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← Flatfish Fossils Fill In Evolutionary Missing Link

Flatfish Fossils Fill In Evolutionary Missing Link - Comments

Grantaire of JC's Avatar Comment 1 by Grantaire of JC

Hidden away for a hundred years? Someone needs to get museums to inventory their stock. What else is out there already discovered?

Thu, 10 Jul 2008 17:51:00 UTC | #197624

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 2 by mordacious1

This is cool, although let me check "Ancestor's Tale". Seems like there is a chapter on this.

One gap filled in, two created.

[edit] No, just a small blurb there about flounders, definately not designed though, unless god was on a bender.

Thu, 10 Jul 2008 17:52:00 UTC | #197626

crusader234's Avatar Comment 3 by crusader234

nothing like a little cranial asymmetry to prove a point....

Thu, 10 Jul 2008 17:54:00 UTC | #197628

8teist's Avatar Comment 4 by 8teist

Hmmmmmmm,flatfish, so nice fried in butter.

Thu, 10 Jul 2008 18:01:00 UTC | #197632

Kubenzi's Avatar Comment 5 by Kubenzi

< text size="13.7 billion">Pwned< /text>

Thu, 10 Jul 2008 18:03:00 UTC | #197635

Broshiesq's Avatar Comment 6 by Broshiesq

Let's hear it for the Univ. of Chicago! The Chicago Tribune (my paper, unfortunately) carried this story on the first page, of the Second section. What a disaster. Someone turns up transitional fossils and it doesn't even make the front page in the city where it happened. Sad.

Thu, 10 Jul 2008 19:04:00 UTC | #197670

The Schuermannator's Avatar Comment 7 by The Schuermannator

Fundies wouldn't care where their eyes are positioned because most of them have their head up their ass, anyways.


Thu, 10 Jul 2008 19:08:00 UTC | #197671

flobear's Avatar Comment 8 by flobear

...answered a question that initially stumped even Charles Darwin.
...A slightly asymmetrical skull offers no advantage.

Right, the fossil record shows that the change was gradual. But what was the reason? What's the answer to the question? How does a slightly asymmetrical skull offer an advantage?

Thu, 10 Jul 2008 20:49:00 UTC | #197723

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 9 by Laurie Fraser

Well, even a slight variation in eye position might offer an advantage for a bottom-feeding fish, and the rest is history.

Thu, 10 Jul 2008 21:08:00 UTC | #197727

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 10 by rod-the-farmer

I agree that museums need to take a closer/fresh look at their inventory of fossils, given that recent advances in technology may better explain what they have. I for one have wondered if the sole plaice a flatfish could survive was on the bottom. Binocular vision is stereoscopic, conferring an advantage when trying to avoid predators. I assume this is true even for fish. (Anyone tested for this ?) Staying close to a vertical wall would not be entirely safe, for fish with eyes on both sides of the midline, as some predators would be concealed within small caves, e.g. eels.

Thu, 10 Jul 2008 23:31:00 UTC | #197791

Marcus Hill's Avatar Comment 11 by Marcus Hill

On a purely speculative note...

Many fish are flat and swim oriented vertically. It's fairly easy to see how, if such fish were normally found near the bottom, it would be an evolutionary advantage to develop colouration similar to the bottom and a tendency to lie flat on the bottom when trying to avoid predators, and this is behaviour that has a clear gradual line to it. As the new finds demonstrate, some such fish started drifting the downward eye gradually around - it's possible such a gradual drift confers the advantage that when starting to move from a flat position, the fish whose eye has drifted a little will spot a predator it didn't see with its "up" eye alone faster than the fish whose eye has not drifted at all.

Fri, 11 Jul 2008 02:34:00 UTC | #197904

Dhamma's Avatar Comment 12 by Dhamma

These news are the really exciting ones.

Mordacious, what do you mean when you say more gaps are created when they find these fossils? Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Fri, 11 Jul 2008 04:17:00 UTC | #197956

Isherwood's Avatar Comment 13 by Isherwood

Dhamma, the old joke is that fundies claim adding a peg to the fossil board creates two new gaps between it and it's nearest neighbors. This way, there will always be gaps, no matter how short or insignificant. It's desperation at it's lamest.

