Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 162 (8127 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 09-01-2014 3:32 AM
67 online now:
Minnemooseus (Adminnemooseus), NoNukes (2 members, 65 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: Colbard
Upcoming Birthdays: Omnivorous
Post Volume:
Total: 735,073 Year: 20,914/28,606 Month: 1/1,410 Week: 19/275 Day: 1/18 Hour: 0/0


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
1
23456
...
21NextFF
Author Topic:   Land Mammal to Whale transition: fossils
randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1312 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 1 of 302 (229458)
08-03-2005 7:27 PM


I'd like to propose a new thread examining ToE in the context of the fossils that are used to support the transition between land mammals and whales.

Specifically, how many speciation events would be needed to take place to evolve a land mammal to a genuine whale?

And how many mutations necessary to create a single speciation event?

If easier to grasp, how many to create a speciation event that likely creates 2 species incapable of sexually reproducing?

Let's call these speciation events "steps". I would think evolutionists, considering their dogmatism, would have fairly full theories as to the needed steps involved, with considerable range of course. Assuming that is done, my next question is:

What percentage of these steps are shown in the fossil record?

Let's say it would take 1000 speciation events. How many theorized speciation events does the fossil record show to date?

Lastly, is there any speciation event along this theorized chain that is documented in the fossil record, meaning the species prior and the species afterwards if shown?

The reason for asking for this last step is to see if the fossil record actually documents even one of the many theorized speciation events needing to take place.

I think this would be a useful, educational exercise, even if we resort to wild guesses because it can illustrate and educate concerning what is and is not shown in the discovered fossil record, and we can then argue from an understanding on other threads about the data.

It seems to me that the fossil record does not actually conclusively document one speciation event much less than the hundreds or perhaps thousands needed for a land mammal to whale transition.

Another related exercise could be to compare so-called intermediaries with differences in living species, and see if the living species were discovered at different strata, what evolutionist conclusions would be based on current assumptions of ToE.

This message has been edited by randman, 08-03-2005 07:30 PM


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Yaro, posted 08-03-2005 7:58 PM randman has responded
 Message 4 by Chiroptera, posted 08-03-2005 8:16 PM randman has responded
 Message 5 by NosyNed, posted 08-03-2005 8:17 PM randman has responded
 Message 7 by mick, posted 08-03-2005 8:29 PM randman has responded
 Message 21 by Arkansas Banana Boy, posted 08-04-2005 3:05 AM randman has not yet responded
 Message 22 by Modulous, posted 08-04-2005 4:11 AM randman has not yet responded

AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4742
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 302 (229465)
08-03-2005 7:51 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
Yaro
Member (Idle past 2909 days)
Posts: 1797
Joined: 07-12-2003


Message 3 of 302 (229468)
08-03-2005 7:58 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by randman
08-03-2005 7:27 PM


Specifically, how many speciation events would be needed to take place to evolve a land mammal to a genuine whale?

Imessurable. I showed you a color spectrum before, remember?

A species is like that spectrum. Can you tell me where one color ends, or one begins? Of course you can't. Likewise, the amount of small incriments over time, that change the creature from one form to another, are potentialy astronomical.

And how many mutations necessary to create a single speciation event?

Again, this is not a quantifiable number. Back to the spectrum analogy, you could tell where the color had definetly deviated from where it started. That is, you could tell where "red" was deffinetly not "yellow" any more. Likewise is our term "species".

It's not a cut and dry thing "like 36 allel shifts and it's a new species".

If easier to grasp, how many to create a speciation event that likely creates 2 species incapable of sexually reproducing?

Non-quantifiable.

Since the rest of your post hinges on these points I will go no further. Just to say that it is pointless to ask "how many".

This message has been edited by Yaro, 08-03-2005 07:59 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by randman, posted 08-03-2005 7:27 PM randman has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by NosyNed, posted 08-03-2005 8:22 PM Yaro has not yet responded
 Message 10 by randman, posted 08-03-2005 11:06 PM Yaro has responded

Chiroptera
Member (Idle past 992 days)
Posts: 6202
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003


Message 4 of 302 (229472)
08-03-2005 8:16 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by randman
08-03-2005 7:27 PM


unreasonable questions
quote:
And how many mutations necessary to create a single speciation event?

...What percentage of these steps are shown in the fossil record?


These questions are unnecessary and unreasonable.

Let me explain with an analogy. The oral history of my family (on my mother's father's side) is that the family arrived in Oregon from Ohio by way of Kansas. My mother did a little geneological research, and found the proper birth certificates, marriage liscences, and death certificates, all of them with the proper names and with the proper dates found in the proper times.

