News to Note, August 18, 2007

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint


Comets and dust devils, shark fingers, galaxies from the beginning, the one-percent myth, and a dinosaur mass grave round out this week’s News to Note.

1. Comet-Based Life?

“Life almost undoubtedly began in space,” writes LiveScience staff writer Ker Than this week, introducing new findings to be published in an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Astrobiology. We would agree—life did begin in space, since we note, tongue in cheek, the earth is certainly not outside of space!

2. Shaking Hands with a Shark

A University of Florida study focusing on genes that control “how and where body parts develop in animals” has resulted in evidence that the genetic “potential” to grow fingers and toes is found in sharks as well as bony fish. The research appears in the August 15 issue of the journal PLoS ONE.>

3. Too Big for the Big Bang?

Astronomers looking at galaxies far, far away have found five that don’t quite fit big-bang ideas. The scientists’ explanation for why this finding doesn’t upset the tottering big bang hypothesis is reported online this week in Astrophysical Journal.

4. Not Only How Much, But Also How Fast: Gene Sequences

The inadequacy of similar “genetic potential” in explaining organisms’ similarity is perhaps most notable in comparisons of chimps and humans, as highlighted by a ScienceNOW article this week that reported on work published online in Nature Genetics.

5. Reuters: “Dinosaur mass grave discovered

An amateur paleontologist working in the village of Frick, Switzerland, has uncovered part of what may be Europe’s largest dinosaur mass grave, reports Reuters. The hobbyist, who was not identified, discovered the remains of two Plateosauruses at a construction site. The discovery is an indication that “an area known for Plateosaurus finds for decades may be much larger than originally thought.”

The Frick area reportedly has contained the bones of one animal per 100 square meters, according to dinosaur paleontologist Martin Sander of the University of Bonn. Of course, traditional explanations of fossilization—long time spans, gradual burial, etc.—fail to explain such fossil graveyards where creatures are found to have died en masse. What does better job explaining such mass burial and fossilization than a global Flood that provided fossil-making conditions worldwide?

Indeed, the Reuters dispatch seems to hint at watery conditions around the gravesite, explaining that Plateosauruses “roamed river deltas in large herds [...] when most of Switzerland was covered with desert and its landscape may have looked much like the estuary of the Nile now.”

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