Archive of items from Evidence News

Featherless dinosaur surprises scientists, according to a report in Nature, vol. 440, p329, 16 March 2006. Palaeontologists have found an exquisitely preserved small dinosaur in Upper Jurassic limestone dated as 151 million years old. The creature is about 75 cm long and has been named Juravenator starki after the Jura mountains of Bavaria in Germany, where it was found, and after the Stark family who own the quarry site.

The tail region of the dinosaur has well preserved detailed imprints of the animal’s skin and the scientists who studied it were surprised that it had typical reptilian scales, not the filamentous proto-feathers found on some other dinosaurs of similar type and evolutionary age.

The Nature editor’s summary of the research article comments: "The new find is as well preserved as Archaeopteryx but, surprisingly, it shows absolutely no sign of feathery integument, suggesting that the evolution history of feathers in dinosaurs is a more complex tale than was thought."

They also found some impressions of soft tissue fibres which they described: "The remaining soft tissue is represented by a series of fibres central to the haemal arches of the 10th to 14th caudals and parallel to the axis of the tail. These fibres probably represent tendons of the hypaxial musculature and ligaments of the tail, as interpreted for similar soft parts associated with the skeleton of Scipionyx, although they could also correspond to bundles of subcutaneous collagen fibres."

Editorial Comment: We are not at all surprised this dinosaur showed no sign of having feathers. In fact no dinosaur has been found that has real feathers. Some have been found with filaments associated with their skin impression. The comment about collagen fibres reminds us of bird expert Alan Feduccia statement about the fibrous imprints associated with some dinosaur fossils. Feduccia said: "Collagen is a scleroprotein, the chief structural protein of the connective tissue layer of skin. Naturally, because of its low solubility in water and its organization as tough, inelastic fiber networks, we would expect it to be preserved occasionally from flayed skin during the fossilization process." (See Dinosaur Feather or Fibres? Evidence News, 2 Nov 2005.)

What he means is that collagen is a tough stringy substance and would be preserved longer than the other tissue components that normally hold collagen fibres tightly together in the skin. Therefore, in partially decomposed skin the collagen fibres would splay out so they looked like filaments projecting out from the skin but they were never feathers. We suspect that the fossil described above was preserved too rapidly for its skin to partially decompose and allow the collagen fibres to splay out.

The new dinosaur’s name also reminds us that names like Jurassic do not have anything to do with millions of years. It was the name applied to all rocks that looked similar to the rocks in the Jura mountains, i.e. the name was meant to be a shorthand description of where the rocks were originally studied, and what they looked like, not how old they were. (Ref. fossilisation, preservation)

Evidence News 12 April 2006

Oldest murder reported in ScienceDaily 27 May 2015 and ABC News in Science 28 May 2015 and PLOS ONE, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126589. Nohemi Sala, a palaeontologist of Madrid’s Centro Mixto UCM-ISCIII de Evolución y Comportamiento Humanos, and colleagues have found a human skull showing signs of deliberate lethal attack. The skull was found in a cave at the bottom of a13 metre (43ft) shaft known as the Sima de los Huesos, or “Pit of Bones” in the Atapuerca Mountains in northern Spain.

The skull has two penetrating fractures, each about 2cm (0.8in) wide, in the left side of frontal bone above the eye. After examining the bone microscopically and with CT scan, and applying modern forensic techniques such as contour and trajectory analysis of the fractures, the researchers concluded the fractures are consistent with two separate impacts by the same object.

Sala explained: “Based on the similarities in shape and size of both the wounds, we believe they are the result of repeated blows with the same object and inflicted by another individual, perhaps in a face-to-face encounter”. Sala went on to say, “Since either of these wounds would likely have been lethal, penetrating the brain, the presence of multiple wounds implies an intention to kill”.

The research team wrote in their report: “This finding shows that the lethal interpersonal violence is an ancient human behaviour”. The skull is dated at 430,000 years, making it the “world's oldest-known murder mystery”.

