates of the animals had two distinct shapes, even though they were all classified as belonging to the one species Stegosaurus mjosi. Some of the plates were wide oval shapes and others were narrow and tall.

Saitta compared the plates with other specimens of the same species housed in various museums, and found similar variation. It was possible that the difference was due to different stages of growth, but microscopic examination of the bones of the new specimens indicated they were all fully grown.

Saitta suggests the shape differences represent sexual dimorphism – differences between the two sexes of one species, with the larger oval plates belonged to the males as they had a larger surface area. Saitta explained: “We know from modern animals that males typically invest more into their ornaments than do the females. In this case, the broader variety reaches sizes 45% larger in surface area than do the tall plates. And I argue that these wide plates would create a great ‘billboard’ for male stegosaurs if they were using them to attract a mate”.

Paul Barrett of the Natural History Museum in London says the results are “not quite watertight for me - not yet”. He went on to say, “I'd like to see a lot more information on the graveyard site itself, the different sizes of the specimens, how they were arranged in the ground, more detail on the geology, and on the analyses that were done. But it is interesting because it would add to the debate on what the plates were for. Sexual dimorphism is something we see a lot in modern animals, although it’s not particularly prevalent in living reptiles or in living birds”.

The Natural History Museum is currently studying various Stegosaur plate theories, including assessing whether the plates were strong enough for defence.

Some other scientists have also questioned the study, but the most scathing criticism came from Kevin Padian, a palaeontologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who says the Montana specimens should not be used because they are the property of a private organisation, the Judith River Dinosaur Institute. Padian commented: “These are private specimens and the ethics of our profession are you do not publish on them”. He went on to say “It doesn’t matter that they call themselves the Judith River Dinosaur Institute or whatever the hell that is. Those specimens are not in the public trust”.

Saitta responded that it doesn’t matter who owns them, but whether they can be studied. He commented: “These stegosaurs are accessible and always will be accessible. I want people to focus on the science”.

ABC, BBC, ScienceDaily, Science

Editorial Comment: So now you know folks, if it is in a creation museum, owned by creationists or anyone outside the evolutionist system, the rules of the profession are that you don’t study it or comment on it, no matter how good it is! And you thought scientists were only interested in the evidence?

Padian’s attack on Saitta for researching specimens held by a private institute is irrational. Saitta is correct, it doesn’t matter who owns a fossil, it is still evidence. We wonder if Padian objects to private ownership of fossils because that means they can be studied by people who are not dependent on government or university funding, and therefore do not need to conform to the prevailing beliefs about fossils, including evolution. (We are not claiming that Saitta does not believe in evolution.)

This study fits with other research indicating that Stegosaur plates and other dinosaur excrescences such as frills and horns were designed for display and communication, and other peaceful purposes, rather than offence and defence in Darwin’s war of nature. There is also evidence that bony plates and frills were involved in thermoregulation (heat control). It will be interesting to see what the Natural History Museum concludes from their study. (Ref. dinosaurs, reptiles, fossils, growth)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 6
29 April 2015
Creation Research Australia

Swimming with ammonites, as reported in ScienceDaily 7 April and Paleobiology, 2015; 1 doi: 10.1017/pab.2014.17. A team of researchers led by René Hoffmann of Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have examined fossil ammonites with high resolution CT scans in order to work out whether these creatures had enough buoyancy to swim like a modern day nautilus. A nautilus has a spiral shell consisting of a series of chambers. The animal itself lives in the outermost chamber, with the others being filled with gas, giving it the buoyancy needed to float in the water column. As the animal grows it adds more chambers, which means it maintains enough buoyancy to match the increasing mass of its body plus the shell. Ammonites also consisted of a series of chambers arranged in a spiral, but there has been some debate as to whether they swam like a nautilus or lived on the bottom of the sea. The scientists have used the CT scans to calculate the volume of gas in the chambers as well as get an accurate measure of the mass of the shell. They estimated the mass of the animal based on studies of living nautiluses. They concluded that ammonites had enough gas filled chambers to enable them to swim freely in the water column throughout their lives.

ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: The living nautilus is an example of brilliant design. Even though it has a heavy shell it can float freely in the water column because of the gas filled chambers. It can also move up and down by altering its

buoyancy by injecting or removing fluid from the gas filled chambers. In other words, it had neutral buoyancy mechanisms before we designed submarines to do the same. It is good to see evidence that ammonites, which were always considered a type of extinct nautilus, seemed to have the same abilities. The nautilus is also a good example of a living fossil, since it is claimed oldest fossils are just like living ones. In other words, they have not evolved, but have multiplied after their kind. Although ammonites are extinct they show no evidence of having ever been any other creature. The oldest dated ammonite is a fully formed ammonite. We wonder how evolutionists think that free swimming shelled creatures in ‘natural submarines’ evolved from bottom dwelling shelled creatures? It is not enough to randomly evolve a gas filled chamber. That is no use to the creature unless it knows how to control it. The evidence shows that ammonites were always fully functioning creatures that multiplied after their kind until they became extinct as part of the general degeneration of the world following man’s sin and God’s judgement. (Ref. design, fossils, marine biology, molluscs)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 6
29 April 2015
Creation Research Australia

Lucy’s laughable baboon bone, reported in an article in New Scientist 10 April 2015. Gary Sawyer and Mike Smith at the American Museum of Natural History in New York along with Scott Williams at New York University have been working on a new reconstruction of the famous “Lucy” skeleton, described by New Scientist as “arguably the world’s most famous early human fossil”.

The researchers noted that one of the vertebral bone fragments did not fit with the rest of the bone fragments of the spine. They compared the bone with vertebral bones of other animals known to have lived in the Hadar region, where Lucy was found, and found the best fit was with a baboon.

