Fossil Fish Pushes Evolutionary Time

first_imgQuick!  When was the Age of Fishes?  If you said “Devonian,” you were correct according to the textbooks and museums, but where’s your evidence?  Look at this diorama in the Smithsonian depicting the seas of the Silurian, the period preceding the Devonian: crinoids, trilobites, corals and nautiloids, but no fish.  It may be time to change the artwork and the textbooks.  A fully-finned fish, jaws and all, has been found in Silurian rock in China.    Prior to the announcement in Nature,1 the only tentative fossil evidence of a gnathostome (jawed) fish in the late Silurian consisted of head fragments dated 416 million years ago (Mya).  Now, a nearly complete fossil of a jawed fish the discoverers named Guiyu oneiros pushes the date three million years earlier, well into the Silurian.  The fact that it is already fully a boned fish means its non-fish predecessors had to have evolved, according to Darwin’s theory, much earlier than that.  “As the oldest articulated sarcopterygian, the new taxon offers insights into the origin and early divergence of osteichthyans [bony fish], and indicates that the minimum date for the actinopterygian�sarcopterygian split was no later than 419 million years ago,” the authors said.  “No later than” translates to “probably a lot earlier than.”    This puts pressure on the whole fish family tree.  Prior to the division between actinopterygians (which includes most familiar fish species) and sarcopterygians (lungfish, Coelacanth, and all four-footed animals, including us), there was supposed to be some branching points within the osteichthyes (bony fish) and chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish), and between jawed and non-jawed vertebrates.  How well documented have these major branching points been in the fossil record?Osteichthyans, which fall into two major monophyletic groups, namely actinopterygians (bichirs, sturgeons, gars, bowfins and teleosts) and sarcopterygians (coelacanths, lungfishes and tetrapods), make up 98% of recognized living vertebrate species.  The rise of osteichthyans from other primitive gnathostomes is a key transition in vertebrate evolution, yet this transition is poorly documented by the fossil discoveries of the last century.  Major morphological gaps existed between actinopterygians and sarcopterygians, and between osteichthyans and non-osteichthyan gnathostomes (chondrichthyans, acanthodians and placoderms).  The past decade has seen the gap narrowing with fossil discoveries such as Psarolepis, Ligulalepis and Dialipina, which show fascinating combinations of osteichthyan and non-osteichthyan gnathostome characters, providing new opportunities for studying the polarity and evolution of these characters.  However, the basal osteichthyan phylogeny remains uncertain owing to the large number of unknown character states in these early forms and the provisional assignment of disarticulated remains to a single taxon.  A better understanding of these fishes is therefore crucial in reconstructing the part of phylogeny close to the split between actinopterygians and sarcopterygians.That’s where Guiyu comes in.  It is unquestionably sarcopteryginian.  Before now, evolutionary paleontologists drew their phylogenetic trees of the Silurian in the absence of evidence about jawed vertebrates.  The three specimens mentioned above are all well in the Devonian, except for Psarolepis, “an indeterminable osteichthyan” tentatively dated to the late Silurian.  Now, Guiyu puts one of the major branching points well into the Silurian.  Whatever led to the evolution of the sarcopterygians had to happen earlier, and more rapidly, than previously believed.    Michael I. Coates (U of Chicago) commented on this find in the same issue of Nature.2  “Discovery of an unusually intact and ancient fossil fish provides further evidence that the search for modern vertebrate origins requires breaking out of the Devonian and into the preceding period,” he began.  Usually, the earliest fossils are scrappy and indistinct, concocted into “conjectural species” from fragments, but this one is remarkably well preserved.  Coates agrees that it comes from a “poorly resolved patch of vertebrate evolution.  Crucially, this piscine offshoot of our own distant past is both unusually intact and exceptionally old.”    What does this find indicate about our knowledge of past eras?  