Further to “Recent Uncommon Descent posts reveal starkly different standards of evidence out there” (Uncommon Descent, 18 May 2011), this ScienceDaily story (May 18, 2011) about a trapped spider is instructive:
Imaging Technology Reveals Intricate Details of 49-Million-Year-Old SpiderScientists have used the latest computer-imaging technology to produce stunning three-dimensional pictures of a 49 million-year-old spider trapped inside an opaque piece of fossilized amber resin.
Writing in the international journal Naturwissenschaften, the scientists showed that the amber fossil — housed in the Berlin Natural History Museum — is a member of a living genus of the Huntsman spiders (Sparassidae), a group of often large, active, free-living spiders that are hardly ever trapped in amber.
The amber had grown dark so until they tried X-ray computed tomography, they couldn’t get a good image, but then, especially through a short film revealing astounding details, the scientists showed that even specimens in historical pieces of amber, which at first look very bad, can yield vital data when studied by computed tomography.
So we know it can’t be a huntsman spider because they “hardly ever” get trapped in amber:
Berendt’s amber specimens were supposed to include the oldest example of a so-called Huntsman spider but this seemed strange as huntsman spiders are strong, quick animals that would be unlikely to be trapped in tree resin. To test this, an international team of experts in the fields of fossils and living spiders, and in modern techniques of computer analysis decided to re-study Georg Berendt’s original specimen and determine once and for all what it really was.
And what was it? Surely not a …
“We were able to show that the fossil is unquestionably a Huntsman spider and belongs to a genus called Eusparassus, which lives in the tropics and also arid regions of southern Europe today, but evidently lived in central Europe 50 million years ago.
Okay, so spidey had a bad day …
When real science comes to town, it looks like this, not like the speculations around human evolution, most of which will probably go the way of “that would be unlikely” above, and “they’d had to have [whatever].”
File under: Stasis – unbelievable