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Mammal family tree in disarray too?

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Were we mentioning that the fabled Darwinian tree of life is now widely thought to be like a contentious wiki page?

Well, the fur is flying among mammals too. The Scientist now tells us, “Fossils Snarl Mammalian Roots: Two newly discovered Jurassic-era fossils suggest drastically different mammalian origins”:

Because of their rodent-like teeth, some researchers have linked haramiyids to multituberculates, a group of ancient mammals. Describing Arboroharamiya, a short-faced, tree-dwelling animal, Jin Meng from the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and his colleagues suggest that haramiyids are indeed related to multituberculates, suggesting that mammals may have originated in the late Triassic, more than 200 million years ago.

Meanwhile, a team led by the University of Chicago’s Zhe-Xi Luo depict Megaconus, a terrestrial haramiyid with a primitive jaw and ankle that does not appear related to multituberculates. Compared with the Arboroharamiya fossil, the Megaconus specimen is consistent with a much more recent origin of mammals—around 176 million to 161 million years ago.

Here’s Nature on the same subject:

“It’s remarkable, for such an incredibly obscure group, to have two fairly complete skeletons pop up at the same time,” says Richard Cifelli, a vertebrate palaeontologist at the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in Norman, who co-authored a related News & Views3. “These new fossils change everything.”

Makes one wonder whether it would be more or less confusing if we knew more. Things can go either way.

Also:

But there’s another possibility, says Guillermo Rougier, a vertebrate palaeontologist at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Megaconus and Arboroharamiya “have been assigned to the same group, but they’re very different creatures,” he says. Indeed, he adds, Arboroharamiya, the more advanced of the two species in terms of its jawbone and other features, may actually belong in a long-successful but now-extinct group of mammals called multituberculates — a realignment that would explain the disparity between family trees drawn up by these individual studies.

What does “more advanced” mean in the context? We thought evolutionary biologists weren’t supposed to talk in terms like that. It implies goals of evolution, and you can only have advances if you have goals.

It’s revealing that people in a mess like this continue to coerce agreement from the public and suppress dissent among peers.

5 Replies to “Mammal family tree in disarray too?

  1. 1
    cantor says:

    Because of their rodent-like teeth, some researchers have linked…

    The researchers have rodent-like teeth? Yikes.

  2. 2
    News says:

    Oh dear, yes, the floating subject. 😉

  3. 3
    Robert Byers says:

    Whats harder to read? The names of these obscure mammals or the Chinese names of these researchers???
    In both cases it shows there is a problem with the ways things should be.
    For the critters it just demonstrates there is no evidence that biological looklikeness is biological evidence for relationship or descent.
    Its all just lines of reasoning and so new conclusions follow every time a shovel is put in the ground.

  4. 4
    tjguy says:

    “These new fossils change everything.”

    How many times do we find this type of thing happening?!

    It almost seems as if it happens on a weekly basis!

    The evolutionists come back with this quip: “But this is what science does. It continues to investigate, make new discoveries, and make progress on the march toward truth”

    My question is “How do we know?”

    How do we know that what we “know” today is really true?

    How do we “know” that even the new information these fossils will bring to the interpretation of the evidence will be an accurate picture of the mammalian tree of life?

    Not only do we have the problem of not having all the necessary information available to make a conclusive interpretation, but we have the problem of how we choose to interpret the information!

    When dealing with historical science like evolution, cosmology, geology, paleontology, etc., our conclusions based on the evidence we have must be tentative because, as we have so often seen, we just do not have all the information necessary to make an accurate conclusion.

    As seen in the recent article on the “pink planet” on this site, there are often many anomalies that challenge what we think we know.

    A good dose of humility would go a long way in the pronouncements of evolutionists about what is actually fact and what they believe to be true.

  5. 5
    asifsohaib says:

    Family trees might seem like a relic of the past, but in fact, they are alive and well in so many people’s homes and still gifted as Family Tree

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