After discussing other remarkable recent finds, some of which have surprising mosaics of features, he said that “The straightforward message is that the origin of modern gnathostomes is not a Devonian phenomenon, after all.”  Add some fish to that Silurian diorama.  In fact, in his article he showed a 1940s-era artwork of a fishless Silurian sea, and said, “What else might be absent?  Evidence of early actinopterygians (ray-finned fishes) and chondrichthyans (sharks and chimaeras) must be lurking out there, somewhere in the Silurian sediments.”  Here’s another straightforward message by Coates: “By pushing a whole series of branching points in gnathostome evolution out of the Devonian and into the Silurian, the discovery of Guiyu also signals that a significant part of early vertebrate evolution is unknown.”  He encouraged paleontologists to take a new look at their Silurian fossils and dig up evidence that must be there.1.  Zhu, Zhao, Jia, Lu, Qiao and Qu, “The oldest articulated osteichthyan reveals mosaic gnathostome characters,” Nature 458, 469-474 (26 March 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07855.2.  Michael I. Coates, “Palaeontology: Beyond the Age of Fishes,” Nature 458, 413-414 (26 March 2009) | doi:10.1038/458413a.The collapse of a mythology – the fishless Silurian sea – occurring before our eyes.  Evolutionists like to quote the maxim “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” when they are confronted with the lack of transitional forms.  That maxim cuts both ways.  They jeer creationists about the lack of any “Precambrian rabbit” fossils, but notice two things about that: (1) use the same maxim against the evolutionists, and (2) the evolutionists have rigged the names and dates of the strata to prevent such a thing from being found.  We’ve seen them reclassify a stratum from one end of the geological column to the other when it suited their purposes (01/03/2007).  Finding a rabbit in a Precambrian bed would not make them abandon Darwin Daddy.  They would just say, “Well, what do you know; this bed is Pleistocene.”    When you find anomalies like this within their own dating scheme, the case for falsification is more convincing.  Notice that the “earliest” fossils are not transitional.  They neither show primitive features nor clear-cut lineages.  Prior to Guiyu, they said the earliest specimens like Psarolepis had a mosaic of features.  This means it did not clearly fall into a single lineage.  Now, an even earlier specimen is unquestionably sarcopterygian and 100% fish.  The artist conception shows a fish you could catch and eat.  It’s got teeth, gills, scales, fins, eyes and all the equipment a fish could want.  It wasn’t becoming a fish from something else, and it wasn’t evolving into something else.  Think how many lucky mutations must have been required to get all these parts working together from some non-fish predecessor.  Since vertebrates have now been found all the way back to the early Cambrian (01/30/2003), it’s not that big a stretch to imagine finding a mammal in Cambrian or Precambrian strata some day.  After all, the skeletal system, immune system, digestive system, circulatory system, central nervous system had already “emerged” by then, so what’s the big deal shaping the outward morphology a little?    Another case of the “absence of evidence” maxim bears repeating.  The world is full of “living fossils” – species alive today that left no trace for supposed tens or hundreds of millions of years (see list on CreationWiki).  There are two possible lessons here.  One is that Precambrian rabbits could conceivably be found.  If you accept the evolutionary timeline, you would have to believe that the tuatara, coelacanth and Wollemi Pine lived through tens of millions of years, catastrophes and all, without leaving a trace in the fossil record – because they are still alive today.  There you go – “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”.  Secondly, living fossils argue against the evolutionary timeline altogether.  Is it plausible to think that these organisms survived unchanged for all that time?  Where is the evolution?  Just maybe those millions of years are fiction.  It would make more sense to believe that not much time has passed between the fossil and living representatives.  Whichever way you take it, today’s entry should shame the Darwinists into admitting they don’t know what they claim in their museum dioramas.(Visited 50 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Lessons from the Second Successful Humble Bundle

