Neanderthals, move over: there may have been another “human lineage” walking on earth in recent history, known only from an individual called “X-woman” (elsewhere reported as “Woman X”)
While the well-known tale is that one kind of catastrophe drove the dinosaurs extinct, new research suggests another kind of catastrophe may have given them a leg up.
3. LiveScience: “Dinosaur Buried Alive By Collapsing Sand Dune”
For one dinosaur walking in what is now Utah, a collapsing sand dune brought death. For the scientists who unearthed that dinosaur, the sand dune brought remarkable preservation.
The nearly complete Seitaad ruessi fossil was discovered several years ago in Utah. After its discovery, the University of Utah’s Joseph Sertich and Mark Loewen of the Utah Museum of Natural History worked to extricate the fossil from the surrounding rock, and now describe the find in the journal PLoS One.
The fossil is intact except for its head and parts of the neck and tail, which the researchers believe eroded away in the years since burial. Originally standing just 3 ft (1 m) tall, the dinosaur, which was related to larger sauropods, is thought to have been herbivorous. Interesting, however, is that the dinosaur sported a large, menacing claw despite its diet. It therefore seems that evolutionists have the same “problem” as creationists: accounting for sharp features on creatures that did not eat meat. (Creationists have answered this problem, however; see the links below.)
As for the dinosaur’s sudden burial and remarkable preservation, the scientists refer to seasonal rainstorms that could have infilled the low spots between sand dunes. Or was this dinosaur’s fate sealed by a rainfall that lasted forty days, preserving a sea of sand as a sedimentary graveyard?
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Think evolution has anything to do with Charles Darwin? If so, you’re apparently wrong, if the Guardian’s provocative headline is taken literally.
The creation opposition to a new Smithsonian exhibition has been greatly exaggerated.
6. And Don’t Miss . . .
- It may not have the same ring as Velociraptor, but the newly discovered, closely related Linheraptor—identified from an “exquisitely well preserved skeleton”—was probably not the best creature to keep as a casual pet.1
- Is it rapid evolution, or rapid natural selection? The findings of a new study on pygmy grasshoppers is yet another reminder that characteristics in an animal (or plant, etc.) population can change quite rapidly.2 But grasshoppers still remain grasshoppers; the changes do not increase the genetic information in the grasshopper genome.
- Great apes “know they can be wrong,” according to a study at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. In the study, apes seemed to engage in “thinking about thinking” by double-checking their initial hunches in situations of uncertainty.3
- Is our universe only one of many, a claim sometimes invoked to explain the appearance of design in the earth’s privileged location? Or could it be that the scientists making the speculation,4 like all of us, simply have a lot to learn about the physics and composition of the universe around us?
- Imagine having color vision that works five times faster. That’s what it may be like to for bumblebees, whose amazing vision allows them to quickly discern the right flowers from a mass of color while flying around at top speed.5
- We discussed the latest on the Large Hadron Collider earlier this month, and now BBC News reports that physicists are ready (again) to use the collider to try to find the elusive “God particle.” For more on what that’s all about, see In Search of God.
- This year’s winner of the $1.5 million Templeton Prize for “ exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension” is an evolutionist and former priest. See our front-page web article today.
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