Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Early Bird: Fossils Depict Aquatic Origins of Near-Modern Birds 115 Million Years Ago
University of Pennsylvania ^ | 15 June 2006 | Staff

Posted on 06/15/2006 11:39:26 AM PDT by PatrickHenry

Five fossil specimens of a near-modern bird found in the Gansu Province of northwestern China show that early birds likely evolved in an aquatic environment, according to a study reported today in the journal Science. Their findings suggest that these early modern birds were much like the ducks or loons found today. Gansus yumenesis, which lived some 105 to 115 million years ago during the Early Cretaceous period, took modern birds through a watery path out of the dinosaur lineage.

The report was co-authored by Peter Dodson of the University of Pennsylvania and his former students Hai-lu You of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Jerald Harris of Dixie State College of Utah and Matthew Lamanna of Carnegie Natural History Museum in Pittsburgh.

"Gansus is very close to a modern bird and helps fill in the big gap between clearly non-modern birds and the explosion of early birds that marked the Cretaceous period, the final era of the Dinosaur Age," said Peter Dodson, professor of anatomy at Penns School of Veterinary Medicine and professor in Penns Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. "Gansus is the oldest example of the nearly modern birds that branched off of the trunk of the family tree that began with the famous proto-bird Archaeopteryx."

Gansus yumenensis takes its name from the Gansu region, where it was found, and the nearby city of Yumen. According to Dodson, Gansus is something of a lost species, originally described from a fossil leg found in 1983, but since largely ignored by science. The five specimens described by Dodson and his colleagues had many of the anatomical traits of modern birds, including feathers, bone structure and webbed feet, although every specimen lacked a skull.

"It appears that the early ancestors of modern birds lived lifestyles that today we would stereotype as being duck-like, heron-like, stork-like, loon-like, etc.," said Jerald Harris, director of paleontology at Dixie Sate College of Utah. "Gansus likely behaved much like its modern relatives, probably eating fish, insects and the occasional plan. We won't have a definitive dietary answer until we find a skull."

The skeletons, headless as they are, offer plenty of evidence for a life on the water. Its upper body structure offers evidence that Gansus could take flight from the water, like a modern duck, and the webbed feet and bony knees are clear signs that Gansus swam.

"Webbed feet is an adaptation that has evolved repeatedly in widely separate groups of animals, such as sea turtles, whales and manatees, and would only hinder climbing or landing in trees," Harris said. "The big bony crest that sticks off the knee-end of their lower leg bones are similar to structures seen in loons and grebes. These crests anchor powerful muscles needed for diving under water and swimming."

According to Harris, these adaptations all demonstrate how the Gansus branch of the family tree, the structurally modern birds called ornithuromorphs, split from the enantiornitheans (or "opposite birds"). Enantiornitheans were among the feathered fossils found in northeastern China during the 1990s.

"The enantiornitheans had the best adaptations for perching, so they were able to dominate the ecological niche that we would associate with songbirds, cuckoos, woodpeckers or birds of prey," Harris said. "Gansus appears to have had adaptations for a lifestyle centered around water, based on things like the proportions of the leg and foot bones."

While the enantiornitheans are now long gone, their perching lifestyle has now been taken over by the descendents of birds like Gansus. What remains a mystery for now, according to the researchers, is how the amphibious lifestyle of birds like Gansus helped enable them to survive the cataclysmic end of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Funding was provided by the Discovery Channel (Quest program) and the Science Channel, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Dixie State College, the Chinese Geological Survey of the Ministry of Land and Resources of China and the Gansu Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: crevolist; daffy; dewey; donald; huey; louie
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-191 next last
Everyone be nice.
1 posted on 06/15/2006 11:39:31 AM PDT by PatrickHenry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: VadeRetro; Junior; longshadow; RadioAstronomer; Doctor Stochastic; js1138; Shryke; RightWhale; ...
Evolution Ping

The List-O-Links
A conservative, pro-evolution science list, now with over 370 names.
See the list's explanation, then FReepmail to be added or dropped.
To assist beginners: But it's "just a theory", Evo-Troll's Toolkit,
and How to argue against a scientific theory.

2 posted on 06/15/2006 11:40:39 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Unresponsive to trolls, lunatics, fanatics, retards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

Another gap filled. Good find.


