Our Oldest Ancestor: It’s In The Bag

By Gemma Tarlach | January 30, 2017 10:00 am
Say hello to your little friend (and great-granddaddy to the nth), Saccorhytus coronarius.

Say hello to my little friend (and our great-granddaddy to the nth), Saccorhytus coronarius. Credit: S Conway Morris/Jian Han.

Who’s your daddy, give or take a few hundred million years? Researchers believe a 540-million-year-old creature unearthed in China is our oldest ancestor, and I can definitely see the family resemblance.

Publishing today in Nature, the study introducing us to Saccorhytus coronarius places the tiny creature in the earliest days of the Cambrian Period, some 540 million years ago. Researchers discovered 45 specimens of the animal in limestone deposits in South-central China.

The team classifies Saccorhytus as a deuterostome, one of the major groups of animals and the branch of the Tree of Life that includes vertebrates. Prior to Sir Sackybag here, the oldest deuterostomes found in the fossil record were around 520-525 million years old, though we can tell from their diversity that the actual lineage was established much earlier, during the Pre-Cambrian.

Some deuterostome lines would evolve into things like starfish and sea cucumbers while others grew a backbone, evolutionarily speaking, and ended up as dinosaurs and fish and primates and such.

If you’re up on your ancient Greek, you may be wondering if deuterostomes (“second mouth”) are supposed to have two mouths. Nope. It means the mouth is the second orifice to develop in the embryo, after the anus. In other words, yes, as deuterostomes we belong to the “assholes first” branch of the Animal Kingdom.

A View to a Gill

But back to Saccorhytus. So far, this is the earliest chronologically, and the most primitive, deuterostome known to science. It was about a millimeter in both length and height and probably hung out on the seabed. Its most striking features are its mouth, which is large for its body size, and structures that look like tiny volcanoes all over its sack-like body. Researchers believe these mini-cones may have flushed out the water Saccorhytus took in as it ate, making them possible precursors to fish gills.

Despite its size (a half-dozen of them could have had a dinner party on a grain of rice), Saccorhytus may well turn out to be massively significant to our understanding of how and when life developed on Earth. It comes from a time for which we have few fossils, and much of what we think we know about this period is based on molecular clock modeling. Grossly oversimplified, that’s a way of deducing the timeframe for a common ancestor by looking at differences between later species and counting backwards using a standard rate of mutation.

Having Saccorhytus may mean that researchers can clean that clock, so to speak, for a more precise model.

Hey, that's not a Halloween mask run over by a car, that's my ancestor! Viewed with an electron microscrope, our tiny, distant ancestor is no looker. Credit: Jian Han, Northwest University, China.

Hey, that’s not a Halloween mask run over by a car, that’s my ancestor! Viewed with an electron microscope, our tiny, distant ancestor Saccorhytus is no looker. Credit: Jian Han, Northwest University, China.

Please Let Me Call Him Bilbo BAGgins

The less-than-attractive scientific name of this less-than-attractive microfossil calls out its winkled, bag-like body and mouth resembling a crown.

And yes, more than 500 million years of evolution between SacDaddy and modern vertebrates have changed up a lot of observable traits, but I do believe I can see hints of our most ancient heritage even today.

Basking shark. Credit: Jidanchaomian.

Basking shark. Credit: Jidanchaomian.

 

Mouth of Sauron. Credit: New Line Cinema/Wingnut Films.

Mouth of Sauron. Credit: New Line Cinema/Wingnut Films.

 

I think it best I not name this one. Credit: Warner Bros.

I think it best I not name this one. Credit: Warner Bros.

I’m sure you, dear reader, can think of a few other examples.

 

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  • OWilson

    That colored artist’s impression in the top photo, looks an awful lot like a Lamprey Eel, present in our Great Lakes.

    Wonder if there is any direct lineage?

    • GemmaTarlach

      Well, since lampreys belong to the phylum Chordata (as do we), part of the deuterostome gang, this little fella is ancestral to the eels. However the lamprey mouth is all about sucking. Saccorhytus has a mouth that researchers think was pleated to allow it to gobble up whatever floated by for food.

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  • http://www.realstreet.co.uk/ Stugo

    If you ever doubt that the mainstream media disseminate horrendous lies, think of this “microscopic sea animal” which is touted as the “oldest human ancestor”.

    What is the evidence? “Fossilised traces” of the “540-million-year-old creature”. That’ll be from the Cambrian explosion, where most of the phyla of marine invertebrates are present, including nautiloids (shelled squid) which have well-developed eyes similar to humans.

    The fossil record does not show a finely-graduated chain of organisms, as Darwin expected would be discovered, but a record of distinct plants and animals and their extinction (in the most part), not their evolution.

    Today, we don’t see animals turning into something else; what we see are millions of species adapted to their environment. That is design and purpose. not evolution.

    You might recall ‘Ida’ the lemur from a few years ago, which was a ‘missing link’ between slime and humans. Big fanfare (as usual) followed by most scientists rejecting the story within months – but you won’t usually find these frequent ‘mistakes’ given many, if any, column inches.

    http://www.truth.org.uk

    • OWilson

      Given the “conventional wisdom” that life originated in a swamp of organic chemicals. touched by lightening (or God), what is so depressing about early evolution?

      What’s YOUR theory? :)

      • http://www.realstreet.co.uk/ Stugo

        “Conventional wisdom.”

        There’s an oxymoron, if ever I saw one!

        Have you ever stopped to enquire about what would be needed for those ‘chemicals’ touched by ‘lightening’ to truly be able to form the first self-replicating molecule?

        Amino acids formed by energy acting on chemicals are destroyed by that same energy – and far more efficiently than they are created. That’s why Miller had to isolate the amino acids in his famous experiment.

        In addition, early rocks show there was oxygen in supposed primordial soup days and that also destroys amino acids.

        It’s probably why Dawkins has suggested aliens seeded life on Earth. Anything other than admitting that there is a Creator to whom he is accountable. Obviously, he prefers to make millions of money slagging off God?

        ‘My’ theory is explained in the first chapters of Genesis and it is what the evidence points to.

