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Author Topic:   Land Mammal to Whale transition: fossils Part II
randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3072 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 211 of 288 (233450)
08-15-2005 2:39 PM
Reply to: Message 189 by mark24
08-15-2005 3:46 AM


Re: Post 151, yes or no answer
Mark, I tend to accept an old earth, but am suspicious of evolutionist dating methods, both in general and specific dates given for specific fossils. To explain why I am suspicious would probably get us off-topic and may involve charges that I am unfairly maligning evolutionists by accusing them of biasness, and is just something that belongs more on the dating and geology threads.

By the same token, I am not disputing a very old earth, and suffice for this discussion, imo, the dates given by evos are good enough, even if wrong, to be able to discuss the fossil record and transitions, though some side points such as rapid speciation and stasis could be affected.

I don't see quibbling about evo methods of dating is useful for this thread, except to say there is some leeway and it is not an exact science.

I am open-minded here though. I don't dismiss YEC claims a priori, and some of their claims I think have merit, but I don't see the whole picture yet as fitting the earth's age into 10,000 years or less.

I also tend to think the past is not static anyway, but that really gets us off-topic.

So unless your desire is to get me banned, let's refrain from asking and discussing my beliefs and discuss the data. If you have a point, make it. I doubt I will respond to any more off-topic inquiries and hope admin pardons me for responding to this.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 189 by mark24, posted 08-15-2005 3:46 AM mark24 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 212 by mark24, posted 08-15-2005 3:03 PM randman has not yet responded

  
mark24
Member (Idle past 3368 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 212 of 288 (233456)
08-15-2005 3:03 PM
Reply to: Message 211 by randman
08-15-2005 2:39 PM


Re: Post 151, yes or no answer
randman,

Thanks for the response.

So you are happy with Pakicetus being in the order of 50 my old?

Mark


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those that understand binary, & those that don't
This message is a reply to:
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deerbreh
Member (Idle past 1066 days)
Posts: 882
Joined: 06-22-2005


Message 213 of 288 (233458)
08-15-2005 3:13 PM
Reply to: Message 210 by randman
08-15-2005 2:32 PM


Re: Boney species
You are offering nothing. If you have other estimates and reasons for those estimates of the numbers of transitionals, by all means please post your estimates. Otherwise, you are not engaging in the data and argument but sitting on the side-lines making false accusations, imo, towards what I am trying to do here.

I don't have other estimates because I am not disputing the current land mammal to whale scenario. You are. So it is not up to me to estimate the "number of transitionals" needed or the "percentage of transitional fossils" needed. I am saying there is no set number of transitionals needed, or at least it is not a number we can know. We don't know how many genes control the the various features on whales and their land mammal ancestors, so how can we know the number of changes that are going to have to take place? Not only do we not know the number of genes, we also don't know what the phenotypic implication is of a particular gene change. I find the arguments for whale evolution from land mammals convincing because there is evidence of transitional forms and the homology between the land mammal ancestors, the transitional forms and modern whales is irrefutable. Here is one brief summary of what is known.

http://www.origins.tv/darwin/landtosea.htm

If you don't find it convincing the burden of proof is on you to say
why the transitional and homology data that have been found are inadequate.

edited last sentence for clarity

This message has been edited by deerbreh, 08-15-2005 03:20 PM

This message has been edited by deerbreh, 08-15-2005 03:22 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 210 by randman, posted 08-15-2005 2:32 PM randman has responded

Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 18498
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 214 of 288 (233459)
08-15-2005 3:17 PM
Reply to: Message 201 by PaulK
08-15-2005 12:27 PM


Re: Bush and Tree
PaulK writes:

The point of the bush versus tree is the shape. The bush model is broader, featuring more side-branches, while the tree places a heavy emphasis on the trunk. Examples of adaptive radiation would, then, be very "bushy", while phyletic gradualism would be more like a tree.

I have bushes with an even heavier emphasis on the trunk than a tree, relative to height. Maybe it would help if someone mentioned the type of bush and tree they have in mind for this analogy, because the supposed distinction between bush and tree isn't apparent to me. When I look around my yard, which has plenty of each, the greater bushiness of bushes is not apparent.

