Posted by: paulgarner | April 14, 2011

Latest papers

A couple of interesting items just came out.

The first is a description of a new eutriconodont mammal from the Cretaceous of Liaoning, China. If you know anything about the proposed evolutionary transition from reptiles to mammals, you’ll know that the middle ear bones of modern mammals are thought to have been derived from the lower jaw bones of reptiles. In all modern mammals, the middle ear bones are separated from the lower jaw, but in this new mammal, Liaoconodon, the middle ear bones are attached to the lower jaw by the ossified Meckel’s cartilage. Unsurprisingly this new fossil is being hailed as an evolutionary intermediate. For a creationist take on transitional fossils, see this blog post by Todd Wood and the paper by Kurt Wise to which he links.

The other item that caught my eye is a paper by Vardiman and Brewer in the Answers Research Journal. Has the description in Genesis 13:10 of the Plain of Jordan as a “well watered” land ever puzzled you? It seems that in the days of Abraham and Lot the Jordan Valley was a wet and fertile place, but today it is an arid desert in which little vegetation can survive without irrigation. Vardiman and Brewer present the results of computer simulations of the likely climatic effects of warmer sea-surface temperatures resulting from the rapid sea-floor spreading during the Flood. They found that rainfall would have been greater for several hundred years after the Flood, producing greater vegetation throughout the Middle East and helping to explain why conditions were so different in that region during the time of the patriarchs.



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