        • OWilson

          In both scenarios, Big Bang or Creator, it required a miracle to get us here.

          Dawkins can’t get around that, even if he invokes his aliens.

          • http://www.realstreet.co.uk/ Stugo

            Indeed. I believe that evolutionists require the most faith.

        • Tim Donahoe

          What you’re having trouble with here is that Science is falsifiable? That it is amended when evidence warrants it be so? That it’s OK to say “I don’t know”? Your faith tells a narrative in order to give life some structure and meaning that is absolute. Science does not do this, nor does it ever claim to. It is a logical method of discovering objective truths about the PHYSICAL universe. So since this method of understanding things beyond our traditions and our natural senses has unseated every creation myth of every religion ever…your reaction is to double down on ancient mythology instead of adjusting your world view and how you interpret your faith. OK, we all get. Move along please.

          • http://www.realstreet.co.uk/ Stugo

            Dear Tim,

            That’s all very flowery and might convince the weak-willed, but it’s pure tosh.

            For a start, I’m not ‘having trouble’ with the science as your sort like to patronise others with.

            YOUR problem is that you ignore the past 150 years’ worth of scientific advances to cling onto YOUR world view.

            “Science does not do this, nor does it ever claim to.”

            No, but scientISTS misuse and abuse science for their own ends. Science has been dragged through the mud so much that many people no longer believe any ‘expert’ in anything.

            Evolutionists have a particular history of abusing science, whether to be “an intellectually-fulfilled atheist” (Dawkins) or to justify the murder of ‘less evolved’ people or of the disabled, etc.

            “Move along please.”

            Always ending in name-calling, foul language or just a cheap. patronising insult. Pathetic. I hope you learn to focus your attention long enough to overcome your arrogance.

            Your world view is making the country an increasingly nasty and divided place. That’s nothing to be haughty about.

            And believing a set of theories that says hydrogen gas turned into people over time is arguably the world’s silliest fairy story. You think that an HONEST appraisal of the evidence shows this?

          • Tim Donahoe

            So in your mind religion has never been abused to benefit individuals or classes of people? If you had evidence that would somehow completely topple the field of evolutionary biology I’m sure there are tons of academics that would love to see it. And you’re mad that Scientists, that deal purely in the observable physical world, don’t take religious explanations for things into account when trying to understand how life developed on Earth?

            I don’t believe anything. I don’t have blind faith in anything. I accept that as a human I can only have a probabilistic view of anything. And when it comes to explaining the mechanics of natural phenomenon the scientific method has the proven track record.

            my point is that this a Pop-Sci publication…why are you trolling people here? You cannot force others to adopt your personal interpretation of reality just because you think that others interpretations offend your God. How do you not see how asinine that is? And news flash, America is an incredibly diverse place culturally. Culturally traditional people may believe it is imperative to have a homogeneous national culture, but that has never been the case here. And suggesting you move along is not an insult. I’m not going to insult you, but trust me you would know if I did.

          • http://www.realstreet.co.uk/ Stugo

            You start by fantasising again. Of course religion has been abused just like science has. I don’t defend either.

            There are plenty of real scientists who don’t believe in ‘Darwinian’ evolution. As well as Creationists we also now have I.D. proponents, such is the fragility of evolution theory.

            Genetics, palaeontology, information theory, etc., pose very serious problems for evolution theory, yet many scientists want to stick their heads in the sand. That’s why they now attack ‘religion’ instead of defending their own world view.

            “And you’re mad that Scientists, that deal purely in the observable physical world, don’t take religious explanations for things into account…”

            Where did you get this notion from? If you are suggesting Establishment scientists feel this way, I think you are quite wrong. They will do almost anything to defend their atheistic world view.

            I refer you to geneticist Richard Lewontin’s famous quote about keeping a ‘Divine Foot’ from the door. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Nave-html/Faithpathh/lewontin.html

            “I don’t believe anything. I don’t have blind faith in anything. I accept that as a human I can only have a probabilistic view of anything. And when it comes to explaining the mechanics of natural phenomenon the scientific method has the proven track record.”

            This is nonsense too. You clearly have blind faith in the people who tell you that matter acted on by the forces of nature is all that exists – people like Lewontin, who have a PRIOR belief system and fit the evidence to suit their belief system.

            Your cognitive processes are clearly so corrupted that you believe that calling ‘foul’ on this ridiculous story somehow makes me a ‘troll’.

            “You cannot force others to adopt your personal interpretation of reality…”

            You materialists are unbelievable. Pointing out a problem with your silly world view is forcing my religion on you. Can you hear yourself?

            Still, the hope is that you will consider that you are wrong and that the high priests of science you rely on for your information are promoting their own belief system, not based on objective reasoning, a thing impossible if evolution theory were true.

            Evolution theory also fails miserably on a philosophical platform.

            You already have insulted me with false accusations of trolling, etc. So, you could start using abusive words like you materialists often do when you have no arguments, as I have shown and the cognitive dissonance is too much.

          • C Armstrong

            I do not respond to blogs or chats, but this is inane. You
            are trolling because you clearly do not believe the scientific method, facts,
            and accepted proof is the path, but yet you are on a science magazines page to
            enforce your worldview.

            1. Not all scientists have an ‘atheistic world view’. God is the highest
            intelligence in existence, whatever/whoever that is. Jung would show how all of
            us are not separated, nor are we separate from the natural world. God is the
            collective of all awareness.

            I support a scientific worldview, and I was raised in a
            church based community with perfect attendance in Sunday school, on the bronco
            buckle of the Bible belt (someone get me out of here!). I almost became a
            preacher, very, very glad I did not. I would today be in poor company on the
            whole, embarrassing.

            Taking St Thomas Aquinas basis on a logical foundation of
            God as supreme unity and the idea that God is not creature but existence
            itself, and combining Carl Jung’s Collective, we can see God existing within
            all of us and all of nature. (Oh no Heathenistic Pagan concepts are being
            introduced, draw your weapons. Do you know that both Heathen and Pagan
            originated as terms that meant ‘country folk’ that had to base their existence
            on seasonal calendars instead of politicized access to money and hierarchical power?
            God is the organizing principle of nature—Mother Nature.)

