vendredi 6 mai 2011

Another funny thing about mammal evolution as supposed ...

I am just watching a diagram in a book about language origin:

Aux Origines des langues
et du langage

Sous la direction de
Jean-Marie Hombert

On p. 52 we are dealing with an essay by Philippe Vernier, and he gives a phylogenetic tree of vertabrates. In fact two, the right one being a detailed tree of mammals, I transmit only the lest tree in a table, and I translate names as best I can (with a little help from wiki).

MYBP+/-*(origin)**first groupsecond group
*placed as if date of split, actually date of appearance of origin, **abbreviated if identic to second group of previous split
540craniatavertebrates with/vertebrates without jaws
?vertebrates without jawshagfishlampreys
470vertebrates with jawscartilaginous fishesbone verterates
410b. vert.ray-finned fishestetrapodes
300diaps.serpents, lizardsbirds, crocodiles

Two funny things about this. One is: nearly every time, except for hagfish and lampreys and also except for serpent/lizard vs. bird/crocodile groups, where both emerging groups are identifiable specific types of genera, and except for first split were neither is, one is pretty particular, the other very general.

What I learned was that there were never any tetrapodes that were neither amphibians nor amniotes, but amphibians were simply the first amniotes. Never any bone vertebrates that were neither rayfinned fishes nor tetrapodes, but tetrapodes developed from rayfinned fishes. Never any amniotes that were neither ... wait a minute!

Here is the second funny thing: amniotes lead to either mammals or sauropsides. Ouch! Mammalians branching off as early as 340 million years before present! I had learned the mammals began their carreer after the demise of dinosaurs.

OK, some fossiles and datings in the eighties.

The branch-offs from amniotes which supposedly developed from amphibians are then, according to evolutionists, Anapsides, Synapsides, Diapsides, according to skull anatomy. Anapsides are supposed to have left us one branch, turtles, Synapsides also one branch, mammals, and Diapsides birds and non-turtle reptiles. Figures.

Early mammals sorry synapsides are supposed to include Dimetrodon, which counts as a Dinosaur. Sorry: Pelycosaur. Apart from Pelycosaurs there were other pre-mammalian synapsides, like therapsides, later developing into mammals. All according to recent "science".

Oh, and Reptiles is no longer a phylum. Synapsides, Anapsides and Diapsides are phyla, of which all Anapsides along with extinct Synapsides (non-extinct being non-reptilian mammals) and some but not all Diapsides count as "reptiles" which thus is a paraphylum.


In a way yes. Just as I am impressed by Tolkien's Silmarillion. Æsthetically and intellectually for the thought put into either of them.


No. Not by evolution, nor by Silmarillion. I did get curious about some ideas expressed in Silmarillion, found the spiritual as opposed to merely physical moving factors of sun and moon expressed in clear, Christian erudite non-fiction, totally predating Tolkien. And am thus a Geocentric. But I am not an evolutionist. As little as I am a silmarillionist.

There is of course ideas which I find true even in evolutionary thought: like the very probable fact that Dimetrodon existed and was according to scull anatomy a synapside. This does not prove it was ancestor of extant mammals. And since all non-soft parts are long since away, I cannot even be sure it was not a mammal, though some traits (leg anatomy) have been found or reconstructed as "reptilian". What we do not know either is when it lived. Dating methods are intellectually a hotch-potch of assumptions without proof. Make similar assumptions about diverse methods and they will tend to confirm each other, especially if you calibrate them (i e readjust datings) on each other, which I know is done between dendrochronology and Carbon 14.

English readers have easy access to Creationist sites criticising dating methods, for French readers there is at least my summary - making Carbon 14 an epitome of dating methods, well aware it is not the only one - in my essay here:

Atapuerca: 80.000 (ou encore 800.000) ans de vieux?

But, believing details found in Silmarillion because I find them confirmed by earlier Christian erudition and simple good sense does not make me a silmarillionist believer and believing details like existence of Dimetrodon does not make me a Darwinist.

My best criticism of Darwinism is not about its lack of proof, but about proof to the contrary. It is in effect as soon as there are mammals reproducing with amniotic sack joined to body of mother rather than in a shell and thus subject to immunity system of its mother. It has to do with chromosome numbers, centromeres, telomeres, geometry. In that order. All of which are real scientific data, verifiable every day in laboratories and microscopes. My essays about it are here:

I had a dream one night.
Citing, again, Ian Johnston.

So, enjoy the reading folks!

I suppose the reason French are so often attached to Evolution in general is not that they understand and believe heredity as known by Mendel and Chromosomes, but that they are very often Lamarckian while confessing to be Darwinist.

Meanwhile, making Silmarillion and Evolution parallels in this essay (which is not strictly science all way through, but a review on science) has a point: Tolkien did mean Silmarillion as a theory, though not a very realistic one, about background and beginnings of human history with explanation specifically of European mythology (Túrin story compares to Finnish Kullervo story and less in detail but more in seriousness to Greek Oedipous story) and some European but not Indoeuropean vocabulary (Quenya "ranka"="hand and arm", cf Lithuanian and Russian, Sindarin "alf"="swan", cf Icelandic "álft"). And he did modify it as new data or new light on old data came to hand. Precisely as scientists did modify the theory of how mammals evolved between back in my childhood when I learned about evolution and present when I read up on it again. That plus a wealth of detail, is not sufficient to prove either theory true or factual.

Oh, to get back to starting point: even if Silmarillion as a theory is not meant to be perfectly realistic, Tolkien did it for fun and aesthetic pleasure, when it comes to explaining why humans have speech, it clearly is less absurd than evolution. So, of course, is Genesis.

Hans-Georg Lundahl

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