Anthropologist Rolf Quam of Binghamton University who was also involved in the study commented: “Evidence for interpersonal violence in the human fossil record is relatively scarce, and this would appear to represent the coldest cold case on record”.

The motive for the murder is unknown. Sala commented: “Unfortunately, the intentions do not fossilise, so it is impossible to interpret the motivation of the killing”.

ABC, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: Interpersonal violence is certainly “an ancient human behaviour,” but unless someone can prove this skull belonged to Abel, a son of Adam and Eve, who was murdered by his brother Cain (See Genesis4:1-16) this skull is not the oldest murder in human history. That sad attribute belonged to the second generation of human being.

The specific circumstances for Pit of Bones murder may not be known, but the underlying problem will prove to be the same …. the sin which was brought into the world by the parents of the entire human race, i.e. Adam and Eve. We may not all be murderers, but God bluntly tells us the bad news that we humans are all born sinners, and all of us have the same need for a Saviour – and only one is available and that is the Lord Jesus Christ, who died to save us from whatever sin we have committed. The Apostle Paul summed this up: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive”. (1Corinthians 15:22) (Ref. bones, violence, trauma)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 9
10 June 2015
Creation Research Australia

Stone tool problem reported in BBC News, Nature News and ScienceDaily 21 April 2015. Scientists working in Kenya have found a collection of stone tools on the shores of Lake Turkana. The finds included flakes of stone that had been chipped off other stones, along with larger stones that were used as hammers and anvils. The largest was a 15kg rock that would have been used as an anvil. Nick Taylor, from the National Centre of Scientific Research, France, explained: “On this piece, it doesn’t show the signs of actually having been flaked to produce other artefacts... rather, it was probably used as an anvil. It probably rested in the soil and the other cobbles brought to the site, which were intended to be smashed apart to make tools, were struck against this large anvil”.

The volcanic ash and minerals around the tools are dated as 3.3 million years. This makes these tools the oldest ever found. According to Taylor “They are significantly earlier than anything that has been found previously. It’s really quite astonishing to think what separates the previous oldest site and this site is 700,000 years of time. It’s monumental”.

This date also makes them older than the oldest dated Homo fossils, which raises the question as to who made them, because scientists did not believe that pre- humans such as Australopithecines (e.g. Lucy) had the brain power and manual dexterity to make stone tools. Bernard Wood, a palaeoanthropologist at George Washington University, commented: “This is a momentous and well-researched discovery. I have seen some of these artefacts in the flesh, and I am convinced they were fashioned deliberately”.

The Nature news article is entitled “Oldest stone tools raise questions about their creators”.

BBC, Nature, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: Ignoring the number of ‘probablys’ in what is or isn’t described as a tool or anvil, if it wasn’t for the old date given to these tools, and the belief that apes turned into people, no-one would have any problem in assigning most of the flaked items to the handiwork of human beings. Therefore, the problem these evolutionist researchers have concerning who made the tools is one of their own making. It is not the evidence from the tools themselves.

Note the Nature article states these stone tools were created, i.e. they did not happen naturally, and the scientists who found them recognised that they were created. So what did they recognise to reach such a conclusion? They recognised that an intelligent being outside the stones, who knew the properties of the stones, and had pre-existent information about what shape and structure was needed to achieve a purpose (cutting, etc.) applied that information to the stones and got a result that could never have happened by chance random processes acting upon the stones.

In spite of this, it is obvious that these evolutionary researchers also believe the pre-existent intelligent toolmakers somehow themselves evolved such a magnificent brain by chance random processes. What hypocritical inconsistency. As the old saying goes, there are none so blind as those who will not see. (Ref. information, design, Palaeolithic, creation)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 9
10 June 2015
Creation Research Australia

“New human ancestor”found according to reports in Nature News and Science (AAAS) News 27May 2015 and ABC News 28 May 2015, and BBC News 28 May, which reports a new species of “ancient human” has been found. A team of scientists led by Yohannes Haille-Selassie, a palaeoanthropologist at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Ohio, have found fossils of a new species of Australopithecus, the genus that includes Lucy, (Australopithecus afarensis).