I understand the distinction people are trying to make with the analogy. Anyone who finds the analogy helpful is welcome to it. But in the end I think there is no guarantee that people will all draw the same distinction between bushes and trees, and once you have to start explaining the analogy it has lost its effectiveness.

I wonder if part of the problem is that the tree people are thinking of is the one used to represent the evolutionary tree in old text books. That tree definitely is not as bushy as the ones I have in mind. When I think of a tree I'm already thinking of something pretty bushy. Before people introduced the bush analogy I already thought of evolution as very finely graduated with many offshoots, and so I didn't see the need for it.

But we're drifting way off my main objection to the analogy, which was that the characterization of a bush as better representing "starts, stops and jumps" than a tree. Does anyone see this?

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6649
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 215 of 288 (233460)
08-15-2005 3:18 PM
Reply to: Message 213 by deerbreh
08-15-2005 3:13 PM


Re: Boney species
quote:
If you don't find it convincing the burden of proof is on you to say why the transitional and homology data that are inadequate.

Unless randman simply cannot believe that whales evolved from ancient land mammals. Then he doesn't have to show anything, and I, for one, am happy to allow him his disbelief. I cannot honestly think of any argument that would convince him otherwise, nor do I think anyone should care enough to try.

Now, if he's trying to argue that no one should believe that whales evolved from land mammals, then, yes, he does have the burden of proof.

Edited to added quoted passage.

This message has been edited by Chiroptera, 15-Aug-2005 07:19 PM


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Percy
Member
Posts: 18498
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 216 of 288 (233464)
08-15-2005 3:38 PM
Reply to: Message 196 by randman
08-15-2005 11:53 AM


Re: only 2 issues
randman writes:

This is not an unreasonable assumption...

Thanks for granting that's a reasonable assumption.

Don't forget that next word was "but". It could possibly have been a reasonable assumption if it weren't for the points that followed.

  • You haven't established that horse and whale evolution are comparable.

  • You don't know how complete the fossil record is for either horses or whales.

  • The rate of evolution varies according to the stability of the ecological niche.

I think you're confusing two different things:

  • The number of transitionals that existed.

  • The number of transitional fossils actually discovered.

Accepting just for the sake of discussion your estimate of hundreds of horse transitionals, because of the rarity of fossilization you cannot conclude anything from discovering only 30.

This is why I am encouraging you to seek some consensus about the likelihood of fossilization. It makes no sense for you to keep announcing your conclusions about how unsupportive the whale fossil record is of evolution if they're based upon an erroneous assumption of frequent fossilization.

What I am saying is, you don't have to keep claiming the whale fossil record doesn't support evolution in every other post. We already know you believe this. What is under dispute is your underlying assumptions that allowed you to reach this conclusion: you assume a relatively complete fossil record and that evolution is non-continuous.

In other words, until you convince people that the fossil record is relatively complete and that evolution is non-continuous, there's no point in jumping ahead to your conclusions.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 196 by randman, posted 08-15-2005 11:53 AM randman has responded

Replies to this message:
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mark24
Member (Idle past 3368 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 217 of 288 (233465)
08-15-2005 3:42 PM
Reply to: Message 214 by Percy
08-15-2005 3:17 PM


Re: Bush and Tree
Percy,

But we're drifting way off my main objection to the analogy, which was that the characterization of a bush as better representing "starts, stops and jumps" than a tree. Does anyone see this?

Yep, I don't see it either.

Mark


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those that understand binary, & those that don't
This message is a reply to:
 Message 214 by Percy, posted 08-15-2005 3:17 PM Percy has not yet responded

    
randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3072 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 218 of 288 (233467)
08-15-2005 3:47 PM
Reply to: Message 213 by deerbreh
08-15-2005 3:13 PM


Re: Boney species
So what you are saying is that a predictive analysis of what the record should state is not necessary to state the fossil evidence is supportive of ToE.

I disagree, but here's the kicker. If you feel that way, why are you on this thread at all?

