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Ten years of fossil research could be wrong … and you tell us NOW?

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Flawed analysis casts doubt on years of evolutionary research
nautilus/U Bristol

No, but seriously, from Phys.org:

Years of research on the evolution of ancient life including the dinosaurs have been questioned after a fatal flaw in the way fossil data is analysed was exposed. Studies based on the apparently flawed method have suggested Earth’s biodiversity remained relatively stable – close to maximum carrying capacity – and hinted many signs of species becoming rapidly extinct are merely reflections on the poor quality of the fossil record at that time. However, new research by scientists at the University of Reading suggests the history of the planet’s biodiversity may have been more dynamic than recently suggested, with bursts of new species appearing, along with crashes and more stable periods.

The researchers ran thousands of simulations to test the data correction method, but found it failed to return correct results in as much as 100% of the simulated cases.

Professor Mike Benton, Earth Scientist at University of Bristol, said: “The core assumption is that any portion of fossil diversity that can be explained by variations in rock volume should be explained by variations in rock volume. This assumption is based on no evidence. More.

Almost no evidence? Where have we heard that before?

We constantly get media releases announcing that something or other happened “earlier than thought” or went on “longer than thought.” Or happened “more quickly than thought.” It also turns out that some life form’s arrangements (frequent hybridization for example) make the questions of speciation and extinction moot. (See, for example, red wolf).

Sometimes it seems like, if we thought we knew less, we would know more.

See also: Stasis: Life goes on but evolution does not happen

Lazarus species: animals listed as extinct that turned up again.

and

Red wolf not endangered, a hybrid?

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2 Replies to “Ten years of fossil research could be wrong … and you tell us NOW?

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    This assumption is based on no evidence.

    Ok, so what? Do they need evidence? Have they ever needed any? 🙂

  2. 2
    EvilSnack says:

    I’m getting the impression that the assumptions that underlie OOL research and Darwinism are questioned when their refutation doesn’t hamper any goals and are taken as unquestionable when a refutation would have such an effect.

    F’rinstance, OOL research has no qualms vacillating between a DNA-first world and an RNA-first world, because neither position challenges anything of genuine importance to OOL researchers. However, the assumption that certain conditions prevailed in the pre-biotic Earth is allowed to persist, without direct evidence, because if any other conditions existed, then spontaneous OOL goes from being a “could have happened” thing to an “absolutely did not happen” thing.

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