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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Another gap in the fossil record closed

Tommorrow' edition of Nature (one of the premier scientific journals) contains an article that describes a the filling of a gap in the fossil record. According to the YAHOO News release:

LONDON (Reuters) - An international team of scientists have discovered 4.1 million year old fossils in eastern Ethiopia that fill a missing gap in human evolution. The teeth and bones belong to a primitive species of Australopithecus known as Au. anamensis, an ape-man creature that walked on two legs. The Australopithecus genus is thought to be an ancestor of modern humans. Seven separate species have been named. Au. anamensis is the most primitive. "This new discovery closes the gap between the fully blown Australopithecines and earlier forms we call Ardipithecus," said Tim White, a leader of the team from the University of California, Berkeley. "We now know where Australopithecus came from before 4 million years ago."
Found and analyzed by scientists from the United States, Ethiopia, Japan and France, the fossils were unearthed in the Middle Awash area in the Afar desert of eastern Ethiopia. The area, about 140 miles northeast of Addis Ababa, has the most continuous record of human evolution, according to the researchers.

Creationists (and intelligent designers) are constantly lamenting their perception of a flawed fossil record. This find fills in another evolutionary gap in the road to homo sapiens. Last week, a major evolutionary link between fish and tetrapods (land walking creatures) was discovered in Greenland (tiktaalik rosea). Aside from the fact that the gaps in the fossil record are being closed on a weekly basis, both of these finds highlight an additional power of evolutionary theory. Evolutionary hypotheses led both teams of researchers to specific regions because the rocks in those areas had the potential for providing the intermediate forms.


Joe Meert


At 11:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you rock man - keep the science coming!


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