However, randman is suggesting that this is not enough. Unless I can give the exact paths, including the number of steps, of my family's journey from Ohio to Oregon, I have no basis to claim that my family did travel from Ohio to Oregon by way of Kansas; I suppose the conclusion is that my mother was specially created in Alaska shortly before I was born. (Or, alternatively, my ancestors were magically moved to the various stages in their journey by an Intelligent Transporter -- what I call IT theory).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by randman, posted 08-03-2005 7:27 PM randman has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by randman, posted 08-03-2005 11:10 PM Chiroptera has not yet responded

NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8586
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 5 of 302 (229473)
08-03-2005 8:17 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by randman
08-03-2005 7:27 PM


An interesting topic...
I think this topic can be an interesting demonstration of degrees of tentativeness in science. Perhaps we would be best to try to nail down some facts before we get into discussions about what is correct or not.

Let me give my overview of the situation:

1) Certain characteristics of whales leads one to the conclusion that they are mammals.
2) All the information available suggests that mammels arose, originally, as land animals only.
3) From this it was hypothosized that whales evolved from some unknown land animal.
4) With more details available a particular branch of mammals was suggested as the closest living relatives to whales. (I don't remember which).
5) At a later time genetic sequencing picked a different family for the ancestor.
6) At a still later date additional fossils demonstrated that the correct connection was the one following the genetic sequencing. This resolved the apparent conflict when there was too little fossil information.
7) There is now a series of about 6 or so fossils whose characteristics fit between the early land forms and modern whales. These are what had been predicted many decades before.
8) The available fossils are NOT a step by step series of every single change in the path from land animal to whale.
9) When arriving at any conclusion different individuals will require different amounts of infomation to feel comfortable with the conclusion. An indiviudal may asign greater or lesser confidence to a given conclusion as the available information changes. Thus it should be clear that one individual may give a 10% confidence level that the connection between land animals and whales is a good conclusion and someone else may give an 80% level.

At any point in the development of a consensus conclusion it may have varying levels of consensus confidence. The very best level may only be 10% or so but it may still be the best available hypothosis.

We can each suggest our reasons for having our own confidence in the hypothosis that whales evolved from land animals. The discussion will be friendlier and more productive is we stick to the reasons and not make wild assertions.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by randman, posted 08-03-2005 7:27 PM randman has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by randman, posted 08-03-2005 11:17 PM NosyNed has not yet responded

NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8586
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 6 of 302 (229474)
08-03-2005 8:22 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Yaro
08-03-2005 7:58 PM


reasonable and unreasonable
It is, of course, silly to ask for each step in the process. I don't think we will have a productive discussion on that basis.

However, I think it is interesting to ask about how many major steps might be possible to ennumerate in the whole process. This is somewhere between 10's and 100's in my opinion.

It is then interesting to ask how many and, perhaps, which ones we might want to find to give us different levels of confidence that we understand the evolutionary history of whales "well enough".

How much evidence would be necessary to convince each individual will vary as I noted in an earlier post.

Will the number of fossils be less if there was a previous prediction of the connection from land to whale?

Will the number of fossils be different if the earlier forms support the same conclusion as the genetic sequencing?

I think, before we discuss the exact numbers we might want to discuss our thoughts on the above questions.

(I think you can guess what my thoughts are)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Yaro, posted 08-03-2005 7:58 PM Yaro has not yet responded

mick
Member (Idle past 1399 days)
Posts: 913
Joined: 02-17-2005


Message 7 of 302 (229478)
08-03-2005 8:29 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by randman
08-03-2005 7:27 PM


whale fossils are surprisingly good (I promise!)
randman writes:

is there any speciation event along this theorized chain that is documented in the fossil record, meaning the species prior and the species afterwards if shown?

Hi randman,

One problem with your request is that we can not necessarily make a "chain" of fossil animals that lead from one ancient extinct form to the modern day species. For any taxa, the fossil record is not complete; who knows how many generations pass between rare fossilisation events, and who knows whether fossil whale-like forms are a part of the chain, or side branches to it that ended up fizzling out?

However, if you are interested in looking at a good quality fossil record of a major evolutionary transition, you have chosen excellent subject matter in the whales. Fortunatley for us, there are a wide variety of apparently intermediate forms between quadrupedal mammals and non-legged modern whales. I can't post details including dated fossil photographs until I get home from the lab, because my whale material is all in my house (and I'm by no means an expert on cetacean evolution, I will need to look it all up in my notes).

But the general idea is as follows:

There are fossils available that show this entire transition, and they are dated sequentially. I'll post detailed stuff tomorrow.

Mick

added in edit: as far as I know, the dental information we can glean from fossils suggests a long period of semi-aquatic life; even the earlist protowhales with four legs appear to have lived in coastal estuaries and been good swimmers. There is a lot of behavioural evidence we can get from the fossil record, and the story is pretty complete. More tomorrow...

