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"Killer" Fossil Find May Rewrite Story of Whale Evolution (Again)
National Geographic ^ | August 16, 2006 | James Owen

Posted on 08/16/2006 6:35:40 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger

The discovery of a bizarre species of fossil whale from Australia with huge eyes and flesh-ripping jaws provides valuable new insights into the evolution of whales, researchers say.

The previously unknown species lived about 25 million years ago and was an early ancestor of modern baleen whales, which feed by filtering plankton from seawater. This group includes the blue whale, the largest animal ever to inhabit the planet.

But the newfound predatory whale likely hunted sharks and other fish despite its relatively small size and suggests that baleen whales weren't always the toothless gentle giants we see in our oceans today.

The new species, Janjucetus hunderi, had a maximum body length of about 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) and sharp, serrated teeth measuring up to 1.4 inches (3.5 centimeters) long.

(Excerpt) Read more at news.nationalgeographic.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Miscellaneous; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: anothercrevothread; bewarefrevolutionist; bewareofluddites; biblethumpers; cantkeepaplitdown; creation; creationism; creationist; creationists; crevo; crevodebates; crevolist; enoughalready; evolution; evolutionist; frevolutionist; id; idjunkscience; intelligentdesign; jerklist; medvedtheconehead; mtvcrap; notagain; ntsa; pavlovian; spliffordmissesyou; superstition; wildspeculation
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He says the fossil also forces a major rethinking of how modern baleen whales evolved their unique feeding system.

These whales use long, hair-fringed, flexible plates called baleen to filter huge quantities of seawater, capturing thousands of planktonic animals such as krill in a single mouthful.


1 posted on 08/16/2006 6:35:41 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger
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To: gobucks; mikeus_maximus; MeanWestTexan; JudyB1938; isaiah55version11_0; Elsie; LiteKeeper; ...


You have been pinged because of your interest regarding matters of Creation vs. Evolution - from the young-earth Creationist perspective. Freep-mail me if you want on/off this list.

2 posted on 08/16/2006 6:36:03 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger ("Good guys" aren't always "nice guys".)
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===> Placemarker <===
3 posted on 08/16/2006 6:39:04 PM PDT by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: DaveLoneRanger
I must admit I'm somewhat confused, although I'm sure it makes perfect sense to you.

How does the discovery of a 25 million year old transitional fossil in any way advance the cause of Young Earth Creationism?

4 posted on 08/16/2006 6:44:19 PM PDT by Alter Kaker ("Whatever tears one sheds, in the end one always blows one's nose." - Heine)
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To: Alter Kaker

I think he is just pointing out that scientists don't know anything


5 posted on 08/16/2006 6:47:02 PM PDT by GeronL (flogerloon.blogspot.com -------------> Rise of the Hate Party)
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To: GeronL
I think he is just pointing out that scientists don't know anything

We don't? How many 25 million year old transitional whale fossils have you found?

6 posted on 08/16/2006 6:48:13 PM PDT by Alter Kaker ("Whatever tears one sheds, in the end one always blows one's nose." - Heine)
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To: GeronL
I think he is just pointing out that scientists don't know anything everything

Fixed it for you.

7 posted on 08/16/2006 6:49:22 PM PDT by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Fantastic news. Thanks for the heads-up.


8 posted on 08/16/2006 6:50:57 PM PDT by Dante Alighieri
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To: Alter Kaker

what #7 says


9 posted on 08/16/2006 6:53:07 PM PDT by GeronL (flogerloon.blogspot.com -------------> Rise of the Hate Party)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

There's no conceivable way to evolve from large predator teeth and killing and eating large animals to baleen and seining for plankton.


10 posted on 08/16/2006 7:00:56 PM PDT by tomzz
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To: tomzz

There's no conceivable way that giant, flesh ripping dinosaur reptiles could ever evolve into the common, tiny, bug eating skink.


