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Monday, October 12, 2009

So much for the fossil record

Big dinosaur, little dinosaur, what didn't begin with E?
Many dinosaurs may be facing a new kind of extinction—a controversial theory suggests as many as a third of all known dinosaur species never existed in the first place. That's because young dinosaurs didn't look like Mini-Me versions of their parents, according to new analyses by paleontologists Mark Goodwin, University of California, Berkeley, and Jack Horner, of Montana State University. Instead, like birds and some other living animals, the juveniles went through dramatic physical changes during adulthood.

This means many fossils of young dinosaurs, including T. rex relatives, have been misidentified as unique species, the researchers argue.
Obviously, the jury is still out on this one. But, if it's demonstrated to be correct, it will be a tremendous blow to TENS. If paleontologists can't even be relied upon to correctly distinguish between mature and immature examples of the exact same species, this will obviously cast serious doubts on the credibility of the fossil transition sequences between species that they have constructed.

I await with amused interest for the true believers to explain how a complete misreading of a significant portion of the fossil record should not be taken as a reason to doubt any conclusions that were made based on the incorrectly interpreted fossil record.

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