News to Note, January 26, 2008

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

Featured in News to Know

Scientists ridicule AiG’s new journal, elephant tusks “evolve,” platypus missing link reconsidered, and more!

1. Secular Response to a New Creationist Science Journal

There may be no better litmus test to the success of a young-earth creationist project than the furor it creates in the secular press.

2. Examining Elephant Tusk "Evolution"

One story this week takes a close look at an examples of “evolution” in nature. But is there anything that can’t be explained through the biblical model of origins?

3. PhysOrg: “China finds 100,000-year-old human skull: report

A fossilized human skull of questionable significance has been unearthed during an excavation in central China. But is it the “greatest discovery” in nearly a century or “far from the greatest”?

The skull’s 16 pieces were found in Henan province, central China, at an excavation site that has turned up more than 30,000 animal fossils and artifacts in the past two years.

China Daily, which reported on the find, described the skull as having bones that protrude over the eye sockets (perhaps referring to a prominent brow ridge) and a small forehead, though the AFP report does not explain whether this is based on the bones themselves or a reconstruction of the complete skull, nor whether any determination has been made as to what hominid group this skull belongs to.

The AFP report explains that the skull was fossilized thanks to a “spring whose water had a high calcium content.” And although we do not know the complete details of the find, it is notable that the excavation site has yielded artifacts in addition to the human and animal fossils. Also, this reminds us that fossils do not take millions of years to form, especially given special circumstances!

4. Dinosaur Demise Theory from LiveScience

A cocktail of environmental changes initiated by watery catastrophe doomed the dinosaurs, reports LiveScience on research published in Nature Geosciences.

5. National Geographic News: “Platypus Much Older Than Thought, Lived with Dinos

The humble duck-billed platypus was alive and well in dinosaur days—it’s what creationists have always thought, and now evolutionists agree (in their own way, that is).

Speaking of the K–T extinction (as in item 4), a new study of duck-billed platypus fossils reveals that they may have been around “before” it (in the evolutionary understanding), living alongside the dinosaurs. National Geographic News explains how the new conclusion came about:

But remains of what was believed to be a distant forebear of both the platypus and the echidna—the fossil species Teinolophos—actually belong to an early platypus, according to scientists who performed an x-ray analysis of a Teinolophos jawbone.

The center of the study is the broad canal that runs through the center of the platypus skull and was discovered in the “distant forebear,” now considered just a platypus because only they contain such a broad canal. The alleged common ancestor of platypuses and echidnas has now been pushed off into the distant past, since no other fossil links the two supposed evolutionary branches. However, amid a few other problems with this scenario, Matt Phillips, of the Australian National University in Canberra, offered “an alternative explanation for the new findings—that an early platypus-echidna ancestor had wide jaw canals, and this feature was retained by platypuses but reduced during subsequent echidna evolution.” With such plasticity in the evolutionary model, one wonders when we ever will get the “true” timeline from evolutionary scientists.

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