Fri, 11 Jul 2008 04:51:00 UTC | #197973

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 14 by phasmagigas


Mordacious, what do you mean when you say more gaps are created when they find these fossils? Shouldn't it be the other way around?

its an oft quoted creationist tactic (which may be a myth as its so damn silly, but then you know what creationists are like), a given intermediate fossil means that there are two 'gaps' eitherside of it, so a creationst says 'that doesnt help it just makes two gaps instead of one so makes the situation even worse for evolutionary theory'

yes, creationists are so fucking stupid its almost funny.

further on this article, the whole 'i cant see the advantage of a slightly twisted skull', typical argument from personal incredulity, typical creationists usually deficient on imagination, except for the fantasy kind. Actually an initial deformity of the skull in some ancestral fish could have given it an almost immediate 'looking up' vision (i assume to some degree binocular), think of human chest wall deformities like the two 'pectus' conditions, one pushes the sternum in and the other out, it can often be assymetric, im not sure how that is manifested/passed on genetically, is it an 'old' genetic inheritence or new each time? the point im making is that it seems a few extra cell divisions on a particular structure (in the pectus condition seems the bones in the sternum area grow too much and the extra dimension is incorporated by moving in or out) can result in a severe deformity, maybe in this case it was a good one and passed on.

speculations, but thats the fun of it, better than godidit, anybody can play that game, too easy.

Fri, 11 Jul 2008 05:05:00 UTC | #197984

Dhamma's Avatar Comment 15 by Dhamma

Haha.. Ok, thanks.

If that's so, it's truly obvious they really WANT to discredit the evolution no matter the evidence.

If I truly saw Yahweh, I'd be surprised if I didn't start believing in him, but for the creationists it appears evidence for the evolution becomes evidence for it's non-existence apparently.

Fri, 11 Jul 2008 05:47:00 UTC | #198021

evotruth's Avatar Comment 16 by evotruth

I have a video on youtube explaining the evolution of the flatfish. It starts off with Richard and then David Attenborough explains in more detail...

Fri, 11 Jul 2008 06:11:00 UTC | #198038

moderndaythomas's Avatar Comment 17 by moderndaythomas

"Most remarkably," he said, "orbital migration, the movement of one eye from one side of the skull to the other during the larval stage, was present but incomplete in both of these primitive flatfishes." For both sets of fossils, the eye had begun the journey but had not crossed the midline from one side of the fish to the other.

Another fine example of science yet again filling a hole that was once empty. Where will the fundamentals go next I wonder?
And as for the necessity, what about the need to avoid the pull and tug of tides and currents? A fish that has less of a profile would certainly be less under the influence of the tides.

Fri, 11 Jul 2008 06:27:00 UTC | #198053

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 18 by Border Collie

I really wish that the so-called opposing viewpoint of creationism would not even be addressed and or alluded to in articles such as this. It gives them, by default, credibility they don't deserve. Who cares what they think? Addressing the point of 'missing links' or transitional forms falls right into their hands. It wouldn't matter if scientists found every possible transitional form from the earliest fossils to now, the creationists wouldn't get it and they would still be wailing and gnashing their teeth over evo. Just do the science for the sake of science and forget about the creationists.

Fri, 11 Jul 2008 06:33:00 UTC | #198058

Sciros's Avatar Comment 19 by Sciros


Fri, 11 Jul 2008 16:57:00 UTC | #198446

Mbee's Avatar Comment 20 by Mbee

Comment #208448 by rod-the-farmer

the sole plaice a flatfish could survive was on the bottom

Nice one Rod.

Fri, 11 Jul 2008 18:41:00 UTC | #198461

8teist's Avatar Comment 21 by 8teist


Fri, 11 Jul 2008 18:41:00 UTC | #198462

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 22 by mordacious1


Thanks for the vid, must be an (erm, cough) older video.

I find the platypus the most interesting of organisms, how they've evolved, but flatfish are up there too.

Fri, 11 Jul 2008 18:57:00 UTC | #198468

moderndaythomas's Avatar Comment 23 by moderndaythomas


Sciros, what? You're joking, am I right?

edit: I'm laughing, so you must be.

Sat, 12 Jul 2008 08:17:00 UTC | #198713

Angelic_Atheist's Avatar Comment 24 by Angelic_Atheist

It's surprising how many fossils are hidden away in the archives of museums and universities. It's incomprehensible to me.
Perhaps another look should be given to the drawers and boxes and piles of variously, mis-, and un- identified items.


Sat, 12 Jul 2008 17:52:00 UTC | #198863