This thread, to my knowledge, is about that fossil evidence, of which you discount as unnecessary and perhaps even impossible to assess in terms of the record overall in this transition.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 213 by deerbreh, posted 08-15-2005 3:13 PM deerbreh has responded

Replies to this message:
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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3072 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 219 of 288 (233473)
08-15-2005 4:10 PM
Reply to: Message 216 by Percy
08-15-2005 3:38 PM


Re: only 2 issues
You haven't established that horse and whale evolution are comparable.

Their both mammals. You haven't really established they are not comparable. I admit I am not a working evolutionary biologist, but at least I am offering data.

Do you or anyone else here have data on other mammal evolutionary sequences that contradicts what I am saying?

You don't know how complete the fossil record is for either horses or whales.

That's correct. I am being overly conservative when in reality the situation may be far worse as far as the other side. There may well should be far more species than the fossils found. So the ratio could be 50 to 1, or 100 to 1, or even 1000 to 1, of transitional forms to "final product" of living species.

The rate of evolution varies according to the stability of the ecological niche.

Ok, so how many ecological niches do we think existed in the land mammal to whale evolution? If we don't know, then producing a range for an estimate is better than one number.

Certainly though, we can estimate based on fossils of proposed mammal evolution that we do know about, and widening the numbers should give us a good range of what to expect. We can also look at existing amphibious and semi-aquatic and aquatic species today.

Have evos done any of this to support their claims of land mammal to whale evolution?

I think you're confusing two different things:

The number of transitionals that existed.

The number of transitional fossils actually discovered.

I am not confusing them, but both are essential to properly assessing whether the fossils we see are indicative overall of the process theorized by evolutionists.

This is why I am encouraging you to seek some consensus about the likelihood of fossilization.

I have repeatedly tried to do this by offering real data based on fossil finds, namely the fact of so many whale and aquatic mammal fossils indicates a fairly high rate of fossilization in terms of basic forms. Specifically, the 2 whale suborders are well-represented. So we see a fairly narrow range of similar traits, compared to land mammals and whales, very well represented.

We also see Basiloraurus well represented such that it's quite common for people in Louisiana to have found pieces of these aquatic creature's fossils. Basiloraurus dates back to 40 million years ago.

So considering these creatures are well-represented, why would the many transitionals, even between these 2 forms not be present and in large numbers and with great range?

What about the transitions from land mammals to fully aquatic mammals? We see a possible handful. We don't see the majority of the traits gradually arising.

Imo, evolutionists just dismiss the fact we don't see them with a waive of the hand, and declare it's unnecessary.

you assume a relatively complete fossil record and that evolution is non-continuous.

No, I don't claim the fossil record is complete. I list specific examples of ranges such as the current suborders, that have thousands of fossils, and as such offer data that regardless of the meaning of "rare" or "complete" or "incomplete", the reality is whatever fossilization rates are, they are sufficient for thousands of fossils to occur and be discovered of Basiloraurus and the current whale suborders. So any claims of rarity need to incorporate the fact of thousands of fossils occuring and explain why something "common enough" to create thousands of fossils of these forms left no trace of the vast majority of forms needing to occur to explain land mammal to whale transitions.

I also question what you mean by "non-continous". I have showed:

1. Rates of evolution can change and that the transitions between land mammal to aquatic mammal had to have had occurred over an approximate 10 million year period.

2. That ToE posits a bush-like branching effect, and thus is not continuous in the sense of one species just slowly evolving in toto not branching off at all.

Do you disagree with points 1 and 2?

This message has been edited by randman, 08-15-2005 04:12 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 216 by Percy, posted 08-15-2005 3:38 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 222 by Jazzns, posted 08-15-2005 5:51 PM randman has not yet responded
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 Message 227 by NosyNed, posted 08-16-2005 1:20 AM randman has responded

  
deerbreh
Member (Idle past 1066 days)
Posts: 882
Joined: 06-22-2005


Message 220 of 288 (233477)
08-15-2005 4:14 PM
Reply to: Message 218 by randman
08-15-2005 3:47 PM


Re: Boney species
So what you are saying is that a predictive analysis of what the record should state is not necessary to state the fossil evidence is supportive of ToE.