Scott Williams explained: “Baboons were a close match, both in shape and size, so we think we’ve solved this mystery. It seems that a fossil gelada baboon thoracic vertebra washed or was otherwise transported in the mix of Lucy’s remains”.

New Scientist

Editorial Comment: So the impression you got from text books and the museum displays, was they found an intact skeleton of Lucy? Note carefully then the comment that the aberrant bone was “washed or was otherwise transported in the mix of Lucy's remains”. This is an admission that “Lucy” never was a whole skeleton, but actually a collection of disconnected bone fragments that had been moved about in flowing sediment.

Furthermore, never forget that even the scientists who found them classified them as an ape. The scientific name for Lucy is Australopithecus afarensis, which means “southern ape from Afar”.

What else can be said about the new baboon bone? Baboons are Old World Monkeys and they do currently live in the regions where the Lucy bones were found. Therefore, it seems that all that has happened is that a monkey bone has been mistakenly included in a collection of ape bones.

This finding is a good reality check about so-called “early human fossils”. Although they are invariably portrayed in museums and the media as whole functioning creatures with a mix of ape and human features, in reality they are collections of fragments that are embedded in an imaginary story made up by people who don’t want to face the fact human beings are unique creations made in the image of God, and are therefore accountable to God.

And yes, Prof Lovejoy’s TV comments from years ago that Lucy died and fell into a swamp and was stood on by a water-bufflo, so her hip bones were distorted to resemble a chimp pelvis instead of its man like pelvis are just as stupid today as they always have been. Read the transcript of Owen Lovejoy describing his “reconstruction” of the Lucy pelvis here. (Ref. anthropology, Australopithecines, ape-men)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 5
15 April 2015
Creation Research Australia

Flood rafting lizards, reported in articles in ScienceDaily 31 March and Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 1 April 2015. Worm lizards (scientific name Amphisbaenia) are small burrowing lizards that are found on five different continents. Evolutionary biologists usually explain animals with such a widespread distribution in terms of continental drift.

Scientists from the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Yale University and George Washington University have studied worm lizard fossils and DNA from living worm lizards, and concluded that they “evolved rapidly and expanded to occupy new habitats around 65 million years ago”. This is considered to be after the original supercontinent Pangea broke up, and therefore the lizards could not have reached their widely dispersed locations by continental drift.

Nick Longrich, one of the researchers from the University of Bath, explained: “Continental drift clearly can’t explain the patterns we’re seeing. Continental breakup was about 95 million years ago, and these animals only became widespread 30 million years later. It seems highly improbable not only that enough of these creatures could have survived a flood clinging to the roots of a fallen tree and then travelled hundreds of miles across an ocean, but that they were able to thrive and flourish in their new continent. But having looked at the data, it is the only explanation for the remarkable diversity and spread of not just worm lizards, but nearly every other living thing as well”.

The idea that animals could be spread between land masses by drifting on rafts of vegetation and debris is not new. Darwin suggested it as a method of dispersion of species, along with migration across land bridges.

ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: For once we agree with Darwin, but not with his or any current evolutionists’ timetables. The idea of lizards riding rafts rather than moving with the continents to be dispersed around the world is not far-fetched, and it doesn’t take millions of years.

In fact, this is probably one of the ways many small land dwelling animals, especially small reptiles and invertebrates, spread out after Noah’s flood. After the flood, during the time when animals were spreading out from the Ark, storms, local floods and land upheavals would have ripped up trees and other vegetation, which would have carried any small creatures living amongst it along rivers to the sea. Reptiles can survive for many months without food, and can go into a dormant state in tough conditions. Therefore, they could survive on masses of vegetation and debris floating across the ocean to get to another continent. (Ref. reptiles, migration, biogeography)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 6
29 April 2015
Creation Research Australia

Oldest sponge found, according to reports in Science Shots 9 March 2015 and PhysOrg 10 March 2015. A group of researchers from China, USA and France have found a tiny fossilised sponge in “a phosphorus-rich geological formation known for preserving animal fossils in an excellent state” in southern China. The fossil is described as “slightly more than 1.2 mm wide and 1.1 mm tall, is composed of hundreds of thousands of cells, and has a gross structure consisting of three adjacent hollow tubes sharing a common base”. The scientists studied it with an electron microscope and x-rays and found it has cell structures similar to modern sponges.

The fossil is dated at 600 million years, approximately 60 million years before the Cambrian era. According to Science Shots this makes it the “oldest known sponge”. Science Shots goes on to say, “Getting the date right is important for understanding the timing and course of animal evolution, because the split between the sponges and most other animals (called the Eumetazoa) was a key event in the early history of life on Earth”. The article also says: “The new discovery indicates that the common ancestor of sponges and Eumetazoa lived much earlier than many scientists assumed”.

Science Shots, PhysOrg

Editorial Comment: Sorry to blow their cover, but this fossil ‘sponge’ actually tells us nothing about “the timing and course of animal evolution”. The belief in a common ancestor for sponges and Eumetazoa is based on faith alone, definitely not by this fossil and nothing in real science. No-one has observed a creature that was not a sponge or a Eumetazoan turn into either of these kinds of animals.

The only thing we can tell from scientifically examining this fossil is that sponges have always been sponges, whatever age is claimed for them. This fossil was identified as a sponge because it has a cell structure like modern day sponges, as do the Cambrian sponges from our own collection. Therefore, it is evidence that sponges are separate kinds of animals, and have multiplied after their kind, as Genesis says. (Ref. Porifera, invertebrates, living fossils)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 5
15 April 2015
Creation Research Australia

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