3 posted on 06/15/2006 11:43:18 AM PDT by Coyoteman (Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death--Heinlein)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Coyoteman

You look, you find.


4 posted on 06/15/2006 11:44:25 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Unresponsive to trolls, lunatics, fanatics, retards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Coyoteman
Another gap filled.

Two more gaps opened.

5 posted on 06/15/2006 11:47:01 AM PDT by Senator Bedfellow (If you're not sure, it was probably sarcasm.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Senator Bedfellow
Two more gaps opened.

Mini-gaps. Not micro-gaps. Still, every new find is an opportunity to recycle the legend of Piltdown Man.

6 posted on 06/15/2006 11:50:52 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Unresponsive to trolls, lunatics, fanatics, retards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

I read about this earlier, but this article makes more sense! Thanks for the post


7 posted on 06/15/2006 11:50:55 AM PDT by united1000
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: united1000
Another service of
Darwin Central
The conspiracy that cares

8 posted on 06/15/2006 11:51:57 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Unresponsive to trolls, lunatics, fanatics, retards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Senator Bedfellow

MR DUCKS.

MR NOT.

OSAR.

CM WANGS.

LIB!

MR DUCKS.


9 posted on 06/15/2006 11:52:16 AM PDT by MineralMan (non-evangelical atheist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

"Gansus likely behaved much like its modern relatives..." It's possible that's because they were created, not evolved? ;-)


10 posted on 06/15/2006 11:55:22 AM PDT by Abigail Adams
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

Excellent research.


11 posted on 06/15/2006 11:55:30 AM PDT by hawkaw
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

I was hoping for nano-gaps, but whatever. Anyway, you don't have to reach back to Piltdown. Once upon a time, some Chinese farmer jammed two new (and real) fossil bird progenitors together to make one, but instead of one fossil and two gaps, you got two fossils and three gaps when people realized what he did. This is evidence that all fossil evidence of bird evolution is fake. Or something.


12 posted on 06/15/2006 11:56:01 AM PDT by Senator Bedfellow (If you're not sure, it was probably sarcasm.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Senator Bedfellow
This is evidence that all fossil evidence of bird evolution is fake. Or something.

Yes. It's the "Pierre the Bridge Builder" interpretation.

13 posted on 06/15/2006 11:58:19 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Unresponsive to trolls, lunatics, fanatics, retards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

"Gansus is very close to a modern bird and helps fill in the big gap between clearly non-modern birds and the explosion of early birds that marked the Cretaceous period, the final era of the Dinosaur Age," said Peter Dodson, professor of anatomy at Penns School of Veterinary Medicine and professor in Penns Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. "Gansus is the oldest example of the nearly modern birds that branched off of the trunk of the family tree that began with the famous proto-bird Archaeopteryx."

"helps fill in the big gap"

ok

1) then in laymans terms, is this an example of fossil record of intermediate speciation?

2) is there any indication of what happened to the heads?

"Gansus is something of a lost species, originally described from a fossil leg found in 1983, but since largely ignored by science. The five specimens described by Dodson and his colleagues had many of the anatomical traits of modern birds, including feathers, bone structure and webbed feet, although every specimen lacked a skull."

apparently, these fossils were fragments, and were assembled by the authors...

3) are you satisified with their conclusions?



14 posted on 06/15/2006 12:05:38 PM PDT by kralcmot (my tagline died with Terri)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kralcmot
2) is there any indication of what happened to the heads?

Yes, a small mink-like creature subsided only upon the heads of these birds, thus it is extremely unlikely we will ever find an intact specimen.

(The above was a joke.)

15 posted on 06/15/2006 12:09:49 PM PDT by ahayes ("If intelligent design evolved from creationism, then why are there still creationists?"--Quark2005)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

Thanks for the ping!


16 posted on 06/15/2006 12:18:15 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

So they find a 115 million-year-old duck, and that somehow fills a gap? We have ducks now, with the same features they found in this fossil. The entire article gave no reason why we should think this bird was any different other than in size from modern birds, and they even call it a "near-modern" bird.

And then there's the little problem of not actually having the bird's head.


17 posted on 06/15/2006 12:22:03 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kralcmot
are you satisified with their conclusions?

I haven't read the original paper, so I don't know. What I posted was only a press release. What's your opinion?