The fossils consist of part of an upper jaw with teeth attached, twopartial lower jaws and a few teeth. They have been named Australopithecus deyiremeda. The fossils have been classified as a different species from Lucy because of differences in the thickness of the lower jaw and the size of the teeth.

They were found in the Woranso-Mille area of the Afar region of Ethiopia, approximately 35 km (22 miles) north of Hadar, the site where Lucy was found. They are dated as 3.3-3.5 million years old, putting them in a similar date range to Lucy. The researchers suggest there were a number of different species of possible human ancestors living in the same time and place.

Yohannes Haille-Selassie commented: “Historically, because we didn't have the fossil evidence to show there was hominin diversity during the middle Pliocene, we thought there was only one lineage, one primitive ancestor - in this case Australopithecus afarensis, Lucy - giving rise to the next. That hypothesis of linear evolution has to be revisited. And now with the discovery of more species, like this new one... you have another species roaming around. What this means is we have many species that could give rise to later hominins, including our own genus Homo”.

ABC, BBC, Nature, Science

Editorial Comment: Australopithecus! That one word says all you need to know! In spite of the headlines that identify these fossils as “human ancestors” or “ancient humans”, all that has been found here is a few fragments of some dead Australopithecus, which means “southern ape”. They found dead apes… that’s it folks! Nothing human at all.

Haille-Selassie’s comment about the hypothesis of linear evolution having to be revised is true, but not in the way he means. Linear evolution means a sequence where apes turned into ape-men who then turned into humans. However, since we have only observed apes turning into apes, and humans evolving only into humans, these new southern ape fragments don’t change that at all, but it will make a great example for a university course on Propaganda 101. (Ref. anthropology, fossils)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 9
10 June 2015
Creation Research Australia

Chimps understand cooking, according to reports in ABC News in Science and BBC News 3 June 2015, and Proceedings of the Royal Society B doi:10.1098/rspb.2015.0229. Felix Warneken of Harvard University and Alexandra Rosati of Yale University have carried out a series of experiments they claim show that chimpanzees can understand the concept of cooking food before they eat it.

They first tried the chimps with a choice of raw or cooked sweet potato, and found the chimps greatly preferred the cooked version. They then showed the chimps a fake “cooking device” consisting of a plastic box that had an inner compartment where the scientists had placed a piece of cooked food. They showed this to chimps, along with a piece of raw food, which they then placed in the box, shook it up and then took out the cooked food and offered it to chimp. They also did the same thing with different containers, but did not exchange the raw food for cooked food. The chimps quickly learned which container “transformed” the food, and given a choice of two containers without knowing the contents chose the container that apparently cooked the food.

The chimps were then given pieces of raw food at a part of their enclosure 4 metres (13ft) away from the containers they had previously seen. Normally chimps, like any other animal, will start eating food as soon as they find it. However, some of the chimps took the raw food over to a container to have it “cooked” as in the first experiment.

The researchers concluded their results “indicate that several of the fundamental psychological abilities necessary to engage in cooking may have been shared with the last common ancestor of apes and humans, predating the control of fire.”

ABC, BBC

Editorial Comment: These experiments have only shown that biased researchers are smart enough to cook the evidence when they want to, and chimpanzees are smart enough to learn how to get the food they prefer. If that means chimps have to put a less tasty piece of food into a container they will do it. Chimps are not stupid, but they are not human beings, and do not have the brainpower, manually dexterity or social skills needed to gather food, light and control a fire, then cook and serve the food. The scientists did admit that chimps had these limitations, so you wonder why they bothered doing this experiment. It never ceases to amaze us what lengths people will go to in order to prop up the theory that apes turned into people. (Ref. apes, evolution, learning, intelligence)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 9
10 June 2015
Creation Research Australia

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