Tiktaalik in the News

Our friend Tiktaalik features in this Panda’s Thumb post, in which a Creationist is loud and angry over nothing. Here’s an example of what I mean (an excerpt from the post being commented upon, from the odious evolutionnews.org):

Clearly, Darwin’s public relations team has invested much rhetorical capital into this fossil. If past experience is to be our guide, the only event that might cause Darwinists to criticize Tiktaalik would be the publishing of a fossil that was claimed to better document evolution. In the past, I have called such events, evolutionist “retroactive confessions of ignorance.” And with a recently published re-analysis of the fish Panderichthys, Darwinists are now praising Panderichthys for having features that are “much more tetrapod-like than in Tiktaalik,” and are retroactively confessing weaknesses in their precious Tiktaalik, which is now admitted to be a fossil with a “quality” that was “poor.”

The latest retroactive confessions of evolutionist ignorance comes on the heels of a published re-analysis of the bones of Panderichthys. The study used CT scans to show Panderichthys apparently had a few well-defined radial bones in its pectoral fins. (Radial bones are found only in fish fins, but evolutionary paleontologists contend that radial bones are homologous to digits in tetrapod limbs.) When commenting on this new find, the paper’s lead author, Catherine A. Boisvert, boasted in an interview with The Scientist that “it is now completely proven that fingers have evolved from distal radials already present in fish that gave rise to the tetrapod.” Boisvert also praised her findings, stating: “The disposition of distal radials in Panderichthys are much more tetrapod-like than in Tiktaalik.”

This one plays off of another misconception: the idea that scientists only have one, maybe two examples of transitional fossils at any one time. Since Archaeopteryx has been ‘proven’ by Creationists to be something that just looks exactly like a dramatic example of a transitional form but isn’t (or a hoax – yes, I still get that one), they can now turn their attention to Tiktaalik and thus refute all fossil evidence for evolution.

As ever, this new ‘controversy’ over the quality of Tiktaalik specimens is entirely fabricated by Creationist. The Panda’s Thumb writer explains why, but honestly, you should be able to spot the stupidity of the argument just by reading Luskin’s original post.

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