18 posted on 06/15/2006 12:22:45 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (Unresponsive to trolls, lunatics, fanatics, retards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: kralcmot

Maybe they didn't have heads, and heads evolved later.


19 posted on 06/15/2006 12:24:33 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: CharlesWayneCT

Amazing, you read the actual journal article? That's an achievement considering it hasn't shown up on the web yet. *drums fingers impatiently*


20 posted on 06/15/2006 12:25:26 PM PDT by ahayes ("If intelligent design evolved from creationism, then why are there still creationists?"--Quark2005)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry
Interesting. Hope they find one with the head. I'd also be curious to know if they got a sternum and how big it was.
21 posted on 06/15/2006 12:25:40 PM PDT by VadeRetro (Faster than a speeding building; able to leap tall bullets at a single bound!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: kralcmot

Or, to be more pointed, it is clear that they assume there should be skulls, and are therefore surprised not to find them. And skulls are kind of unique bone structures that you couldn't easily confuse for other things.

So, given they must have worked really hard to find the skull bones that they were certain would be there, why don't you see that, for bones that are easily mistaken, they would have "found" the bones to be exactly what they were looking for them to be?

You will find what you are looking for. When you know what the results are you need, there are many examples of otherwise good scientists who manage to FIND those results, whether they are correct or not. Just human nature.

Maybe the early human hunters collected their heads.

Oh wait, there couldn't be humans there, this is before "65 million years ago" when we all KNOW that a cataclysmic event made all those pesky creatures we can't explain disappear.

I loved how they brought that back in with their "we just don't know yet" how these early ducks managed to survive that event to evolve into modern ducks.

Maybe Noahzoa put them on his ark.


22 posted on 06/15/2006 12:29:38 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

Being a theistic evolutionist (i.e., God created all; chose to use evolution), happy to note that Genesis goes water to birds.

Genesis 20-25 or so.


23 posted on 06/15/2006 12:33:48 PM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: CharlesWayneCT
"So they find a 115 million-year-old duck, and that somehow fills a gap? We have ducks now, with the same features they found in this fossil. The entire article gave no reason why we should think this bird was any different other than in size from modern birds, and they even call it a "near-modern" bird.

'Near modern' means there are differences between avian diagnostic traits between the two. They were not modern birds but had fewer differences in those traits than a number of other transitional fossils.

"And then there's the little problem of not actually having the bird's head.

Why is that a problem? It would have to be very like a bird's head because of the limitations the bird morphology creates. We have many fossils that span the dino to bird transition and none of them have a fish, amphibian or mammal heads so expecting this fossil to have a bird (or very bird like) head seems quite reasonable.

24 posted on 06/15/2006 12:38:04 PM PDT by b_sharp (There is always one more mess to clean up.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

my opinion is

i think evolution is a interesting theory that has not been proven

i would like some fossil evidence of intermediate speciation

i do not think this research will provide that



25 posted on 06/15/2006 12:38:36 PM PDT by kralcmot (my tagline died with Terri)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Coyoteman
Another gap filled. Good find.

Two more gaps.

26 posted on 06/15/2006 12:41:40 PM PDT by js1138 (Well I say there are some things we don't want to know! Important things!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

If it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck...well...you know.


27 posted on 06/15/2006 12:43:16 PM PDT by KMJames (Hyperbole is killing us.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kralcmot
i would like some fossil evidence of intermediate speciation[.] i do not think this research will provide that

29+ Evidences for Macroevolution. Yes, macro-evolution.
Ichneumon's legendary post 52. More evidence than you can handle.
Post 661: Ichneumon's stunning post on transitionals.
Plagiarized Errors and Molecular Genetics. Anatomic similarities are confirmed by DNA similarities and copying errors.
Evidence of Evolutionary Transitions. There really is evidence out there.
Macroevolution: Evidence. Great info & links from the U. of Illinois website.
Transitional Vertebrate Fossils FAQ. Yes, transitional fossils exist.
8,000+ papers on vertabrate evolution. National Academy of Sciences.
One gene produces major changes in stickleback fish. Stunning example of evolution.
Fossil whale with legs. Land animal to whale transitional fossil.
NEW Newly found species fills evolutionary gap between fish and land animals. Another transitional fossil.
[Dead link?] Feathered Dinosaurs.
Archaeopteryx. Reptile-to-bird transitional fossil.
Archaeopteryx: FAQS . A true transitional fossil
All About Archaeopteryx .