11 posted on 08/16/2006 7:07:10 PM PDT by navyguy
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To: DaveLoneRanger

YEC INTREP


12 posted on 08/16/2006 7:15:18 PM PDT by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: DaveLoneRanger
Rudyard Kipling described how baleen whales developed their feeding system in his short story, How the Whale Got Its Throat.
13 posted on 08/16/2006 7:23:39 PM PDT by Fiji Hill
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To: Coyoteman

"You dam sceintists don't know nuthin'" Placemarker.


14 posted on 08/16/2006 7:25:39 PM PDT by Zeroisanumber (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Scientists can do a "major rethinking" of how whales evolved, but Kansas schoolchildren must accept the "fact". If schoolchildren were to question the traditional theories, the New York Times says that makes them "scientifically illiterate". I think they'd be behaving more like scientists.

If we stop questioning traditional theories, the advancement of science comes to a halt.


15 posted on 08/16/2006 7:35:25 PM PDT by Qout
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To: Qout

There's a difference though between the specific mechanisms that govern the process of evolution and that evolution happens itself. The first is debatable; in fact, it continually is debated in scientific circles. To deny the latter is to deny the evidence.


16 posted on 08/16/2006 7:59:58 PM PDT by Dante Alighieri
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To: DaveLoneRanger
He says the fossil also forces a major rethinking of how modern baleen whales evolved their unique feeding system.

But Janjucetus could have been something of a freak among early baleen whales, he says, possibly having evolved in isolation and with little connection to today's species.

"Perhaps Janjucetus isn't so much typical of the start of baleen whales but represents a later side branch that acquired its strange features through evolutionary 'reversion,'" Fordyce said

"Rapid climate change at that time led to a modernization of ocean circulation and probably to major changes in food resources," he said, triggering the evolution of new dolphins and whales such as Janjucetus.

This is a prime example of an evolutionist's "just so stories".

..coulda...possibly...perhaps...probably

17 posted on 08/16/2006 8:01:17 PM PDT by Donald Rumsfeld Fan ("Fake but Accurate": NY Times)
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To: Donald Rumsfeld Fan

You realize that scientists habitually use tentative language. It's related to the epistemological position science has taken on "proof."


18 posted on 08/16/2006 8:03:54 PM PDT by Dante Alighieri
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To: Donald Rumsfeld Fan

If you disagree with the scientists interpretation of the fossil then how do you interpret it?


19 posted on 08/16/2006 8:11:54 PM PDT by navyguy
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Nice post!


20 posted on 08/16/2006 8:13:23 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Alter Kaker; DaveLoneRanger
"How does the discovery of a 25 million year old transitional fossil in any way advance the cause of Young Earth Creationism?"

What brings you to the conclusion that this (or any) fossil is 'transitional?' The description of the creature certainly does not lead to that conclusion; it seems to simply be another extinct animal, since it differs so much from any surviving creature.

21 posted on 08/16/2006 8:31:14 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Atheist and Fool are synonyms; Evolution is where fools hide from the sunrise)
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To: navyguy
If you disagree with the scientists interpretation of the fossil then how do you interpret it?,

The fossil itself is a fact. But how it came to be and what it leads to is a mystery. Guessing games not withstanding.

If you assume all life evolved according to Darwin's theory you'll choose a naturalistic explanation. On the other hand if you are a creationist you'll choose a supernaturalistic explanation.

Personally, I don't believe in Darwins TOE. I think Intelligent Design and Punctuated Equalibrium are better explanations of the fossil record.

22 posted on 08/16/2006 8:39:12 PM PDT by Donald Rumsfeld Fan ("Fake but Accurate": NY Times)
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To: editor-surveyor
What brings you to the conclusion that this (or any) fossil is 'transitional?' The description of the creature certainly does not lead to that conclusion; it seems to simply be another extinct animal, since it differs so much from any surviving creature.

Give me a strict, testable definition of "transitional" so that I can know it when I see it, seeing as how you apparently have some expertise in the matter.