Boy talk about a strawman. That is not what I said at all. I said it was not necessary to predict the number of transitionals. The prediction is that there will be transitionals and there will be homology among ancestors, transitionals, and modern forms. Those predictions are fulfilled in the fossil and extant form evidence.

I disagree, but here's the kicker. If you feel that way, why are you on this thread at all?

This thread, to my knowledge, is about that fossil evidence, of which you discount as unnecessary and perhaps even impossible to assess in terms of the record overall in this transition.

Yes, the thread is about fossil evidence - which I did not discount as unnecessary. I simply disagree with you as to what KIND OF ancestral and transitional fossil evidence is necessary. Big difference. When you misrepresent what people say it is quite easy to refute their arguments. That is why it is called a strawman argument - easy to knock it down.

edited misspelling and to add missing word for clarity

This message has been edited by deerbreh, 08-15-2005 04:20 PM

This message has been edited by deerbreh, 08-15-2005 04:51 PM


This message is a reply to:
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Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 1141 days)
Posts: 3808
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 221 of 288 (233486)
08-15-2005 4:52 PM
Reply to: Message 215 by Chiroptera
08-15-2005 3:18 PM


Re: Boney species
quote:
Unless randman simply cannot believe that whales evolved from ancient land mammals. Then he doesn't have to show anything, and I, for one, am happy to allow him his disbelief. I cannot honestly think of any argument that would convince him otherwise, nor do I think anyone should care enough to try.

Ditto. Randman makes unsupported assertions, then when pressed cites numbers and sources. Those numbers turn out to be misapprehensions or whole cloth; the sources do not bear the weight of the citation. Further elucidation of how he arrived at his numbers is demanded, and randman ignores the demand. He ignores it again. And again. Then, after the discussion continues for a while, he begins to assert that he, at least, has provided some data, unlike the obstructionist evos. If "evos" cannot irrefutably disprove his unsupported negative assertions, he declares victory.

Randman is playing rope-a-dope.

This message has been edited by Omnivorous, 08-15-2005 04:53 PM


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Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2084 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 222 of 288 (233502)
08-15-2005 5:51 PM
Reply to: Message 219 by randman
08-15-2005 4:10 PM


Fossils not only evidence of whale evolution
I am not sure if others just forgot of it is OT for this thread but one of the extremely convincing evidence (other than the genetics) that whales derived from land mammals is the presence of atavisms in whales.

Check out the sections on whales with legs.
http://edwardtbabinski.us/whales/

Scroll down to the section on atavisms.
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section2.html

If whales did not come from land mammals. Why do they sometimes have legs?


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This message is a reply to:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 18498
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 223 of 288 (233503)
08-15-2005 5:51 PM
Reply to: Message 219 by randman
08-15-2005 4:10 PM


Re: only 2 issues
randman writes:

Their both mammals. You haven't really established they are not comparable. I admit I am not a working evolutionary biologist, but at least I am offering data.

You're mistaking an argument for data. You're assuming that horse and whale had similar fossilization histories because they're both mammals. This is an argument, not data.

That they are both mammals is slim support. Many, many creatures are mammals, yet few, if any, have as complete a fossil record as the horse. That the horse fossil record is cited so often is because of its unusual completeness relative to other creatures.

Additionally, whales evolved in different geographic regions, different environments and different geological periods, and they were, of course, prey to different species and microbes.

Do you or anyone else here have data on other mammal evolutionary sequences that contradicts what I am saying?

As I said, you don't have any data for your point of view, unless you consider the fact that "they're both mammals" is data. And I don't have any data, either, but unlike your argument that "they're both mammals", the fact that few fossil histories are as complete as the horse and the fact that all the conditions under which they evolved were different argues strongly against the simplistic "they're both mammals, so they should have similar fossil representation."

That's correct. I am being overly conservative when in reality the situation may be far worse as far as the other side. There may well should be far more species than the fossils found. So the ratio could be 50 to 1, or 100 to 1, or even 1000 to 1, of transitional forms to "final product" of living species.

