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News to Note, May 8, 2010

A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint

on May 8, 2010
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Neanderthals all around, resurrecting a mammoth, reverse evolution in action, “dwarf” dinosaur, and more!

1. Modern Humans with Neanderthal History

A new genetic study has revealed that many modern humans have Neanderthal ancestry.

2. Resurrected Mammoth Hemoglobin Protein

Scientists have resurrected a mammoth—a mammoth hemoglobin protein, that is.

3. Whitefish: Latest Example of Evolution

If the Canadian Press is to be believed, whitefish provide the latest example of “evolution” in action. But as with previous examples, the evolutionary significance is overstated.

4. LiveScience: “Dwarf Dinosaur Once Roamed Transylvania

When most people think of dinosaurs, they think of the big ones, like brachiosaurs and T. rex, both of which would have towered over humans.

Dinosaur bones dug up more than a hundred years ago in what is now Romania go against the popular view of dinosaurs as hulking beasts. The Romanian fossil, classified as Magyarosaurus dacus, is related to the giant titanosaurs, some of which weighed ten times more than an elephant. Yet new research indicates M. dacus never grew beyond horse-size.

Although the first M. dacus fossil was discovered in 1895 and was considered a “dwarf” dinosaur (i.e., small, but nevertheless an adult), scientists later concluded the fossil must be a juvenile titanosaur with much growing left to do. Now, in the most recent development in the century-long investigation, a team led by the Steinmann Institute Division of Paleontology’s Koen Stein examined bones from nineteen different M. dacus fossils. The team applied lessons learned from studying other dinosaur bones to try to discover whether the M. dacus fossils are all juvenile titanosaurs, or whether M. dacus truly was a dwarf species.

Based on their knowledge of dinosaur bone development, the scientists concluded that the M. dacus fossils found so far were from dinosaurs that were at least 95 percent of their full size—in other words, they weren’t juveniles. For creationists, discoveries of small dinosaurs are reminders of two things. First, complaints that Noah’s Ark could not accommodate the required animals often ignore the fact that the average dinosaur was much smaller than the towering T. rex (and, in addition, Noah could have taken juveniles). Second, the argument that dinosaurs were too dangerous for humans to have lived “alongside” them ignores the fact that we live “alongside” some large, dangerous animals today; again, most dinosaurs weren’t that big (and, in addition, most of the big ones were herbivorous).

5. No Speciation?

Rapid speciation (multiple species descending from a single population) is often cited as confirmation of the creation worldview. Can we say the same when no speciation occurs?

6. Animals’ “Right to Privacy”

Do animals have a “right to privacy”? Or are such “animal-hugger” claims the logical consequence of evolutionary views only?

7. And Don’t Miss . . .

  • Researchers at the Whitehead Institute have developed a technique to increase the pluripotency of human stem cells. Strangely, although the technique works on stem cells derived from both embryos and adults, both the news report and the journal article emphasize embryonic stem cells.
  • You probably don’t think of ants as insect farmers, but it turns out that some are! Although we don’t buy into the evolutionary tale, we agree that the situation is complex—which, to us, is a reminder of God’s creative ability.
  • Can bonobos shake their heads to indicate “no”? If so, it would be yet another fascinating example of primate intelligence—but as we often point out, chimps’ smarts imply common design, not common ancestry.
  • The Canadian Press reports on what may be the first case of a second-generation polar/grizzly bear hybrid in the wild. (We discussed such hybrids last November.)
  • The French government has decided to send 15 preserved human heads back to New Zealand. Agence France-Presse notes that “in the 19th century” the mummified heads of Maori warriors “became prized European collector items.” We wonder if that interest was stoked by racist theories, themselves fueled by Darwinism.
  • It probably wasn’t the sort of creature to be kept as a pet: the recently analyzed Aetodactylus halli, a toothed pterosaur with a whopping nine-foot wingspan.
  • “Darwin got it going on / Creationism is . . . dead wrong . . . .” That strange lyric is from evolutionist rapper Baba Brinkman’s rhythmic “lecture,” as covered in a New York Times blog. Believe it or not, though, it’s not the first time we’ve covered evolutionary rap (see the last item in the “And Don’t Miss” section of the October 3, 2009, edition of News to Note).

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Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us. If you didn’t catch last week’s News to Note, why not take a look at it now? See you next week!

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