            Problem is that you
            want to take a story written by human beings as law unto all and not to be
            questioned or examined. Tell that to Aquinas. Science is not a story, it is a
            language built on smaller letters that are established by repeating proofs.
            Aquinas says all things have causes and those causes have causes, the first
            cause is God. Evolution says all creatures are caused by earlier creatures
            adapting. Your Genesis ‘Science’ says the first cause is a word that is because
            it is the cause of a human story. In general science says the universe has a
            first cause both related to the creation of light waves and planets and then
            creatures.

            2. What is fantasising? a girly drink? As an English teacher in a previous
            decade, I say you always weaken your arguments when you do not use spell
            checker. It is important. It is the importance of the word. Red squiggly lines,
            right click…

            Science is not based on fantasies, but on repeatable
            observable phenomenon, not based on blind faith either, sometimes I accept
            established scientists pronouncement, but it is because every time I have
            researched and reviewed their scientific method and logic it is proven with
            causes leading to causes, not beautiful stories created by inspired humans that
            are used by other humans demanding I bow to without question and accept their
            social laws and archaic worldviews, narrowed to a specific sect of a religion–Trolls
            seeping into my research and my understanding of both God and Science and the
            Universe.

            God is ultimate unity. The Uni-Verse described by words and
            languages. It does not matter if you accept another language it will still be
            utilized and propagated. That is freedom. You do not have a right to enact a
            battle for my mind and soul within a forum of science!!!!!!

            You wasted my time by interjecting your inane proclamations.
            You do have a right to create your own reality by rewriting your story with
            facts or alternative facts. You do not have a right to try and recreate the
            reality that I share in a consensus with groups of people who speak science.

            How is science abused to ‘justify the murder of ‘less
            evolved’ people.’ This is the territory of historical canonized religion, not
            science. Show me one single established scientist that uses science to justify
            murder? I can, however, show many leaders of religion that have don that over
            and over throughout the histories of Earth.

            3. Evolution is viewable as cause leads to cause using logic to understand–St.
            Aquinas was a great man. Problem being, when your story you were taught as a
            kid tries to invade our creation of a scientific language that can explain
            things, this is an attempt to take away our inalienable rights to understand,
            as St. Aquinas would agree. There are scientists that disagree with elements of
            Darwinian Evolution, but not the premise of cause leading to cause leading to
            understanding of how things adapt and change. The basic flaw in Darwin’s
            Evolution is that everything advances to a higher state of organization given
            the forward progression of time. That is untrue, causes can lead to other
            causes that are then mistakes and lead to extinction, but the acceptance of
            extinction embraces the idea that cause to cause can lead to changes. Some
            creatures do not show observable changes because their previous adaptations to
            their environment has not caused a need for significant change to continue
            survival and success.

            Darwin made huge advancements for science when he applied
            the science of geological change over very long periods of time, where a ‘finely-graduated
            chain’ of geologic changes is clearly seen in the geologic record. This proved
            to the geologists that Earth was much older than 6000 years, so Darwin applied
            this geologic advancement to human biological changes over time.

            4. You and your ilk act like you are fighting for the future
            of thinking. Your perspective, as displayed in this blog, will not survive the
            advancement of time. It is out of place in the current time frame. It is a fight
            against the acceptance of change as a fundamental law of the universe. Your
            view will invariably be labelled inane and seeped in political agendas promoted
            by religions, but not promoted by God.

            Future people, even future people who look for God, will
            look back on this time and see your battle cries as childish warmongering,
            unfounded, using illogic, promoting agendas that became useless over a hundred
            years ago. Blind Faith will mean
            absolutely nothing to the future of humanity.

            5. God is Love (Bible), God is existence (Aquinas), God is
            awareness organized by our universe (Jung), will mean something to future
            peoples. God will always be important to our existence. God inspires survival
            because life and love are important to organizing awareness and interconnecting
            life forms in a web of organization that leads to more life and love.

            God is Love. We need more of that in our human world,
            instead of hate causing hateful communications, as such.

            I am a scientist and I believe in God and Evolution. I do
            not think I believe in what you believe though.

            I do not regulate my political awareness to the dictates of
            a community church of a very, very specific geographically based religious
            perspective. I was instructed by my community as I grew up to do this very
            thing. Go out and witness, save their souls even if the person is not open to
            your type of witness. You are trying to remove tools that our children will
            need to survive. We need to add a book of science to the bible (oh, sacrilege).
            We need to add God is Love to our science. We must stop going to war over the
            way someone thinks as long as it is not hurting another person.

            Law of the universe: Do unto others as you would have them
            do unto you. Do not tell someone to stop thinking a certain thought, especially
            when it is healthy, promotes survival, and shared by a consensus of educated
            people, that includes both the subject God and Science. Do not abuse either in
            a way that removes freedom of thought, ideas of changes through time, or
            subjugation and occultation of any other group of people. Keeping this type of
            political action stapled to religion will destroy the benefits of religious
            thought in the future, and I do not want our spiritual evolution to sink into
            devolution.

            God is Love. God is change for the better. God is helping
            your neighbor feel welcome to the opportunities of advancement, evolution,
            changes through time, freedom of thought, and the health advancements provided
            by science–antibiotics and vaccines to name a few observable improvements that
            have changed the survival rate of our children.

            Your perspective is NOT better than mine!

            So, MOVE ALONG! And, get out of the way of our progress and
            change that will continue without your approval!

          • http://www.realstreet.co.uk/ Stugo

            You do not respond? Who is writing then? That is inane, as is every word I read (the little bit I bothered with).

            You demonstrate all the skills of critical analysis I associate with the modern ultra-brainwashed PC zombie and therefore beyond help.

            I see you mention progress at the end. If only you could critically analyse your world view, you would see how insanely ironic that is.

          • C Armstrong

            I had not responded to an internationally public blog on the internet prior to writing that sentence.

