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Sunday, September 11, 2011

No Transitional Fossil

Many of us may understand that a theory, in the scientific context, is something that has been tested repeatedly and  vigorously, and, under these tests, stood up to the scrutinies, proving to be the best possible answer to the question ask . For instance, the theory of evolution is the best answer we have to date for how human beings development on this planet. Indeed, in science, a theory is subject to change. It can change over time since new evidences, brought to light, can add to a better understanding of that theory, and this is the basic way the scientific process work, in general. Unlike religion, science does not proclaim that something is a “fact” and hold steadfast to its position in the presence of evidence that shows it to be wrong. Indeed, science, as the tool we have developed to better understand our natural world, does not hold a dogmatic position. In science, new evidence can and does frequently add to our understanding to date and, as a result, we have, no other alternative, in the face of new evidence but to change our thought process, and that is a good exercise especially if we are committed to learning and growing in knowledge.
This then brings me to why I named this piece “No Transitional Fossil,” which is a claim the religious world always uses to try to discredit the validity of human evolution. In fact, religious people have always scoffed at the notion that humans and other great apes are from the same common ancestor. If this is to be true, they assert, why no human-ape species have not been found. In other words, why are there “No Transitional Fossil”?
Well, are religious people willing to change their minds if evidence is provided, because recently found human fossil seems to answer their pressing question?

New Ancestor May be Ape-Human Link
According to a paper in the latest issue of Science, “A new member of the human family tree recently found in South Africa is a good candidate for being the transitional species between ape-like beings and our direct human ancestors…”
“The 1.95- to 1.78-million-year-old hominid, named Australopithecus sediba, walked on two legs and had hips similar to ours, but still retained a few more primitive features, such as longer arms and a smaller brain. This human relative may have given rise to Homo erectus, "Upright Man," or to Homo habilis aka "Handy Man," who was the earliest known human”.

There were more than one fossils found, and, an "Analysis of their bones shows they had longer, more orangutan-like arms, short powerful hands, a hip bone similar to that of modern humans, and long legs capable of striding, and possibly even running, as people do today. They also had human-like faces, noses and back teeth. Their brains, however, were probably about one-third the size of a Homo sapiens' brain." 
"The new hominid species reveals that the evolutionary transition from our small-bodied, tree-dwelling ancestors to larger-bodied, full-striding walkers happened in gradual steps."

You can read more on this story HERE

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