From: The List-O-Links.
Another service of Darwin Central, the conspiracy that cares.

28 posted on 06/15/2006 12:43:24 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (Unresponsive to trolls, lunatics, fanatics, retards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry
..."Gansus is very close to a modern bird and helps fill in the big gap between clearly non-modern birds and the explosion of early birds that marked the Cretaceous period...

If they can get a duck to do that, there truly is nothing the ToE cannot explain.

29 posted on 06/15/2006 12:47:09 PM PDT by KMJames (Hyperbole is killing us.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: CharlesWayneCT

"You will find what you are looking for. When you know what the results are you need, there are many examples of otherwise good scientists who manage to FIND those results, whether they are correct or not. Just human nature."

"In order to obtain a certain result, You must want to obtain precisely that result; if you want to obtain a certain result, you will obtain it .... I need only such people as will obtain the results I need". Trofim Lysenko

Nice to see where you learned your Science. Want to give us some examples of "otherwise good scientists" you mention above?


30 posted on 06/15/2006 12:55:53 PM PDT by furball4paws (Awful Offal)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

Greetings, can you add me to your ping list. Please and Thank you!


31 posted on 06/15/2006 12:57:44 PM PDT by 31R1O ("Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life."- Immanuel Kant)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: 31R1O

Patricks list is multichanneling.


32 posted on 06/15/2006 1:00:18 PM PDT by ASA Vet (Those who know don't talk. Those who talk don't know.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: kralcmot
i would like some fossil evidence of intermediate speciation

I doubt you will. That said:

Whales.

Note that the chart on the above page has clickable links. It's a site map and a phylogeny chart.

"350 million year old 'Fish' had a Pelvis."

Tiktaalik, a not-yet-amphibian getting really close 375 million years ago.

Ring species example.

Incipient bird characters in a dinosaur.

The halfway thing.

One small compilation. Illustration excerpted below:

Hundreds of vertebrate examples.

In this post, Ichneumon demonstrates fish-to-elephant in 50 steps of "microevolution" using the previous link as a resource.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1033396/posts?page=442#442

33 posted on 06/15/2006 1:03:35 PM PDT by VadeRetro (Faster than a speeding building; able to leap tall bullets at a single bound!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry
Well, no problem with saying it.

Yours is bigger.

34 posted on 06/15/2006 1:06:06 PM PDT by VadeRetro (Faster than a speeding building; able to leap tall bullets at a single bound!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: CharlesWayneCT
"Or, to be more pointed, it is clear that they assume there should be skulls, and are therefore surprised not to find them. And skulls are kind of unique bone structures that you couldn't easily confuse for other things.

How many organisms that have wings and feathers but no heads do you know?

"So, given they must have worked really hard to find the skull bones that they were certain would be there, why don't you see that, for bones that are easily mistaken, they would have "found" the bones to be exactly what they were looking for them to be?

Which bones would that be? I see nowhere in the news blurb that out of 5 specimens only a few hard to identify (or easily mistaken) bones were found.

"You will find what you are looking for. When you know what the results are you need, there are many examples of otherwise good scientists who manage to FIND those results, whether they are correct or not. Just human nature.

Then again many finds are completely by accident and many that are found where expected to be found are unmistakable.

"Maybe the early human hunters collected their heads.

"Oh wait, there couldn't be humans there, this is before "65 million years ago" when we all KNOW that a cataclysmic event made all those pesky creatures we can't explain disappear.

That cataclysmic event, one of many such events, did not kill off all species. Both birds and mammals faired much better than the reptiles.

"I loved how they brought that back in with their "we just don't know yet" how these early ducks managed to survive that event to evolve into modern ducks.

How is not knowing how the event happened equivalent to not knowing that it happened?

"Maybe Noahzoa put them on his ark.

Who?

35 posted on 06/15/2006 1:07:13 PM PDT by b_sharp (There is always one more mess to clean up.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry
Aquatic birds, eh? Hmmm. Wonder if they were good to eat?
36 posted on 06/15/2006 1:07:52 PM PDT by colorado tanker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry
Well of course!

Genesis says that dinosaurs (well birds at least, but science finally determined birds came from dinosaurs) and sea creatures were created well before He got around to makin' us mammal-type critters.