            I assure you I am not brainwashed nor
            programmed. I have two Masters degrees and one of them is in critical analysis
            and rhetorical theory. I have completed classes (and taught classes) on how to
            critically “analyse” (again with the spell check you have a problem
            replacing z with s–analyze is correct), I had classes that had worldview in the title of the
            class. I am one of the biggest supporters of active free and critical thinking.

            Zombies reduce the parameters of the thinking process, which you are doing on
            this blog. “insanely ironic’ indeed!

            You said, “modern ultra-brainwashed PC zombie. “Are you agreeing that your skills are not ‘modern’ by accusing me of modern thinking?

            I never once asked for your help, as to your opinion that I am beyond help. Take your witness somewhere else. I was trying to provide you help.

            Do you have two Master’s degree’s–with one in critical analysis? I can ‘critically analyZe my world. My Master’s degrees include a degree in Anthropology and Archaeology (both
            pertinent to the study of your argument), a degree in environmental computer graphics and
            certified in the administration of GIScience and geological cartography. I am able to apply the
            elements of environmental evolution in a computer mapping AI software that produces predictive model that
            can be, and are, scientifically verified through in the field data acquisition). I have a
            degree in Native American studies, which shows that I am not a brainwashed PC
            zombie.

            I once taught college classes for over 10 years, at major universities that included focus on the topics of how to organize reason, research, and
            exercising free and critical thinking.

            Instead, as you view me, I am the person that shows reasons for establishing a political correctness in response to the study of the growth of humankind.
            One of my theses focused on how civilization has evolved over the last 100,000
            years. I have studied the evolutionary
            changes in genetic human haplogroups within the last 20,000 years, which is a
            topic in the scientific book I am about to publish. I was raised a Christian, almost became a preacher, mother was Sunday School teacher. I am certain I have studied the literary/anthropological/archaeological basis of the bible in much more depth than you have. One of my theses was heavily based on the critical theory of Carl Jung, of which I had
            an entire chapter devoted to the positive input from specific biblical books. I assure you I am qualified to put together a non-inane argument.
            Why not read the whole argument I made, instead of reading ‘little’ and trying to counter-argue my blog response. So many trolls want to hear themselves talk instead of read–anything they did not already read decades ago in school.

            In argument construction there are 3 traditional methods: logos, pathos, and ethos. You take an old fashioned approach that installs a pathetic argument, attempting to make your opponent to be pathetic and people should be emotionally sad for the opponents culturally adverse positions, and ethos by trying to show that your opponent has character flaws (in basic thinking)–so, you try to make their argument as not to be listened to. You do not use logos, the logic of reasonable cause and effect in an argument that stands on solid research of the facts. Logos is the only mode of argument accepted in ‘modern’ scientific thinking. Logos can look at the validity of all sides of an argument. Logos is the only mode of argument that should be entered into in a scientific forum on a blog for a international scientific magazine.

            I, also, am not trying to argue that you should not think your way. I argue that you should not come into a scientific forum about evolution and tell people their own views on the subject should not be followed. You are purposefully creating noise to interrupt the progressive
            debate on evolution, not seriously add to it. You just keep repeating how obviously wrong evolution is and are sad for the supporters of evolutionary theory. You offer the word creationism as the correct choice, but leave it to
            those with blind faith to come to church to understand creationism more fully.

            Can you give a reasonable argument based on creationism and logic that shows
            how we came to be? An argument that would stand up to the scientific method? Or
            is your argument just based on telling people who ideas are wrong?

            Your arguments are peppered with big names and how they reject things or were rejected. You do not make real arguments (which is the
            purview of rhetorical theory, which one of my Master’s degrees are in, and it
            is the study of how to form convincing arguments and counterarguments). You
            lean heavily on name-dropping and belittling people and creating ill-conceived critically rhetorically designed arguments to muddle up a blog that should be devoted to the pursuit of evolutionary theory, instead of creationism.

            Modern humans did not exist 500 thousand years ago, but tool-making humanoids did (tool-making humanoids existed millions of years
            ago), and genetically linked to modern humans. How did this happen?

            There is no evidence that humanoids existed 100 million years ago but–hands-down most dominant creatures–the dinosaurs did.

            How does these data fit into modern ideas of creationism?
            Are these just God’s way of testing faith by allowing the adversary to place
            fake bones and tricks of genetic evidence in the paleontological and
            archaeological record? Or did humanoids actually live with dinosaurs and they
            all existed within the last 6000 years?

            You obviously have a budding analytical mind, but you use it
            to support blind faith, why? If 7 days of creation is literal, then where and
            why were the dinosaurs and Neanderthals created in that 7 days? Or, was man
            created 13 billion years ago when light came to existence.

            Where do you get off criticizing my response if you did not read all of it?
            You said ‘That is inane, as is
            every word I read (the little bit I bothered with).’

            It is inane to say every word is inane in my response when you did not read every word. My response was made up mostly of words from the
            bible, words from a reasonable Saint, and words from one of the fathers of
            psychological science and critical theory for analysis–Carl Jung, and Darwin.
            It is a fairly balanced argument that attacks and supports both sides with established
            references for each side. It is based on reason, logic, evidence, and actual
            facts (no alternative facts here). Their
            arguments, I assure you, are not inane. I showed how Darwin’s theories were
            disputed because the theory required its own evolution. Evolution can go
            backwards, and your blog entries prove that. We can see evolutionary reversal
            in the paleontological record with the example of the highly evolved dolphin.
            The dolphin was once a wolf like creature that fished along the coasts. Dog
            evolution–indeed. Where did dogs come from, obviously they are related to the Dire Wolf?

          • http://www.realstreet.co.uk/ Stugo

            “again with the spell check you have a problem

            replacing z with s–analyze is correct)”

            Look pal, I don’t care how many degrees you have, you debate like any other brainwashed evolutionist (and I have tried to debate with 100s – I’m sick of it, because you refuse to critically analyse your own belief system and stride on arrogantly into the abyss of stupidity and insults), so there’s no point in me reading another diatribe (not that I read the vast majority of your others).

            By the way, in British English it is spelled “analyse” with an “s”.

