Friday, October 29, 2010

Sauropod Evolution Find

I thought about not doing this blog anymore due to lack of time. I have a blog on historic Christianity, as well as a web site on Christian history, which is my main focus. Now I've added a site and a blog on fitness.

Combined with being an entrepreneur, small business owner, and father of 4 children that are still at home, there's not a lot of time, and this isn't anywhere near my most popular blog.

But, as I keep reading interesting articles on evolution—and seeing interesting videos—I can't resist commenting even if few people see it.

I guess I'll just learn to keep it short, although with the links it's already taken a little time to write the first couple paragraphs.

Sigh ...

Anyway, scientists have found one more transitional form, this one a sauropod. A sauropod is one of those really big, 4-legged dinosaours, which was mainly the brontosaurus when I was growing up.

That was over 30 years ago, though, so now Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus are the most well-known sauropods ... and there's a new one.

This find is so new that the presentation on it isn't to be given until Sunday (Oct. 31).

An abstract has been written on Yizhousaurus sunae, though. The entire skull plus a lot of the skeleton are preserved. It was found in China, as a lot of recent discoveries have been.

This sauropod was about 9m (29 ft.) long, though I can no longer find the article I read that length in. The abstract says no such thing.

This is one more of millions of examples of transitional fossils that dishonest anti-evolutionists—who are almost always "Christians" as well, which is very sad—say don't exist. As the abstract puts it, Yizhousaurus sunae "fills a critical gap in the early evolution of sauropod dinosaurs."

The Nature of Transitional Fossils

Of course, by filling one big gap, this nearly complete skeleton creates two more gaps, one on either side of itself, that anti-evolutionists will use to argue that transitional fossils don't exist.

The Nature of Christians

It's very sad, really, that most anti-evolutionists are Christians. Somehow, many Christians seem to think that if they are defending God's reputation—or if they think they're defending God's reputation—then it's okay to be purposely ignorant, embarrassingly close-minded, and openly deceitful.

It's not.

The Nature of Christ

I believe that King Jesus is the Truth. He's not just true, he is the Truth.

Thus, I believe that he never espouses dishonesty.

I believe that what The Truth says is true.

Thus, I believe that it's true that those who keep seeking find and those who keep asking receive. I believe that this is especially true when you are pursuing truth.

Pursuing truth will not lead to deception. Pursuing truth will lead to the Truth.

Thus, we can stand up for what's true. We can even be wrong in our pursuit of the Truth, and we will not suffer or fall away for it. Seeking, by definition, suggests that you will first look in the wrong places. That is how you seek. If you don't wind up believing a falsehoods, or at least experimenting with a few falsehoods, then I submit that you have never sought truth.

One Request

Yizhousaurus sunae is a "basal sauropod." Due to the high proliferation of the articles on this find, I was unable to quickly find an explanation of what a basal sauropod is. I did find that they are classified "solely on the basis of fragmentary postcranial material."

Postcranial means back of the skull (basically).

However, it would be nice to know what distinguishes a basal sauropod from other sauropods.

If you happen to read this article and you know, please comment!

Thank you!


  1. The way the term "basal" is being used in reference to these sauropods is in the context of the use of "clades" to describe groups of related animals that share the same characteristics. Cladistics is a modern way to build a taxonomical "family tree", using clades to parsimoniously describe the "branching" relationships between related groups, without making unjustified assumptions about those relationships. It is sort of necessarily complicated by the diverse characteristics and their sets and subsets. But a "basal clade" of animals would be one that shared characteristics of a clade that is a subset of the basal clade. For instance: reptiles, fish, mammals, etc. are a subset of the basal clade, vertebrates. Gorillas are a basal clade to chimps and humans, and orangs are a basal clade to all of those. The idea is to categorize species groups by shared characteritics without making unwarranted, and usually wrong, assumptions as to which was the ancestor of which, etc., without enough data. (For instance: saying that gorillas were the ancestors of humans and chimps is obviously flawed and simplistic.) So a "basal sauropod", when the term is correctly applied, is in reference to a group of sauropods: either as a whole, or to a specific subgroup or subgroups. It means that they share characteristics with those with which they are being compared, but don't seem as closely related as the subgroup(s), based on the current evidence. Basality opens the question of how the species in question is related to the relative subgroups. Are they the direct ancestor of the group? Are they a sort of great-uncle or cousin group? How did the relationship come about? One of my professors in college said recontructing a picture of the past using fossils and artifacts was like trying to put together a very large jigsaw puzzle without a picture to go by, and with most of the pieces missing. Hope my new employer is having fun in sunny California!

  2. Wikipedia articles on cladistics and on basal(phylogenetics) will probably help clarify the basal concept, for someone with a high level of reading comprehension, like yourself.

  3. Thanks, John. I tried wikipedia and several other places. I'm sure the problem is that I didn't realize "basal" was a generic term that could be applied no matter the clade. I thought it was some specific branch of sauropod.

    I thought it odd that I couldn't google "basal sauropods" and get anything but that article.

    So, complicated as what you wrote was, it was very helpful.


Feel free to comment, and I'll even let links be posted, particularly on the subject of evolution from either side. No spam, and no pointless links. The comments are moderated.