Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Neanderthals and mtDNA

Creationists have a fun little game they like to play with transitional fossils. For instance, with hominid fossils, they look at the older ones (from the Austrolopithicines up to early Homo) they simply declare, “nope – that’s an ape”. For the more recent hominids (Homo heidelbergensis, antecessor, Neanderthal, etc) they say, “nope – that’s modern human”.

The physical evidence is already slam-dunk to contrary. But we have more. We have DNA. What? You didn’t know we have DNA on extinct species? Well, it turns out that Neanderthal DNA has been recovered (some of it only about 40,000 years old). So that DNA (particularly the mitochondrial DNA; the DNA that comes to us directly from our mother – virtually unchanged) should be pretty much the same as a “modern human”, right? Hmmmm… let’s see.

3 comments:

PhillyChief said...

Very nice. It is sad when they don't come up with something clever, isn't it? Perhaps the "spirit" was sucked out of them in Dover. LOL

A. said...

Thanks for posting this. I can think of nothing more frustrating that the tendency some theists have of furiouslt ferretting our whatever cracks or unexplained gaps in the evidence they can use to smuggle god into science. Each finding closes the door a bit more. Bravo!

John Evo-Mid said...

@ both of you

I really wonder how many creationists realize that the scientists behind ID all accept that evolution HAPPENS? Their only claim is that SOME THINGS can't be explained by it.

Then you have Evo Devo, which I know I keep going on and on about, that daily EXPLAINS many new mysteries that we weren’t able to before.

“A” is correct. Each one of these new discovers is important in further closing the door on the "debate" about evolution. Religion will continue on, but they will accept evolution and assume it is "god's way", just like they did with the fact that Earth is NOT the center of the universe. However, it will provide one more thing for skeptical people to consider when weighing whether a religion based on an “inerrant text” is worth believing in, when SO MUCH of it is in error.