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1. LiveScience: 'Missing Link' of Elephant Family Unearthed
Another fossilized missing link found!-or so some headlines raved this week. Eritrean scientists discovered a (supposedly) 27-million-year-old fossil that “could be the 'missing link' between modern elephants and their ancestors.” Scientists have established a new species, Eritreum melakeghebrekistosi, to describe the fossil, which “is estimated to have been 1,067 pounds (484 kg) heavy and about 4.2 (1.28 m) feet tall at the shoulder.” The unearthed tooth apparently has a structure that is intermediate in shape between modern and ancient elephants.
So, is this fossil find in staunch support of the evolution of elephants? Take a look at a photo of the fossil and see for yourself.
That's right-all this evolutionary hubbub has been caused by nothing more than “the lower part of a mandible,” and all these details-down to the alleged weight of 1,067 pounds-have been postulated based on this fossil jaw and the teeth it contains. Next time you visit a museum and see a series of sketches in an “evolutionary lineage,” don't forget the inflation process fossils undergo that transforms them into “missing links.” Time will tell if the intermediate structure is due to an extinct species, whether it is merely unusual variation within existing species, or whether preservation has played a role in the current seemingly different structure. And if it is an extinct species, that is no more proof of evolution than any other extinct species.
2. National Geographic News: New Bird Flu Strain Spreads Fast, Is Resistant to Vaccine
A new strain of avian influenza has “evolved,” according to reports from China and Southeast Asia. The new strain is resistant to the current bird flu vaccine and is responsible for 95% of infections encountered between April and June of this year by the University of Hong Kong's State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“It is not surprising that H5N1 continues to evolve,” according to Hon Ip of the U.S. National Wildlife Health Center. Yi Guan of the University of Hong Kong adds, “Current control measures are ineffective in dealing with the evolutionary changes that H5N1 undergoes.” But is the virus really evolving in the sense that new information is appearing out of nowhere, or is this simply natural selection creating a “horizontal” change in information?.
Have you ever heard anyone try to support evolutionism by explaining that apes (especially chimpanzees), like humans, use tools and pass the behavior on to new generations? This is true-chimpanzees use tools and pass on tool-use techniques to the next generation (those clever apes!). The problem for evolutionists is that crows do this, too.
In two similar stories this week, scientists have “reversed evolution”-converting a modern enzyme into its “theoretical distant ancestor” in one case, and reactivating a supposedly five-million-year-old retrovirus in the other.
Bones discovered more than 50 years ago in Romania are lending themselves to creation arguments after a reanalysis of the partial skeleton was performed. The results, published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “show a mixture of modern human and Neanderthal features.” To evolutionists, this indicates that modern humans and Neanderthals interbred. But for creationists, this discovery-not the first to show “hybrid” features-bolsters the idea that were actually fully human.
6. Reuters: Interview: Tony Blair on science
In unsurprising news, British Prime Minister Tony Blair cautioned that he would “start worrying” if “creationism bec[ame] the mainstream of the education system.” Of course, such an idea is almost impossible, considering creation-“ism” can't even get through most classroom doors, let alone becoming mainstream education in state schools. Nor would we want this to become the case. See “Creation in Public Schools?!” for more information on AiG's views on origins teaching in public schools.
7. Deutsche Welle: German Scientists Concerned About Rise in Creationist Belief
Looks like the creation/evolution debate is heating up in Germany this week, after Education Minister Karin Wolff commented, “I think it makes sense to bring up multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary problems for discussion” regarding the issue-that is, to discuss the controversy in the science classroom. Evolutionist opponents of open discussion immediately complained that Wolff “should catch up on things and read a science book.”
The article also states that “some German biologists have expressed concern over an increase in the influence of creationists in the country.” Although the voices of those criticizing evolutionary indoctrination are not always in perfect unison-for example, Ms. Wolff's spokesman commented that Ms. Wolff “[sees] no contradiction between creationism and evolutionary theory”-it is encouraging to read that the monolith of evolutionism is still facing resistance worldwide.
Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know 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!