This message has been edited by mick, 08-03-2005 08:31 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by randman, posted 08-03-2005 7:27 PM randman has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Coragyps, posted 08-03-2005 9:17 PM mick has responded
 Message 14 by randman, posted 08-03-2005 11:29 PM mick has not yet responded
 Message 77 by randman, posted 08-04-2005 11:03 PM mick has not yet responded

Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5131
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 8 of 302 (229488)
08-03-2005 9:17 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by mick
08-03-2005 8:29 PM


Re: whale fossils are surprisingly good (I promise!)
And though I'll look forward to Mick's post, I'll also offer some pointers: Googling "whale" with either of the names "Gingerich" or "Thewissen" will lead you to a wealth of fossil pictures and drawings from two of the giants of ancientwhaleology.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by mick, posted 08-03-2005 8:29 PM mick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by mick, posted 08-03-2005 9:39 PM Coragyps has not yet responded
 Message 15 by randman, posted 08-03-2005 11:31 PM Coragyps has not yet responded

  
mick
Member (Idle past 1399 days)
Posts: 913
Joined: 02-17-2005


Message 9 of 302 (229491)
08-03-2005 9:39 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Coragyps
08-03-2005 9:17 PM


Re: whale fossils are surprisingly good (I promise!)
Hi coragyps,

Part of the fun of this forum for me is that it forces me to look up those dusty old notes that I wouldn't otherwise look at... I will be immersing myself (as the old whales did) tomorrow, and I'll try to make a good coherent case.

Mick


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Coragyps, posted 08-03-2005 9:17 PM Coragyps has not yet responded

randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1312 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 10 of 302 (229512)
08-03-2005 11:06 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Yaro
08-03-2005 7:58 PM


spectrum is not a good analogy
{qs species is like that spectrum. Can you tell me where one color ends, or one begins? [/qs]

Except that species do occur and are distinct, for example, if we just define species loosely as those that can sexually reproduce, then we see that species are distinct groups, not one part of a sliding group of change.

Species are quantifiable, though somewhat loosely.

Spectrum is also a poor analogy because the whole group does not evolve really. If evolution is true, then whatseems to occur is part of the group separates or something and forms into a new species eventually, and the traditional concept may work as well, but the idea it is one smooth, gradual transition is really not supported. If that was the case, you would not have so many different species per order.

So your example is not germane at all.

ain, this is not a quantifiable number. Back to the spectrum analogy,

If it's not quantifiable, maybe it's best to consider it not scientific to speculate too much, much less be so dogmatic.

But really you don't understand spectrum and light. First off, light is quantized, i.e. the photon, and secondly, and this is more easily demonstrated via RF waves, but waves have definite frequency parameters. Tp claim the entire spectrum is not quantifiable is silly.

If that was the case, we would not have radio and cell-phones.

Non-quantifiable.

Ok, ToE is non-quantifiable???


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Yaro, posted 08-03-2005 7:58 PM Yaro has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by Yaro, posted 08-03-2005 11:24 PM randman has responded

randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1312 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 11 of 302 (229515)
08-03-2005 11:10 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Chiroptera
08-03-2005 8:16 PM


Re: unreasonable questions
These arguments from analogy are pretty useless. I suggest you discuss the data, or do some research and tell us whether the data has been studied in this manner.

There is something called the molecular clock, whether right or not, which has some bearing on the subject.

But regardless, these are the types of questions that should be asked to determine if the propositions of ToE are accurate. If you cannot answer these basic questions, imo, then the whale evolution claims are highly speculative in terms of the fossil record.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Chiroptera, posted 08-03-2005 8:16 PM Chiroptera has not yet responded

randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1312 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 12 of 302 (229516)
08-03-2005 11:17 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by NosyNed
08-03-2005 8:17 PM


Re: An interesting topic...
7) There is now a series of about 6 or so fossils whose characteristics fit between the early land forms and modern whales.

So one question answered. There are a potential of 6 steps shown in land mammal to whale evolution, and I presume none of these documented in the sense of showing the immediate prior species and subsequent so the claim they evolved at all is inferred from other data.

Right?

8) The available fossils are NOT a step by step series of every single change in the path from land animal to whale.

Obviously. The question is how many steps in terms of speciation events are not shown, assuming these are actual steps in the evolutionary path. My guess is a couple of thousand, assuming they exist at all for sake of argument?

Any other guesses?

it may still be the best available hypothosis.