(I just can't figger out out them there old illiterate Israeli sheepherders got this modern-science type information right when they spent 40 years wandering in the desert. For a short 2 week trip from Egypt to Israel......)
37 posted on 06/15/2006 1:13:56 PM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Coyoteman
Another gap filled. Good find.

Two more gaps found in fossil record. Darwinism in trouble

38 posted on 06/15/2006 1:15:01 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy ("You can either accept science and face reality, or live in a childish dream world" - Lisa Simpson)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: colorado tanker
Wonder if they were good to eat?

Maybe just the heads?

39 posted on 06/15/2006 1:15:07 PM PDT by Gumlegs
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Robert A. Cook, PE
they spent 40 years wandering in the desert. For a short 2 week trip from Egypt to Israel......)

Moses refused to stop and ask for directions?

40 posted on 06/15/2006 1:19:55 PM PDT by Coyoteman (Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death--Heinlein)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

i appreciate your compilation of these sources

i will review them as time permits

and i will (eventually) report on my understanding of what they contain...

from the intro to the first source you listed

"universal common descent is restricted to the biological patterns found in the Earth's biota; it does not attempt to explain the ultimate origin of life"

"proponents of special creation are especially hostile to the macroevolutionary foundation of the biological sciences."

and, apparently, some of that hostility is reciprocated...

BTW my interests were toward math and physics. biology and life sciences i skipped for being unscientific (ie not able to be proven)combinations of conjecture and catalog. my apologies to any who placed these subjects in a different order.


41 posted on 06/15/2006 1:20:29 PM PDT by kralcmot (my tagline died with Terri)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: kralcmot
"i think evolution is a interesting theory that has not been proven

Theories are never proven, that isn't what science does. However if you compare the many scientific theories out there, the SToE is among the best supported by evidence.

"i would like some fossil evidence of intermediate speciation

What is intermediate speciation and what morphology would identify an intermediate?

"i do not think this research will provide that

It does indeed provide an example of a transitional species. However it is not as well defined a transitional as is Archeopteryx

42 posted on 06/15/2006 1:22:19 PM PDT by b_sharp (There is always one more mess to clean up.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Coyoteman

Yeah.

Ole St Micheal the LostAngle didn't have his Navsat array launched yet.


43 posted on 06/15/2006 1:22:22 PM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: kralcmot
my interests were toward math and physics. biology and life sciences i skipped for being unscientific (ie not able to be proven)combinations of conjecture and catalog

Theories in science can never be proved. Rather, a theory is the highest level of scientific explanation. This does not make theories unscientific or less scientific.

Obviously you preferred fields with more straightforward approaches. Some of us prefer the methods and subject matter of the life sciences. Both are scientific.

Take a look at some of the definitions below. I put these together with help from a number of folks on these threads.

Definitions (from a google search, with additions from this thread):

Theory: a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses." Addendum: "Theories do not grow up to be laws. Theories explain laws." (Courtesy of VadeRetro.)

Theory: A scientifically testable general principle or body of principles offered to explain observed phenomena. In scientific usage, a theory is distinct from a hypothesis (or conjecture) that is proposed to explain previously observed phenomena. For a hypothesis to rise to the level of theory, it must predict the existence of new phenomena that are subsequently observed. A theory can be overturned if new phenomena are observed that directly contradict the theory. [Source]

When a scientific theory has a long history of being supported by verifiable evidence, it is appropriate to speak about "acceptance" of (not "belief" in) the theory; or we can say that we have "confidence" (not "faith") in the theory. It is the dependence on verifiable data and the capability of testing that distinguish scientific theories from matters of faith.

Hypothesis: a tentative theory about the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena; "a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory"; "he proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices."

Proof: Except for math and geometry, there is little that is actually proved. Even well-established scientific theories can't be conclusively proved, because--at least in principle--a counter-example might be discovered. Scientific theories are always accepted provisionally, and are regarded as reliable only because they are supported (not proved) by the verifiable facts they purport to explain and by the predictions which they successfully make. All scientific theories are subject to revision (or even rejection) if new data are discovered which necessitates this.

Law: a generalization that describes recurring facts or events in nature; "the laws of thermodynamics."

