I borrowed the title from Joseph Conrad. Maybe not quite, but still I’m holding onto it for continuity. These posts are in response to comments from creationist David Buckna. Here is a link to the previous post.
Review the history. David posted a multi-part comment, and I’m in the process of dissecting it in manageable chunks. It’s a limitation of mine. Following is a continuation of the comment in question:
Giant Cretaceous groundhog (Science Daily): A large rodent that ran with dinosaurs named Vintana (“luck”) will “shake up current views on the mammalian evolutionary tree,” the article says. The original paper in Nature calls it a case of “remarkable mosaicism.” Live Science calls its ear “primitive yet specialized”. Sid Perkins in Science Magazine notes that it was no primitive creature: it was agile, fast, had a good sense of smell, and could bite with twice the force of rodents its size. Even though Science Daily promises that Vintana “provides new and important insights into early mammalian evolution,” Dr. David Krause (Stony Brook University) “emphasizes that a major question remains for scientists: How did such a peculiar creature evolve?” Noting its “super senses,” National Geographic was more confident about evolution in general:
I’m looking at this right now, and I have not the faintest idea what it’s all about. I need to do some Skeptical Analysis.
All right! The first link is to a page on the Creation/Evolution Headlines site. The big block of text is a quote from that page. The first sentence in the above contains an embedded link to another page on the Creation/Evolution Headlines site.. However the link doesn’t go anywhere. When I follow the link I get “Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.” So that leaves me with the fun of tracking this business down and figuring out what it’s all about.
David’s excerpt from the Creation/Evolution Headlines page includes some other links. There is one that leads to “The original paper in Nature.” The abstract is on-line:
First cranial remains of a gondwanatherian mammal reveal remarkable mosaicism
David W. Krause, Simone Hoffmann, John R. Wible, E. Christopher Kirk, Julia A. Schultz, Wighart von Koenigswald, Joseph R. Groenke, James B. Rossie, Patrick M. O’Connor, Erik R. Seiffert, Elizabeth R. Dumont, Waymon L. Holloway, Raymond R. Rogers, Lydia J. Rahantarisoa, Addison D. Kemp & Haingoson Andriamialison
Nature 515, 512–517 (27 November 2014) doi:10.1038/nature13922
Previously known only from isolated teeth and lower jaw fragments recovered from the Cretaceous and Palaeogene of the Southern Hemisphere, the Gondwanatheria constitute the most poorly known of all major mammaliaform radiations. Here we report the discovery of the first skull material of a gondwanatherian, a complete and well-preserved cranium from Upper Cretaceous strata in Madagascar that we assign to a new genus and species. Phylogenetic analysis strongly supports its placement within Gondwanatheria, which are recognized as monophyletic and closely related to multituberculates, an evolutionarily successful clade of Mesozoic mammals known almost exclusively from the Northern Hemisphere. The new taxon is the largest known mammaliaform from the Mesozoic of Gondwana. Its craniofacial anatomy reveals that it was herbivorous, large-eyed and agile, with well-developed high-frequency hearing and a keen sense of smell. The cranium exhibits a mosaic of primitive and derived features, the disparity of which is extreme and probably reflective of a long evolutionary history in geographic isolation.
Following that is a link to Live Science:
Mysterious ‘Chewing Machine’ Mammal Lived Among Dinosaursby Laura Geggel, Staff Writer | November 05, 2014 02:47pm ET
Examination shows this is a story about the article from Nature. It has the following graphic:
The link to Science Magazine is again an item about the paper in Nature.
Meet Vintana, the second-largest mammal that lived with the dinosaurs
By Sid Perkins5 November 2014 1:00 pm
The item says, in part:
Scientists have unearthed the fossilized skull of the second-largest mammal alive during the age of the dinosaurs. The creature lived between 66 million and 72 million years ago and belonged to a group of mammals known as gondwanatherians, which roamed Gondwana, a landmass that, starting about 180 million years ago, broke apart into South America, Australia, Antarctica, Africa, Arabia, Madagascar, and India. Previously, researchers knew about gondwanatherians only from teeth and bits of jawbones. But in a study published online today in Nature, a team describes a complete skull of a new species from the group.
Then there’s a link to National Geographic:
Fossil From Dinosaur Era Reveals Big Mammal With Super Senses
A nearly complete skull, found accidentally, belongs to the enigmatic group of ancient mammals called Gondwanatherians.
Dinosaurs that roamed Madagascar more than 66 million years ago had a most unusual fuzzy mammal living in their shadows—one so large, and with such strange features, that scientists say they could have never predicted its existence.
That is, until 2010, when a team of scientists looking for fish fossils accidentally collected its nearly complete skull from a site along Madagascar’s west coast.
Plus some more.
So, what’s this all about? David doesn’t say. Up to this point we are left with some links to various science journals and periodicals, all about a very interesting fossil find. This appears to be a story about scientists doing science. If this is what David wants to show us, then he has likely accomplished his intent.
Now it’s necessary to follow the remaining three links from David’s comment. Each of these links to a separate page on the Creation Ministries International site, and each is some argument against the science behind biological evolution. It’s going to take a fair amount of blog space to cover these discussions, so I’m going to save it all for a future post.
Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.