Imo, we need to distinquish between "best available hypothesis" and the degree of evidence available. We should not let the evidence be exagerrated just because we have no other hyothesis. It could be the best available hypothesis is that we don't have enough evidence to make develop a solid theory, based on facts, at all.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by NosyNed, posted 08-03-2005 8:17 PM NosyNed has not yet responded

Yaro
Member (Idle past 2909 days)
Posts: 1797
Joined: 07-12-2003


Message 13 of 302 (229517)
08-03-2005 11:24 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by randman
08-03-2005 11:06 PM


Re: spectrum is not a good analogy
Except that species do occur and are distinct, for example, if we just define species loosely as those that can sexually reproduce, then we see that species are distinct groups, not one part of a sliding group of change.

Yes, but there is no one moment where suddenly they couldn't reproduce anymore. It wasn't like there came a day when a whale calf was born that was incapable of breeding with it's peers. The whole group experiences genetic drift. That's how species form.

Spectrum is also a poor analogy because the whole group does not evolve really. If evolution is true, then whatseems to occur is part of the group separates or something and forms into a new species eventually, and the traditional concept may work as well, but the idea it is one smooth, gradual transition is really not supported. If that was the case, you would not have so many different species per order.

This is a gross misrepresentation of how evolution works. The whole group is the only thing that evolves. Not one single individual.

It's not like one day the ancient proto-whales where doing it on the sea shore and out popped a dolphin. It's a slow, gradual change in a an isolated group. That's exactly how evolution works.

And it's exactly like the spectrum analogy. There is no exact point where yellow becomes red. There is not a point where legged-proto whales ever gave birth to a whale with flippers.

But really you don't understand spectrum and light. First off, light is quantized, i.e. the photon, and secondly, and this is more easily demonstrated via RF waves, but waves have definite frequency parameters. Tp claim the entire spectrum is not quantifiable is silly.

I'm not going to argue the light spectrum. But I can tell you one thing, there are an infinit number of wavelengths between yellow and red.

There are practicaly an infinite number of variations between proto-whale and whale.

Ok, ToE is non-quantifiable???

No. The exact amount of variation between one species and another is. The ToE is not subject to quantity.

If I asked you who all your ancestors were back to 5000 years ago could you name them all? If you couldn't, would that make your liniage any less valid?

It's a dumb request and not necissary to the validity of evolution.

This message has been edited by Yaro, 08-03-2005 11:27 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by randman, posted 08-03-2005 11:06 PM randman has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by randman, posted 08-03-2005 11:33 PM Yaro has responded

randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1312 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 14 of 302 (229518)
08-03-2005 11:29 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by mick
08-03-2005 8:29 PM


Re: whale fossils are surprisingly good (I promise!)
One problem with your request is that we can not necessarily make a "chain" of fossil animals that lead from one ancient extinct form to the modern day species.

That's obvious, but it appears we cannot even string 2 links together, nor do we have any idea at all how many links need to be in the chain. We have, what, 6 fossil species that we have creatively linked together with perhaps a couple of thousand links missing.

That's what the fossil record shows, and in that sense, the fossil record is not particularly strong evidence for evolution meaning it could well be argued as evidence against evolution since we see little actual evolution occurring in terms of documented speciation events. The data, in other words, is made to fit via considerable help from the human imagination.

who knows how many generations pass between rare fossilisation events,

Well, evolutionists date the fossils, predict mutation rates, and know roughly sexual reproduction patterns so what's the big deal here?

We can make some estimates of differences in fossilized species by comparing bones today and seeing how different the bones are in proportion to the rest of the different species.

It would be a gross estimate with a huge margin for error, but we could thus estimate the number of speciation events that need to occur.

and who knows whether fossil whale-like forms are a part of the chain, or side branches to it that ended up fizzling out?

Good point, but it could still be useful in measuring the number of speciation events needed.

Btw, let's don't get off-topic here. The topic is not all the other evidence out there to try to link some fossilized species as part of the whale evolutionary path.

For sake of argument, let's assess the data as if all the claims are true, for analysis, and then see how many speciation events they represent and how many are not shown in the fossil record.

Is that good enough for you?

We can then look at the individual species, and see why evolutionists think they should be considered intermediaries.

My point is to see what the fossil record indicates in terms of showing speciation events and what percentage of the evolutionary chain from land mammals to whales are shown.

It appears thus far there are only a handful of fossilzed species presented as possible intermediaries.

Are there more than that?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by mick, posted 08-03-2005 8:29 PM mick has not yet responded

randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1312 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 15 of 302 (229519)
08-03-2005 11:31 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Coragyps
08-03-2005 9:17 PM


Re: whale fossils are surprisingly good (I promise!)
For this thread, let's don't get too bogged down assessing whether assumptions about any one particular species are correct.

The issue is how many speciation events would there have been and how many of these steps are reasonably seen in the fossil record.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Coragyps, posted 08-03-2005 9:17 PM Coragyps has not yet responded

1
23456
...
21NextFF
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2014 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2014