23 posted on 08/16/2006 8:41:08 PM PDT by tortoise
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To: Donald Rumsfeld Fan

Punctuated Equilbria are part of evolutionary theory. What are you talking about?


24 posted on 08/16/2006 8:41:43 PM PDT by Dante Alighieri
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Thanks Dave. Apparently another animal that died out, from the millions that God created.


25 posted on 08/16/2006 8:59:23 PM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Pray for our President and for our heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and around the world!)
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To: Dante Alighieri; Donald Rumsfeld Fan; Coyoteman
Which raises an interesting question....If they are so tentative, then why do some meltdown so when others express skepticism over something they refuse to state is *fact* and that can't be *proved*? (And, yes, I have read Coyoteman's List-O-Definitions.) (courtesy ping included)

Science is self-correcting but what it means when something is corrected is that the previous stuff is wrong. Right now, scientists don't seem to feel that there is going to be anything found to discredit the ToE, and yet there always remains the possibility of that happening. So why the condemnation of people who question the ToE? Maybe they don't have anything to offer that's better at the moment BUT should they later prove (no pun intended) to be right, all the ridicule and derision is for what? For being right in the first place?

26 posted on 08/16/2006 9:09:58 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: TenthAmendmentChampion

Hmmm. A twelve foot toothed whale with large eyes. Kinda sounds like a dolphin, no?


27 posted on 08/16/2006 9:13:22 PM PDT by CalvaryJohn (What is keeping that damned asteroid?)
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To: metmom
Simple. Evolution is supported by such a mountain of evidence that to categorically deny it all is equivalent to shutting your eyes, sticking your fingers in your ears, and shouting, "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" Evolution is a both a theory (the explanation for common descent) and a fact (the universal observation of common descent.) Evolution is constantly refined - however, to categorically reject an entire theory and essentially, over a hundred years of solid research is ludicrous. Einstein had to account for why Newton's Laws seemed to be correct. That's because the effects of relavity are not readily noticeable except at speeds exceeding 0.1c. It's not enough to deny a theory entirely; you have to explain why so many of its predictions turned out to be accurate. That's the the way it is.
28 posted on 08/16/2006 9:23:39 PM PDT by Dante Alighieri
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To: metmom
Which raises an interesting question....If they are so tentative, then why do some meltdown so when others express skepticism over something they refuse to state is *fact* and that can't be *proved*? (And, yes, I have read Coyoteman's List-O-Definitions.) (courtesy ping included)

Science is careful not to overreach its data and theory. There are a lot of criticisms, including on these threads, when someone thinks a theory has been expressed too much like a fact. But a well-supported theory is not "so tentative" that it is a wild guess. There is a lot of scientific evidence and testing behind it. It is the highest level of "proof" in science.

Science is self-correcting but what it means when something is corrected is that the previous stuff is wrong. Right now, scientists don't seem to feel that there is going to be anything found to discredit the ToE, and yet there always remains the possibility of that happening. So why the condemnation of people who question the ToE? Maybe they don't have anything to offer that's better at the moment BUT should they later prove (no pun intended) to be right, all the ridicule and derision is for what? For being right in the first place?

The reason for "the condemnation of people who question the ToE" is that the condemnation is not coming from from science. It is not in the journals, which for evolution take up entire floors, multiple floors, in libraries. Rather, it is coming from people who disbelieve the theory of evolution for religious reasons. There is no science behind the condemnation! Just look at the level of ignorance of science in many of the most vociferous of the posters on these threads. The more knowledgeable posters cut-and-paste from creationist websites, which are notorious for pseudo- and false-science.

Is it any wonder that some posters are disgusted with the lack of scientific "condemnation" of a scientific theory?

29 posted on 08/16/2006 9:30:54 PM PDT by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: tortoise
You don't know the definition of transition?

There are no transitional fossils. Stephen Gould had no difficulty admitting it.