Model: a simplified representation designed to illuminate complex processes; a hypothetical description of a complex entity or process; a physical or mathematical representation of a process that can be used to predict some aspect of the process.

Speculation: a hypothesis that has been formed by speculating or conjecturing (usually with little hard evidence). When a scientist speculates he is drawing on experience, patterns and somewhat unrelated things that are known or appear to be likely. This becomes a very informed guess.

Guess: an opinion or estimate based on incomplete evidence, or on little or no information.

Assumption: premise: a statement that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn; "on the assumption that he has been injured we can infer that he will not to play"

Impression: a vague or subjective idea in which some confidence is placed; "his impression of her was favorable"; "what are your feelings about the crisis?"; "it strengthened my belief in his sincerity"; "I had a feeling that she was lying."

Opinion: a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty.

Observation: any information collected with the senses.

Data: factual information, especially information organized for analysis or used to reason or make decisions.

Fact: when an observation is confirmed repeatedly and by many independent and competent observers, it can become a fact.

Religion: Theistic: 1. the belief in a superhuman controlling power, esp. in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship. 2. the expression of this in worship. 3. a particular system of faith and worship.

Religion: Non-Theistic: The word religion has many definitions, all of which can embrace sacred lore and wisdom and knowledge of God or gods, souls and spirits. Religion deals with the spirit in relation to itself, the universe and other life. Essentially, religion is belief in spiritual beings. As it relates to the world, religion is a system of beliefs and practices by means of which a group of people struggles with the ultimate problems of human life.

Belief: any cognitive content (perception) held as true; religious faith.

Faith: the belief in something for which there is no material evidence or empirical proof; acceptance of ideals, beliefs, etc., which are not necessarily demonstrable through experimentation or observation. A strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny.

Dogma: a religious doctrine that is proclaimed as true without evidence.

[Last revised 2/23/06]

44 posted on 06/15/2006 1:27:50 PM PDT by Coyoteman (Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death--Heinlein)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: ahayes

No, I read the article that was posted. I'm just saying that I wondered how people here were concluding things based on what was written in this article that was posted, because it gave no indication of what they were saying.

We call the main posts of the threads "articles", and the things down below them "comments".


45 posted on 06/15/2006 1:31:07 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: b_sharp
How many organisms that have wings and feathers but no heads do you know?

I think he thinks paleontologists work like Calvin where he and Hobbes put together a fossilized dinosaur out of plastic cups, plates, and utensils. Sure, they look like wings and feathers, but are they really?

46 posted on 06/15/2006 1:31:11 PM PDT by ahayes ("If intelligent design evolved from creationism, then why are there still creationists?"--Quark2005)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: CharlesWayneCT

. . . And you weren't concluding things based upon the article?


47 posted on 06/15/2006 1:32:42 PM PDT by ahayes ("If intelligent design evolved from creationism, then why are there still creationists?"--Quark2005)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: furball4paws

Only in an evolution debate would a simple statement of fact cause an argument.

We do double-blind studies because researches know that, no matter how nobel their intentions, KNOWING what result they want, and having access to data that could allow them to manipulate the results, the results often end up manipulated even though they would swear they didn't do so.

Like I said, it's standard practice, because it's a well-known phenomena. Several of the major "gaffes" that in evolutionary thinking were caused not by people TRYING to deceive, but people who were honorable scientists who simply saw what they expected to see.


48 posted on 06/15/2006 1:35:11 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

HO HUM

show that early birds “likely” evolved in an aquatic environment,

Their findings “suggest”

"Gansus is “very close” to a modern bird and “helps fill” in the big gap

“although every specimen lacked a skull.” “We won't have a definitive dietary” answer until we find a skull."

"It appears “

Gansus “likely behaved “

Gansus “appears” to have had adaptations

“What remains a mystery for now,”

IS HOW ANYBODY CAN BELIEVE THIS MESS

49 posted on 06/15/2006 1:36:08 PM PDT by WKB (D.L. Moody "The Bible was not written for your information, but for your transformation")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry
Yes. It's the "Pierre the Bridge Builder" interpretation.

I thought that it was "Pierre the sheep-..."

Nevermind. I was mistaken. I was recalling an old joke.
50 posted on 06/15/2006 1:36:13 PM PDT by Dimensio (http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif <-- required reading before you use your next apostrophe!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-191 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson