View Full Version : CNN says fossil discovery questions human evolution theory

2002-Jul-04, 11:04 PM
I know this isn't astromomy, but there are so many posts on life in the Universe I wanted to note it here. And actually, the news article isn't the problem. http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/07/03/early.walker.ap/index.html

It was the byline scrolling across the bottom of CNN TV news.

It said something to the effect of, "New fossil discovery questions a theory of human evolution." They used a and not the to keep it honest. Do you think it was meant to be misleading, though?

It's lines like that which contribute to Bad Science. It might be technically true but how many people will be misled?

Which ancestor life form first emerged with limbs in the vertebrate family is hardly an issue which questions the science of Human evolution. In fact, the discovery adds to the evidence for evolution by filling one more 'gap' in the fossil record.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: beskeptical on 2002-07-04 19:08 ]</font>

2002-Jul-05, 08:02 AM
Just wondering, what's the status of the gradualist theory of evolution? I know that Darwin's original, classic theory has been left in the dust. Is punctuated equilibrium (non-gradualism) pretty much the only game in town now?

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: xriso on 2002-07-05 04:02 ]</font>

2002-Jul-05, 12:09 PM
Darwin stated something very similar to PE...

"It is a more important consideration ... that the period during which each species underwent modification, though long as measured by years, was probably short in comparison with that during which it remained without undergoing any change." (Darwin, Ch. 10, "On the imperfection of the geological record," p. 428)

2002-Jul-06, 06:55 AM
I have to be careful not to start an evolution thread here. I was trying to point out Bad Science in the headlines.

Hoping for no replies I will briefly address that question. To oversimplify it, change is gradual when conditions are good &/or stable, and rapid when conditions are bad &/or unstable. More rapid change might also occur when new territory and foodstuff opens to new critters.