30 posted on 08/16/2006 9:34:54 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Atheist and Fool are synonyms; Evolution is where fools hide from the sunrise)
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To: tomzz

Now, now - if you let things stew for billions and billions of years, it could happen.


31 posted on 08/16/2006 9:35:19 PM PDT by DennisR (Look around - God is giving you countless observable clues of His existence!)
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To: editor-surveyor
There are no transitional fossils. Stephen Gould had no difficulty admitting it.

Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.

- Stephen Jay Gould

Not that this will prevent you from making the same claim next week, or next month, or whenever, but there you go.

32 posted on 08/16/2006 9:38:26 PM PDT by Senator Bedfellow (If you're not sure, it was probably sarcasm.)
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To: tomzz
> There's no conceivable way to evolve from large predator teeth and killing and eating large animals to baleen and seining for plankton.


33 posted on 08/16/2006 9:41:21 PM PDT by orionblamblam (I'm interested in science and preventing its corruption, so here I am.)
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To: Alter Kaker

A reasonable question: Is this a direct or collateral ancester of the modern whale or simply a related creature with similar characteristics?


34 posted on 08/16/2006 9:42:47 PM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: tortoise

> Give me a strict, testable definition of "transitional" so that I can know it when I see it...

When one species ("A") evolves into another ("B"), and then into another ("C), the middle species is "transitional." And as it turns out, with the exception of the Very Last In It's Line species, such as dodos, *every* species is a transitional species.


35 posted on 08/16/2006 9:44:51 PM PDT by orionblamblam (I'm interested in science and preventing its corruption, so here I am.)
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To: editor-surveyor
You don't know the definition of transition? There are no transitional fossils. Stephen Gould had no difficulty admitting it.

When you talk of 'transitions' in a continuum, no meaningful definition exists as every point on that continuum would be 'transitional'. You seemed to believe 'transitional' had semantic value in this discussion, when a cursory rational observation would suggest it does not.

36 posted on 08/16/2006 9:47:34 PM PDT by tortoise
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To: Donald Rumsfeld Fan

Not to start a pissing war here, but Punctuated Equilibria is a part of evolution theory that is firmly based of Darwins theory. If you reject Darwin, you must, by definition, reject Punctuated Equilibria.

You said: "If you assume all life evolved according to Darwin's theory you'll choose a naturalistic explanation."

Then you said: "I don't believe in Darwins TOE."

This is logically inconsistent. Punctuated Equilibria is part of evolution theory. You cannot simultaneously claim that "I don't believe in Darwins TOE." and claim "I think ... Punctuated Equalibrium are (is a) better explanations of the fossil record." If you accept the idea of Punctuated Equilibria you must accept the broad theory of evolution (Darwin) upon which it is predicated.

The concept of Intelligent Design is not a testable idea and is, therefore, not a part of science. It may be true that there is an intelligent, original 'prime mover' or 'designer', but since it can't be tested, it is not part of science. You cannot use it to argue against science (such as evolution) because no one can see (test) if its true.


37 posted on 08/17/2006 12:10:15 AM PDT by navyguy
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To: tomzz
"there's no conceivable way to evolve from large predator teeth and killing and eating large animals to baleen and seining for plankton."

True, in your tiny mind.

38 posted on 08/17/2006 12:30:05 AM PDT by MonroeDNA (Soros is a communist goon, controlled by communist goons.)
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To: Dante Alighieri
Punctuated Equilbria are part of evolutionary theory. What are you talking about?

I agree. But I was referring to Darwin's theory per his book "Origin of Species". Not TOE per se.

39 posted on 08/17/2006 7:13:16 AM PDT by Donald Rumsfeld Fan ("Fake but Accurate": NY Times)
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To: metmom
Science is self-correcting but what it means when something is corrected is that the previous stuff is wrong. Right now, scientists don't seem to feel that there is going to be anything found to discredit the ToE, and yet there always remains the possibility of that happening.