first_imgTags:#start#tips Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market audrey watters A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts The Humble Bundle ended its second pay-what-you-want deal on Saturday. After running for just 11 days, the startup, newly backed by Y Combinator sold over $1.8 million in video games, outperforming the great success the first bundle had earlier this year. The Humble Bundle lets customers choose the price they wanted to pay – anything from a penny up – to download a package of 5 indie video games. And even though they could have paid just a cent, the average customer spent $7.83 to download the bundle. Some companies, in order to have their names listed as top contributors on the Humble Bundle site, paid several thousand dollars for the bundle. (And for those keeping score at home, Linux users again paid twice as much as Windows users – $13.76 to $6.67.) Making the Pay-What-You-Want Business Model WorkPay-what-you-want has become an interesting alternative business model online, with bands like Radiohead demonstrating that it can be an even more successful than traditional pricing. The key to success, however, may be the amount of attention you can generate for your campaign. Pay-what-you-want is often a trade-off between a making small number of full-price sales and a large number of sales at what’s likely a far lower price. One of the games in the bundle Machinarium, for example, normally sells for $20. But by being part of the Humble Bundle, certainly it sold many times more copies than normal. Of course, not everyone can generate quite the buzz of Radiohead or Humble Bundle for that matter, and a recent study pointed to another option for helping make pay-what-you-want endeavors successful: combine it with a voluntary payment to charity, and people then tend to give more. Indeed, Humble Bundle customers can flag some of the money to go towards charity – either Child’s Play or the EFF – and some of it towards a tip for the Humble Bundle itself. Venture Beat estimates that tip might’ve brought in around $90,000 for the startup’s tip jar. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Adding a BitTorrent OptionOne of the interesting decisions that the Humble Bundle made this year was to make the games available for download via BitTorrent. Bundle co-founder Jeffrey Rosen asked people why they pirated the Bundle, rather than purchasing it for a penny. Many responded that they simply wanted to be able to access the games via BitTorrent as, for example, they had a poor Internet connection and couldn’t sustain the download. So Rosen added BitTorrent to the download options. He notes, “The most common search term for the Humble Indie Bundle is ‘Humble Indie Bundle torrent’, so we hope that by supporting BitTorrent we can help convert at least some of the pirates into legitimate users, or at least give one less reason to pirate it.”With the pay-what-you-want pricing, the DRM-free content, and the embracing of BitTorrent, the Humble Bundle seem to be trailblazing a very different model for selling and distributing online content. What are your thoughts on their ability to make this work so well?last_img read more