How are you going to conclude anything numerically useful with a range from 50:1 to 1000:1? If I asked if you could drive over to my house tomorrow and you asked me how far it was, and I told you between 50 and 1000 miles, that wouldn't help much, would it? Numerical answers that span orders of magnitude usually aren't very useful.

Ok, so how many ecological niches do we think existed in the land mammal to whale evolution? If we don't know, then producing a range for an estimate is better than one number.

I wouldn't even venture a guess. You can venture a guess if you like, but it would just be a guess and not very useful.

Certainly though, we can estimate based on fossils of proposed mammal evolution that we do know about, and widening the numbers should give us a good range of what to expect. We can also look at existing amphibious and semi-aquatic and aquatic species today.

You continue to keep restating this conclusion in contradiction to the facts. By your own guestimate (not one I necessarily accept, by the way, I'm just sticking with figures you accept for now) the ratio of total species to fossilized species ranges across a couple orders of magnitude. You can get some outer bounds on the problem, perhaps, but nothing approaching a solid answer.

Have evos done any of this to support their claims of land mammal to whale evolution?

It is the fallacies you accept that lead you to believe asking this question makes any sense. Evolutionists would not make any estimates of the number of fossils that should be found across so broad a range of geography and time. It would be a fools errand. Fossilization is too serendipitous a process.

You are once again drawing false conclusions based upon your erroneous assumption that fossilization is common. You can't keep jumping ahead to your conclusions until you settle the discussion of how rare or common fossilization is.

This is why I am encouraging you to seek some consensus about the likelihood of fossilization.

I have repeatedly tried to do this by offering real data based on fossil finds, namely the fact of so many whale and aquatic mammal fossils indicates a fairly high rate of fossilization in terms of basic forms. Specifically, the 2 whale suborders are well-represented. So we see a fairly narrow range of similar traits, compared to land mammals and whales, very well represented.

You cannot generalize like this. The good representation in the fossil record of one group cannot be used to extrapolate that all groups should be well represented, even of similar creatures. For example, many creatures are known by only one or a few fossils, and in some cases by only a tooth or toebone.

So considering these creatures are well-represented, why would the many transitionals, even between these 2 forms not be present and in large numbers and with great range?

As I mentioned in the Where are all the missing links? thread, one possible reason is that evolutionary change is more rapid in small populations, which because of their small numbers are much less likely to be fossilized and discovered. And there are other factors I mentioned in that thread, which I won't repeat again.

I also question what you mean by "non-continous". I have showed:

1. Rates of evolution can change and that the transitions between land mammal to aquatic mammal had to have had occurred over an approximate 10 million year period.

2. That ToE posits a bush-like branching effect, and thus is not continuous in the sense of one species just slowly evolving in toto not branching off at all.

Do you disagree with points 1 and 2?

Neither point is relevant. Evolutionary change is continuous. Our modern classification categories are imposed upon the current evolutionary state of living species, a mere snapshot in time. But this is the classification system upon which we view fossil history, though the categorization of fossil species into modern categories can often be problematic.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 219 by randman, posted 08-15-2005 4:10 PM randman has responded

Replies to this message:
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mick
Member (Idle past 3159 days)
Posts: 913
Joined: 02-17-2005


Message 224 of 288 (233532)
08-15-2005 8:15 PM
Reply to: Message 202 by randman
08-15-2005 12:45 PM


Re: Boney species
randman writes:

The reason I ask is that Pakicetus is a fully and solely land mammal dated to 52 million years ago

okay, I said 50 million years, you said 52. That's a level of inaccuracy I can live with.

not sure where you got your original 10-15 from though...made up?

mick


This message is a reply to:
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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3072 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 225 of 288 (233559)
08-16-2005 12:17 AM
Reply to: Message 224 by mick
08-15-2005 8:15 PM


Re: Boney species
The oldest aquatic mammals theorized to be in the whale line and caleld whales by evos, although they are not necessarily, but are fully aquatic and massive, up to 60', date back 40 million years (basilosaurus).

That's a 10-12 million year period for that transition to take place, and less if you date some finds of Pakicestus later, as some have.


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