Of course you are correct. But if you believe that TOE is "fact" as many apparently do, then every new fossil discovery must be shoe horned into the "fact" of TOE.

It's called the "priority of the paradigm" in Thomas Kuhn's book "Structure of Scientific Revolutions".

The problem occurs when we confuse science with ultimate truth. Science is a method we use to assist us in understanding the natural world. The method works well in a practical sense. But it doesn't guarantee ultimate "truth", only a glimpse of an "operational truth" at any particular time in history.


40 posted on 08/17/2006 7:43:56 AM PDT by Donald Rumsfeld Fan ("Fake but Accurate": NY Times)
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To: navyguy
The concept of Intelligent Design is not a testable idea and is, therefore, not a part of science. It may be true that there is an intelligent, original 'prime mover' or 'designer', but since it can't be tested, it is not part of science. You cannot use it to argue against science (such as evolution) because no one can see (test) if its true.

I agree. ID is not "science". But it is "truth" IMO.

41 posted on 08/17/2006 7:52:35 AM PDT by Donald Rumsfeld Fan ("Fake but Accurate": NY Times)
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To: Donald Rumsfeld Fan

You realize that Darwin actually supported the concept, even before the term existed, right?

http://ucsu.colorado.edu/~theobal/PE.html


42 posted on 08/17/2006 8:52:02 AM PDT by Dante Alighieri
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To: Dante Alighieri
Thus, in any meaningful sense of the word, the theory of Punctuated Equilibrium is resolutely "Darwinian."

I disagree with the above conclusion from your link.

PE is based on evidence of new species "suddenly" appearing in the fossil record followed by long periods of "stasis". This is contrary to Darwin's theory of evolutionary gradualism. Darwin argued that the reason for the lack of evidence of evolutionary gradualism is the imperfection of the fossil record which was essentially an argument based on the absence of evidence.

I believe Gould and Eldredge's rejection of Darwin's gradualism are correct.

43 posted on 08/17/2006 10:22:40 AM PDT by Donald Rumsfeld Fan ("Fake but Accurate": NY Times)
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To: Donald Rumsfeld Fan

Did you read the quotes that Theobald provided?


44 posted on 08/17/2006 10:25:47 AM PDT by Dante Alighieri
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To: Alter Kaker

Could it just be that I have a healthful interest in science and fossil finds?

And I admit just a tinge of delight when they have to totally revamp their theory with the next finding. If you look admidst the maybes and perhaps of articles about new finds, there's almost always a "more X than previously thought" or "revolutionizes currently-held beliefs" or "overthrows previously held theories" and so forth.


45 posted on 08/18/2006 6:39:52 AM PDT by DaveLoneRanger ("Good guys" aren't always "nice guys".)
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To: tomzz

Does seem like it would be the wrong way, doesn't it?


46 posted on 08/18/2006 6:43:59 AM PDT by DaveLoneRanger ("Good guys" aren't always "nice guys".)
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To: DaveLoneRanger
Could it just be that I have a healthful interest in science and fossil finds?

Healthful?

And I admit just a tinge of delight when they have to totally revamp their theory with the next finding.

I know. Isn't amazing how the discovery of a new transitional fossil can give us such a better understanding of 25 myo evolutionary paths?

If you look admidst

Amidst? Somebody needs to show you how to use a thesaurus properly.

there's almost always a "more X than previously thought" or "revolutionizes currently-held beliefs" or "overthrows previously held theories" and so forth.

Maybe because finding the expected doesn't make for particularly compelling news copy.

47 posted on 08/18/2006 6:51:39 AM PDT by Alter Kaker ("Whatever tears one sheds, in the end one always blows one's nose." - Heine)
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To: Donald Rumsfeld Fan

Define "sudden" as perceived by a geologist.