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Exploratorium’s Experience Experts Deliver Awesome iPad App

first_img“Perception is a strong subject for us,” says Sound Uncovered project director Jean Cheng. Designing a museum exhibit at the level of user experience comes right down to perception. “This app is about sound, but it’s really about you.” By causing you to notice weird things about your perception that you usually take for granted, the Exploratorium forces you to think more critically about your environment, and it does so purely through fun.I’m not going to spoil the illusions for you. If you have access to an iPad, you should download Sound Uncovered for free and try it yourself. Right now.But I will tell you about my favorites: I love “Find the Highest Note,” which presents a circular organ and demonstrates the mind-bending auditory Möbius strip known as the Shepard scale. As you move upward and downward in base pitch, the eerie Shepard tone’s partials replace each other at the top and bottom range of hearing. As a result, even though you’re moving up or down in pitch, it ultimately never sounds like it’s getting higher or lower. It’s the auditory version of the barber-pole illusion, where the corkscrewing shape seems to move upward or downward forever while remaining in the same place.What’s also cool about this exhibit in the app is that it doubles as a musical instrument.Another great social exhibit is the “How Old Are Your Ears?” test, which lets you slide down from an inaudibly high frequency into the ranges that humans naturally lose the ability to hear over time. The younger people in the room will start to hear an ear-splitting whine, but the elders won’t hear a thing until lower down.As we ran through the illusions at the museum, the construction crews periodically tested the fire alarm in the building, which pierced through our conversation. It was uncomfortable for a second, disrupting this carefully arranged social situation, but then we realized the building itself was demonstrating the very kinds of sensory and cognitive tricks we were playing with on the iPad. Extending its exhibit design to the iPad is a natural move for the Exploratorium. This museum came online in 1993, making its website among the first 600 in the world. The Exploratorium is like a laboratory for turning things into laboratories. In the same way it is turning its new U-shaped port building and the walkways and docks outside into a delightful maze of science experiments, it can turn flat, pixellated spaces into exhibits as well. And on the iPad, these experiments come to life, gaining the inputs of touch, movement, light and sound.It’s All About PerceptionThe two Exploratorium iPad apps so far are both “buffet-style” collections of short, multi-sensory exhibits. You can select from a table of contents or swipe through like a magazine. The first was Color Uncovered, which uses properties of the tablet’s display to demonstrate properties of light. The new app, Sound Uncovered, uses both the speakers and microphones, as well as text and video explanations, to show off some of the surprisingly bizarre properties of sound. 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout jon mitchell 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…center_img Simply SocialThe Exploratorium is not afraid to take risks with its apps. One exercise in Color Uncovered asks the user — with plenty of caution — to put a drop of water on the screen, which creates a magnifying bubble in which one can clearly see how pixels work. The team laughs about some of the App Store reviews they got from people who didn’t handle that part carefully.But the apps are simple and magazine-like, going out of their way not to overwhelm people less used to figuring out how iPad apps work. “We don’t want to further mystify people with this tech,” director of online engagement Lowell Robinson says. “Frank [Oppenheimer]’s dream was to demystify people about how the world works.” Accordingly, these apps are not about deep-down, immersive virtual experiences. “We’re trying to give you physical ways to test,” says Cheng. The apps ask you to try things, try them on others, and pass the tablet around.The Exploratorium apps are social, but not in the Facebook way. “Social in the old-fashioned sense where you’re sitting next to somebody,” Robinson says. We had a good laugh about that.Sound Uncovered for iPad is available for free on the iTunes App Store.Photos by Amy Widdowson. Tags:#apps#audio#iPad#music#science#sound Related Posts Everywhere Is A LaboratoryThe design of physical Exploratoreum starts with the goal of creating an experience and builds up from there. An iPad is just as good as a room in the museum if it’s the right place to focus the experience of an exhibit. “What makes the Exploratorium a unique place is that it’s the combination of a museum, a laboratory, and a developmental studio,” says Rob Semper, executive associate director of the museum.Semper is a physicist whose tenure at the Exploratorium goes back to designing some of its original exhibits with founder Frank Oppenheimer (also a physicist, who worked on the Manhattan Project with his older brother Robert Oppenheimer). Semper took a little time off from the Exploratorium to run the collaboration between Apple and Lucasfilm. Now he’s back creating museum exhibits again, both in San Francisco and at partner museums around the world. A museum under construction is an awesome scene. It’s like peeking backstage before the premiere of Broadway play, seeing the outer experience taking shape.The Exploratorium – a unique museum of science, art and human perception – is still two months away from its grand reopening. The lower floor is strewn with half-built exhibits and criss-crossed with caution tape. The upstairs is a buzzing office full of people planning for the big day and beyond. This vast new space on Pier 15 in San Francisco opens to the public on April 17.But on Monday the museum released Sound Uncovered, its second free iPad app, which the creators showed me during a visit to the unfinished museum. As I explored the app’s exhibits, the tablet disappeared in my hands. When you launch this app, you’re in the museum, no matter where you are.last_img read more

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Playing to Win or Playing Not to Lose

first_img“Playing to win” is different than “playing not to lose.” The actions you would take to win are different than the actions you would take to “not lose.”Playing to WinIf you are playing to win, you do whatever is necessary to move things forward. You aggressively try to put points on the board. You’re not reckless, but you’re certainly not passive.When you play to win, you make the call that you fear. You have the difficult conversation. You deal with the tricky issues that may put your outcomes at risk if things go south on you.Playing Not to LoseIf you are playing to “not lose,” you’re cautious. Probably overly-cautious. You want to avoid mistakes, so you hold back. Instead of doing what you know you need to do, you wait to react. Instead of using all of your power to tilt things in your direction, you wait.You don’t make the call to your dream client because they said they needed time to think things over. You avoid talking about your price because you worry that your prospect will say it’s too high. You don’t act because you are fearful that anything you do will put your deal at risk.Different Intentions, Different OutcomesTrying not to lose is not the same thing as trying to win. Trying not to lose is reactionary. It’s prevention. Most of the time it prevents you from winning. Worst of all, it starts with the belief that you should focus on “not losing,” which gives the idea of losing too much power.“Playing to win” begins with the belief that you can and will win. It’s empowering. The belief that you can win and the desire to do so allows you to take initiative, to be resourceful, and to take the necessary actions that will better your chances of winning—even if taking those actions comes with a particular risk.Are you “playing to win?” Or are you playing to “not lose?” What would you differently if you changed your intentions?last_img read more

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