          • C Armstrong

            If you would like to debate, I would love it, and I would like to strip
            it of emotional and pathetic arguments, respecting each others position
            without insults or accusations, or cultural religious labeling, based on actual facts and reasonable logic. A real debate between something marketed as ‘Christian Creationism’ versus the purported reasoning of ‘The Evolutionists.’

            You probably will not read this, but my responses show that I have read every word you wrote as well as everybody else. Let me correct you on a couple of things–Pal. I assure you you have never debated an evolutionary thinker like me. If you are tired of it then stop. Admitting it is a problem is the first step. I was not numbering my degrees, but showing with evidence that I am capable for critical analysis and within the subject matter. You said I was not capable of it. I was not intending to insult, but I was attempting to bait you into an actual debate. I was not suggesting the number made me more righter but that is gave me credentials in the discussion you and I were having.

            I was nit-picking, I agree, close reading, yes, but I was begging for a debate with you. I, too, had grown tired, as you grow tired of debating evolutionist, of stumbling over your interjections to the evolutionary contrary in a forum where evolutionary theories are welcome. I am very trained in the forum of text based debate. You are not debating; you are trying to intimidate the scientific bloggers into NOT
            debating or agreeing with each other, but instead trying to instigate a non-academic emotional argument with you, or you make
            them want to stop discussing it. This is what you are trying to do.
            I was adopting some of your tactics, as any good debater would do from the onset.

            You will
            not debate, nor even read the blogs direct to you, or acknowledge the questions asked of you in a forum designed to that very thing.

            Likely do to your fatigue, you might not have read all of what I wrote, but others have and they can see I was trying to bait you into debating me in an actual intellectual debate. At times peppering it with your tactics Otherwise, as an alternative, I was stressing that you needed to stop trying to stop the scientific debates that will further the field of evolutionary science. You do not seem, either interested or impressed with this field, so leave the science to the scientists in this very scientific forum. Let it tire you no more.

            The response you just gave seems to be a projection about you, not me, pal. I have not tried to make you my pal, just a fellow debater, in a challenge to see who the master debater is.

            Sometimes, I try to be funny but not overtly insulting.

            Saying you were a troll was an internet termed description of the activity you were performing on this blog (which you claimed not to be doing–I tried a debate on that issue), not a hurled insult. I was not calling you a racist, but asking if you a question and then I stated that hope you are not a racist. But an accurate question in the forum of the debate on evolution, it was a pertinent question, not a hurled insult. Racial thinking was the norm before evolution. Again, trying to get you to enter a discussion.

            I might have been heavy handed at times in trying to get you to debate, not trying to insult, but you called me a ‘modern ultra-brainwashed PC zombie’.

            I assure you I am very much alive, and I am the opposite of ‘brainwashed’, what would that be ‘braindirtied.’
            Are you the opposite of brainwashed?
            If you want to debate on who has the dirtier mind, I would be glad to do that.
            Sounds like a jolly good time.

            Can you wash a brain (there is a whole concept of imposed thought in that term)? Are you implying that I was made to think in a different way without my instigating a logical thought pattern to enact any changes I made in the evolution of my thinking?

            Or, are you saying I am just programmed by contemporary theorists and writers? Remember, I was supporting the reasonable thinking of a Christian Saint from the 1200s. Well, you might not remember since you claim to not read most of my response to you. I do not get it…you obviously read most of these entries…obviously…but refuse when they are a challenge to actual debate directed at you specifically. This is why you are an internet ‘troll’ trolling for chances to interject obstructions and obstacles and branded thoughts.

            Are you implying I have been hypnotised into thinking in another way? Pal, I mastered hypnosis before I was 15, learned the basic ideas at a church lock-in. I am in complete control of my thinking and it is not stupid thinking.

            For those people that are actually reading my entry, do not let Stugo-like interjections go un-challenged! Do not give them the last word. That is what the Stugo’s in the world want. If you agree with me or agree with any of the people that have challenged Stugo to a debate on this blog, please chime in with an entry. Let us make this web page about honoring our ancestors and their evolution of scientific thinking and freewill.

            And Stugo, again calling someone ‘Pal’ in my neck of the woods, in person, would immediately change the location of the debate, words optional. Do not call me your pal. I would respect you as an opponent in a debate and try to honor you perspective in the debate– because you sound educated and knowledgeable, but the debate floor is not a place to start palships.

            Again, even the spelling pokes were an attempt to bait you to debate me. Discover is described as an American general audience science magazine, so the introduced language in this medium is American English. I apologize the spelling is a close reading analysis ingrained into me. Picking apart your spelling is me taking it to the braindirtied side of things. We should not quibble over spellings.

            We should argue for the advancement of science.

            In response to the next text from OWilson,
            I agree it required many miracles to get us here and there will be many more miracles, but what if aliens believe in miracles, too? Can ‘evolutionists’ be allowed to believe in miracles?

    • Jack Doe

      The fossil record does show a graduated chain of organisms. And it clearly shows their evolution. But evolution is observed also in living organisms; not only in species that reproduce quickly like bacteria and fruit flies, but in more familiar creatures. Do you have a dog? There has been an explosion in their evolution in the last couple hundred years, largely accelerated by human intervention of course, but pretty undeniable. But if you find Discover magazine to be so disreputable, perhaps you should stick with truthiness.org.

      • http://www.realstreet.co.uk/ Stugo

        Thanks for your comments, but you either haven’t been studying this long or have been reading strictly one-sided arguments.

        The fossil record does NOT show a graduated chain of organisms. Stephen Jay Gould wrote, “The modern theory of evolution does not require gradual change. In fact, the operation of Darwinian processes should yield exactly what we see in the fossil record. It is gradualism that we must reject, not Darwinism.” (‘The Panda’s Thumb: Reflections in Natural History’)

        The late Prof. Gould was very much an evolutionist.

        Yet, Darwin singled out the lack of a “finely-graduated organic chain” (‘Origin of Species) as “the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory.”

        So, which is it? It can’t be both! Gould admits (1980) that Darwin’s lack of evidence (1859) is confirmed and the latter said that it is an “obvious and serious objection”.

        But evolutionists carry on making up stories like ‘punctuated equilibria’ to hide the embarrassment.

        With mutations in bacteria and flies, you are confusing variation (and disease) with evolution theory. You urgently need to appreciate that variation within species does not extrapolate up to every living thing having a common ancestor. That was more storytelling by Darwin.

        Darwin, too, believed that dog breeding proved that his theory was correct when, in fact, it shows the opposite.

        Natural selection works by selecting from *pre-existing* genetic information and in doing so, reduces the information, which is the opposite of what is required for upward and better organisms being produced.

        You don’t seem to be naturally ignorant, but I can only surmise that your profound lack of basic knowledge in this field is due to the lies spouted by the mainstream journals who daren’t step outside the Darwinian paradigm.

        • Jack Doe

          Gould added to our understanding of Darwinian evolution but in no way invalidated him. Punctuated Equilibrium is now used to describe time periods in which evolutionary radiations are thought to take place more rapidly, but more or less gradual evolution is still always taking place. This is not in dispute, but at the time Gould made the argument, the timing was. And there have been many fossil discoveries even since Gould’s relatively recent death, let alone Darwin’s of more than a century ago. (1980 predates a virtual new age of discovery in this and many other sciences.) Darwin said he expected the fossil record to filled in, and he was right about that like he was about most of what he’s said. Your arguments have all been debunked, yet you persist in making them. Even the baseless claim that dogs disprove him is nonsense (they resoundingly vindicate him, as does every other domesticated organism). And calling me profoundly ignorant in an oblique way, when you are trying to misrepresent a book that’s almost 40 years old to push theories that are not taken seriously by any reputable scientist is to be expected, I guess, because you got nuthin.

          • http://www.realstreet.co.uk/ Stugo

            You appear confused. First, you wrote, “The fossil record does show a graduated chain of organisms,” which Gould disagrees with and now you agree with Gould that there isn’t a graduated chain of organisms. You have done a complete 180 degrees.

            Then you further confuse the issue by writing, “Darwin said he expected the fossil record to filled in, and he was right about that like he was about most of what he’s said.”

            You have done another 180 degrees and are back where you started!

            Which is it? Choose one!

            “Your arguments have all been debunked,…”

            No they haven’t. Darwin has been debunked in view of modern discoveries. He thought that a cell was a blob of jelly, but now we know it is as complex as a city.

            This means that his comment that “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.”

            Now we have electron microscopes, his theory does absolutely break down.

            As for dog breeding, a) Darwin used artificial selection and extrapolated it to natural selection (a term first coined by a Creationist a generation before) and b) Studies show that selection reduces the information in the genome, which is the reason scientists who still deny creation are looking for other mechanisms to account for the increase in information – something they have to do or the theory is a dead duck, whether you believe in P.E. or not.

          • Jack Doe

            I’m responding again to you only because you either didn’t understand what I said or are purposely misrepresenting it. Graduated, as in increasing in complexity (usually, but always adapting to the existing environment to increase chances of survival and reproduction) does not mean the same thing as gradual, meaning very deliberate or slow. The only thing Gould argued was that evolution does not always proceed slowly and deliberately. Punctuated equilibrium was his term for the seemingly rapid acquisition of adaptations he observed, “punctuating” longer periods of seeming stasis. As I explained, there definitely have been periods of faster spurts of evolution, but the seeming stasis only seems so. And we’re talking millions and millions of years, so “rapid” and “more gradual” are relative terms that the human mind has a hard time grasping the meaning of in either case. We think of 2000 years as a long time; we can’t comprehend the numbers involved really. You’re either not getting this or misrepresenting it, so I’m telling you again one last time in the hope that it clicks. (Even though you and I really know you’re not interested in open inquiry, you’re engaging in special pleading.)

            Darwin lived in an age before electron microscopes, so cells in effect were blobs to him and everyone else. Yet he knew they performed complicated and differentiated functions. This “point” of yours is total misdirection. He also was totally unaware of Mendelian genetics, let alone the microscopic workings of cells, yet he accurately described the overall results of these processes in a way that is still more useful and accurate than any comparable theory. You say that the electron microscope has totally made his theory break down, again without any backing evidence, when the opposite is true. Genetics and Natural Selection together are called the modern synthesis, and make a world of complicated organisms explicable to a highly useful degree. There are tweaks that have been made to his theory, and more still to come no doubt, but it is the essential explanatory framework for modern biology. Creationism is comforting as religion, Darwinism is useful as science.

            And give it up on the dog breeding while you’re behind. Of course the selective breeding of dogs and other creatures “reduces the information in the genome.” That’s the whole point of the selective breeding – to eliminate unwanted traits and select for desired ones. It’s basically inbreeding. You’re talking out your whatever. And scientists aren’t “denying” Creation so much as ignoring it. It isn’t relevant to the questions they’re trying to answer about how living organisms work. Darwinism is, in a highly illuminating way.

            If you spent a fraction of the time taking a critical look at the Bible that you seem to spend with evolution, you’d find the Bible is chock full of nonsense (and the Bible’s history is just as divorced from reality as its science), while Darwin’s Origin of Species is an elegant, beautiful, coherent and still valid description of the world we live in despite the last 150 years’ worth of advances in technology, which it has added immensely to. The Bible held up any advances in technology for more than a thousand years.

          • http://www.realstreet.co.uk/ Stugo

            I think I preferred when you stuck to comedy, although this is a good attempt.

            I am well aware of what punctuated equilibrium/equilibria is (other than an excuse to account for the lack of transitional forms throughout the entire fossil record), so you don’t win points for suggesting that I don’t.

            Don’t you think it just a little strange that all this supposed evolution just happened to be at times when the conditions for fossil preservation were on hold?

            As for Mendel, his views on genetics were sidelined for decades because the ‘experts’ thought they were at odds with Darwinian evolution. They couldn’t let facts get in the way of their faith at the time.

            “You say that the electron microscope has totally made his theory break down, again without any backing evidence, when the opposite is true.”

            I did supply the evidence. If you knew anything about what a living cell is, you would realise the complexity Darwin could not possibly have conceived of.

            “Creationism is comforting as religion, Darwinism is useful as science.”

            Another common error. To you, Darwinism is a religion – or ‘world view’ if you prefer. You obviously don’t understand the first thing about Creation science, so I suggest that you do if you want to avoid reproducing false arguments.

            BTW, Darwinism is totally excess to requirements. Far from being some ‘unifying’ theory, it is completely unnecessary for science in every field but evolution theory (obviously).

            You are still confused about dogs. Please tell me the process by which, considering selection reduces the information in the genome, ‘simple’ life forms could have developed into more complex ones when you reduce the information when you need to massively increase it.

            “…and the Bible’s history is just as divorced from reality as its science.”

            More and more archaeological finds absolutely confirm scripture. Comparisons of records from Assyria, Persia, Babylonia, etc., exhibit names, dates, battles, booty stolen, tribute paid, etc. exactly as per the Old Testament.

            “Darwin’s Origin of Species is an elegant…blah.”

            Einstein preferred to leave elegance to his tailor.

            Finally, modern science was founded by believers in God, who thought that this belief helped their science.

            Newton probably spent more time on the Bible than on science. Boyle left money to pay for lectures to support the veracity of scripture. Kepler said he was “thinking God’s thoughts after him.”

            You wouldn’t have science if it wasn’t for Christians. You are attacking the underpinning of that which you claim to have faith in.

            But you worship the creation rather than the Creator. That’s the worst mistake you could ever make if you remain in that state.

          • C Armstrong

            I want to request that before you respond to this blog Stugo, that you read everything I have posted her on this blog in response to your entries. Since, you suggested that you read very little of my previous response but you made sweeping statements that pertained to my entire blog. Do not be inanely irresponsible? Irresponsible or unable to respond efficiently to an argument. So many people stopped reading paragraphs and whole compositions that rely on logical connections–when twitter came on line. Twitter is turning people into twi-idiots, big ones at that. Why not address every question I direct at you and your argument? I am sure I will get back with you eventually when I have time…

            Actually, it was the facts getting in the way of current understanding of a
            theory, which is the scientific method.

            What do you mean ‘conditions for fossil preservation were on hold?’ The lack of transitional forms is do to a lack of recoverable fossils laying on the surface of the ground. Your acceptance of transitional forms is not asked for, so do not calculate how many points I will get. Established scientists have examined and accepted the transition of fossils in the fossil record, and new transitional fossils are dug up every year. Where is the logical record that fuels your creationism theory? D you offer evidence that can be rigorously examined and reproduced with the scientific method and logic.

            If you suggest that Mendel was put on a
            banned reading list, and followers would be forbidden according to religious
            control mechanisms, this view did not win out. Mendel and Darwin should both be
            studied, theories consolidated in the name of scientific advancement. Because
            Relativity and Quantum Mechanics disagree at times does not mean that they do
            not both produce accurate formulas for predicting the changes in the
            environment. Eventually we will consolidate those two theories, also. I do
            believe that your statement “They couldn’t let facts get in the way of
            their faith” is more a statement of modern creationists than scientists.

            I believe God The Universe created us, but a hand of god is evolution and the
            language of the universe is mathematics and science. If you cannot see that then you, too, ‘are therefore beyond help’. There are no ‘less evolved’ creatures, but there are more successfully evolved creatures in relation to their environment, until their environment changes. We see an accelerated rate of jumps, leaps, and genetic reversals in humankind
            evolutionary and genetic lineage because we became world travelers as a species
            a very long, long time ago, and we had to produce evolutionary changes, like
            heavy clothing and high protein diets, to adapt to different environmental
            conditions. Conditions were dramatically different from where we were, as an original
            species that branched from the direction of other quadrupedal mammals, the place we were naturally born into, lower half of Africa, where we evolved into an originating species with independent tool producing evolutionary
            capabilities. We began domesticating plants and animals, huge evolutionary
            advancement, huge.

            Wolves were domesticated more than 40,000 years (via selective breeding) and plants soon followed.
            This covers more time than the human memories portrayed within the Bible, which
            were calculated to be 6000 years old by the religious organizations strongly
            supported by Ben Carson and Mike Pence.

            In the 1600s Archbishop James Ussher used the chronology of the Old Testament
            to date the first of the 7 days as Saturday night, October 22, 4004 BC. This calculation still directs the premise for modern Christian ‘creationism’ theory. A Gallup Poll Statistic states that 4 out of 10 Americans believe that
            the Earth is less than 10000 years old. Half of Americans believe the Earth is over millions of years old. But let me say, there are different views of creationism. How is this for a ‘modern ultra-brainwashed PC zombie’?

            In the book, “The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design” (2006) by
            Ronald L Numbers: The mentor of my Native American ethnological field work, my mentors
            academic grandfather is mentioned in this book, Vin Deloria, Jr.:, as quoted
            from the book:

            “The Native American writer Vine Deloria, Jr. (1933-2005), who regarded the creationist-evolutionist debate as mere “quarrel within the
            Western belief system,” described such creation stories as offering “a third way”—the first two being creationism and Darwinism—of explaining origins.

            “Dismissing the scientific account of Native Americans emigrating from Asia to
            North America across a prehistoric land bridge as a “myth,” Deloria relied
            instead on oral tradition “that the Earth was a special project of either mother nature or god.” The indigenous peoples in Canada, known as the First Nations, likewise privileged their sacred histories. The Nuxalk of British Columbia, for example, believed that “the founding ancestors of family lines came down from the heavenly house of the creator at the beginning of time to
            settle in various sites in Bella Coola valley.” Unlike Christian creationists, explains Barker, the Nuxalk never tried to force their religious beliefs on others. Perhaps because of that difference, and because of their attitude toward multi-culturalism, many scientists seemed much more tolerant of aboriginal creationism than of Christian creationism”” (Numbers, pg. 430).

            The Native American view should be requested more frequently. They were not
            only the first people they were the first to investigate how environmental
            changes can change people. We came from the stars. We were planted in the
            Earth. We grew and we changed into civilized humankind, led by the spiritual
            forces of the environment.

            We are a very old people, and modern Christian creationism attempts to make
            people ignore this dawning fact. Native Americans were here in America long
            before the Beringia migration, they influenced the evolution of civilization in
            major ways that goes unrecognized. Civilization may not have evolved on a steady progression from Sumeria to Greece to Europe. Rome was technologically advanced with concrete and robots and steam engines, which were lost to following cultures–de-evolving socially. This idea of evolving civilizations is called social evolution and is how most people interpret Darwinian evolution, but it was not created by Darwin.

            Social evolution suggests that different societies have followed a forward advancing evolutionary trend, allowing one civilization, or
            people, to become ‘more evolved’–hence giving them a racist perspective. If we
            reject forward-only advancing social evolution and accept modified Darwinian
            evolution (without this tenet of social evolution) then the color of a person’s skin does not mark
            them in a great chain of being that hierarchically places unchanging races in
            relation to one another, some identified as ‘better’. It allows someone, like you, to use the phrase ‘less-evolved peoples’. It allows for the racial concept us versus them
            mentality.

            Are you racist, Stugo? I hope not. Do you think you are from a race that is on a higher
            position in the unchanging Great Chain of Being than majority of other races with different skin tones and skeletal structures?

            Were the 1st people ‘white’ and unchanging racially, God-granted rulers of the world both then and now?

            How old do you think
            the universe–or creation–is? Where does modern (cro)man fit in your amount of time you allow for creation?

  • Donna Ross

    Ridiculous! These people are not scientists! They are propaganda fraudsters!

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  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    Thank you for deleting my post. Thank everybody else for saying the same thing. BTW, Sauron would have had better dentation and oral hygiene given his powers.

    • GemmaTarlach

      Per my previous reply to your other comment of this nature: no one at Discover has deleted your posts or censored you in any way, unless you were posting as a woman named Brenda who had uncovered the secret to earning $5k a day working from home and wanted to sell that secret to my readers. Also, I suggest you give The Lord of the Rings a read, perhaps a refresher if you have already read it, regarding The Mouth of Sauron. It will be most illuminating for you.

  • Julius Caesar Augustus

    Are you trying to tell me that the assholes first creatures, have evolved into politicians. This is further proof they survived the Cambrian extinction. Talk about connecting the dots.

  • Julius Caesar Augustus

    I really wished they had not disrespected this creature by saying they spawned a race of beings as vile and despicable as humans.

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    Thank you for censoring both my comments. Thank everybody else for saying the same thing.

    • GemmaTarlach

      Hi Uncle Al, if that really is your name. :-) I was surprised to see this comment, as well as a similar one from you elsewhere on this page. The only two comments I deleted were from individuals spamming with get-rich scams. I have not deleted any comment from you, on this page or any other. I checked with our web team and they also said they have not seen any comments from you, nor have they deleted any comments on this page, from anyone. Our comment software will sometimes automatically delete comments that have a lot of profanity, but I just went into the archives to check and there was nothing there. I don’t know what the issue was…perhaps they posted on another page? I have seen people post comments on my stories that were intended for other bloggers, though it’s unclear to me why that happens. Just wanted you to know I only censor spammers trying to scam my readers.

  • oldguy317 .

    and these things were evolved from rocks, right.

    • Jack Doe

      Where did you get that?

  • bwana

    Well hello cousin! Yup, it even looks like a few of my relatives…

  • Dan Tucker

    It’s possible to believe in a Sovereign God (the Creator) and the process of evolution. Because the process of evolution has operated through Earth history does not negate the possibility of God being involved in the process, even though many Creationists vehemently assert the incompatibility of the two operating together.

    • CJC444

      I agree with you and it is such a calmer position to have rather than constant argument. And evolution is happening right in front of us…check out how tall the Dutch people have become just as one little example…or, one ‘tall’ example. But it is just unfathomable for me…a Christian and a Scientist…to question that something else is involved to have started the entire process. I am well versed in Human Physiology and how all of our body parts do and sometimes do not work is simply not an evolutionary process from a rock. It is just too fascinating. And: probably will incite some nasty comments, but NO
      WHERE does it say that the first ‘men’ looked as we do today. I wish more could settle in and accept that with God, things go hand in hand.

      • JWrenn

        I always thought of it as….well it never said how god made man just that he made man in his image. So why not sped up evolution because he is god and can do that. Works for everyone. Agrees with what we see. Still leaves god as the director. Makes sense as to why we were made after the animal. Everyone happy now?

        • CJC444

          Another tricky word is ‘image’. People assume it means physical when it really is spiritual.

    • Delicia Ambrosino

      I agree with your summation. However, I don’t see not one word of God mentioned in this article. I learned long ago that there are 2 things that are even more personal than a persons sex life and that is One} Politics, and Two} Religion/religious beliefs and they should be kept personal. My reasoning? How many bloody battles have been fought in the name of religion? Or because of religious persecution? Does it really matter what the “Creationists” think? Does it really matter whether God/goddess had a hand in everything including evolution? The answer is no. Because we will believe what we want to believe no matter what anybody else may say. I have seen such vicious arguments in other places where comments are left…including Discover whereby God/Goddess wasn’t even a part of the article but mentioned, preached on, put down {and worse}…just like this {Mentioned}. He/ She belongs in our hearts, thoughts, and actions. Not in the comment sections on the internet.

  • Delicia Ambrosino

    My GOODNESS !!!! This is science folks. Religion wasn’t mentioned. God/Goddess wasn’t mentioned. So why bring it to the table? Keep your faith to yourselves. It has no place in this article AND since faith, politics, and sex are personal matters and choices they should be kept to yourselves. I made mention of this in another persons post of which I have nothing against his post. Politics and religion are the two major causes of mass death because people are always trying to cram their beliefs down someone else’s throat because they believe that their politics is the one true way or their faith and God/Goddess is the one and only true religion {God/Goddess}. Keep it to yourselves and read about Mr. Ugly Puss instead. Comment about Mr. Ugly Puss. But please keep religion out of it. This not the time, nor the place for it. Your faith is your faith…keep it in your hearts and show it in your actions.

  • stevlich

    I saw this creature on Ancestry.com.

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