48 posted on 08/18/2006 6:52:12 AM PDT by js1138 (Well I say there are some things we don't want to know! Important things!")
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To: DaveLoneRanger
It's not possible. A meat eating animal would starve to death long before he was able to strain for plankton through his teeth and hope his teeth would start turning into baleen.

Likewise whale sonar cannot plausible evolve. The idea of a dog-sized or even a hippo-sized animal going out into deep water without some sort of full-blown navigation system is ludicrous. Think about it; hippos live in water but you do not see them out in deep water, ever. Think there might be a reason for that??

49 posted on 08/18/2006 8:08:27 AM PDT by tomzz
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Scientists in Australia have discovered a fossilised ancient relative of the blue whale with a fearsome razor-toothed appearance that has seen it dubbed "the T-rex of the oceans"(AFP/William West)
AFP Photo: Scientists in Australia have discovered a fossilised ancient relative of the blue whale with a fearsome razor-toothed appearance that has seen it dubbed "the T-rex of the oceans"(AFP/William West)

SYDNEY (AFP) - Scientists in Australia have discovered a fossilised ancient relative of the blue whale with a fearsome razor-toothed appearance that has seen it dubbed "the T-rex of the oceans".  The fossil is the latest in a list of ancient creatures including sabre-toothed kangaroos, horned "devil wallabies" and the unlikely-sounding "demon duck of doom" that are reshaping views of Australia's prehistoric past. The 25-million-year-old whale fossil has forced scientists to rethink the evolution of baleen whales, the placid giants which feed by using fine hair-like fibres in their mouths to filter plankton from the sea.  "The fossil proves the baleen whale, including toothless filter-feeders like the blue whale, often thought of as gentle giants of the sea, were not always so giant or gentle," Monash University graduate researcher Erich Fitzgerald told AFP. While baleens are large -- with the blue whale reaching up to 30 metres (98 foot) -- the prehistoric predator was a swift hunter-killer only 3.5 metres (11.5 foot) long that fed on fish and small sharks, Fitzgerald said.  He said it also had large eyes, like a modern great white, to compensate for its lack of sonar. "(It was) Australia's very own T-rex of the oceans," he said. The whale fossil was discovered in a limestone rock in the late 1990s by a teenage surfer at Jan Juc Beach in Victoria state.

Formally known as "janjucetus hunderi", the fossil lay unstudied for years until Fitzgerald spotted it on the desk of a PhD student. "As soon as I saw it I realised it was something new," Fitzgerald said. Fitzgerald's findings will be published this month in the Royal Society journal and the fossil went on display Wednesday at the Melbourne Museum in Victoria. Museum Victoria's head of science John Long will also this week present findings from expeditions into a cave in Australia's remote Nullarbor Plain that yielded a fossil treasure trove, including the only complete marsupial lion skeleton ever found. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime fossil," Long told AFP. "For the first time we could see the complete limbs and feet, revealing an opposable thumb with a huge retractable claw which was used to disembowel prey. "It was like the velociraptor of the mammal world." The marsupial lion became extinct about 50,000 years ago, along with the rest of Australia's so-called "mega-fauna" -- the giant versions of harmless modern Australian animals such as wombats, kangaroos and koala bears. The Nullarbor caves contained some 60 mega-fauna skeletons, including 10 marsupial lions and a new special of marsupial nicknamed the "devil wallaby" because of the horn-like protrusions on its head.

"They probably protected its head when it was eating spiny plants," Long said. The University of New South Wales last month said it had found fossilised remains of a flesh-eating, sabre-toothed kangaroo that lived in Queensland state more than 10 million years ago. It also unearthed evidence at the same site of a large carnivorous bird weighing up to 400 kilograms (882 pounds) dubbed the "demon duck of doom". Scientists had long wondered whether the appearance of humans in Australia 45,000 years ago led to the extinction of the continent's mega-fauna. However, this month a team from the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University released a study arguing that climate change killed the giant beasts up to 10,000 years before man arrived.

50 posted on 08/18/2006 10:28:38 AM PDT by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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