Archive for Friday, June 1, 2007

Scientists: Upright walking trait may have begun in trees

June 1, 2007


— Maybe walking upright on two legs isn't such a defining human feature after all.

Scientists who spent a year photographing orangutans in the rain forest say the trait probably evolved in ancient apes navigating the treetops long before ancestors of humans climbed to the ground - a hypothesis that contradicts science museums the world over.

But it's more in tune with fossil evidence, contends Robin Crompton of the University of Liverpool, who co-authored the report in today's edition of the journal Science.

"An increasing number of people have been questioning this old 'up from the apes' idea" of how bipedalism evolved, Crompton said.

The popular explanation: Some chimpanzee-like creature that dragged its knuckles on the ground descended from trees into grasslands, and gradually straightened up to walk like modern humans.

Yet climate data and fossils of such creatures as the famed Lucy suggest that early ancestors of humans lived in forests for far longer, and could move on two or four legs.

Think orangutans just swing around? Maybe in zoos. Actually, it is orangutans - not the chimps who genetically are humans' closest relatives - that can walk most like people, Crompton said.

Recording orangutans in Sumatra, Susannah Thorpe of Britain's University of Birmingham measured something counterintuitive: When they move to the skinniest branches, where the tastiest fruit grows, they stand stiffly straight-legged, like a person.

Why? They've got great long toes to wrap around skinny branches and hang on, balancing with one arm overhead while the other reaches for food.

Other evolution experts praised the work, but aren't convinced. Why would chimps lose that bipedal ability while whatever became human retained it, asked Will Harcourt-Smith of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

"Another view of this might be that actually, our ancestor was rather good at doing a number of things," said Harcourt-Smith, who believes there were several gradual shifts to walking upright instead of one big leap.

Evolution aside, the new insight into how orangutans reach their food may help efforts to conserve the dwindling habitat of these endangered apes, Crompton said.


drewfuss 10 years, 12 months ago

For further reading on this, see the upcoming film, "Evan Almighty". Clearly, science is stupid.

Jeff Barclay 10 years, 12 months ago

A recent Barna survey revealed that a little less than 50% of Americans believe in the kind of evolution reported in this article. The results of this survey are somewhat amazing- given that American students have been taught evolution for the past two to three generations. A wonder why? Is it because evolution is based on subjective conjecture rather than reproduceable, objective, laboratory science?

By the way, can anyone explain polystrate fossils? These are fossils that exist longitudinally through multiple layers in the geologic column. How is it that the soft tissues of the creatures that became polystrate fossils managed to remain intact for the millions of years evolutionary geologist claim are required for the sedimentation layers to form around them?

Could there be another explanation for polystrate fossils? Maybe one that doesn't require them to be exposed for millions of years? Maybe one caused by a world-wide catastrophe that suddenly buried them in mud and water? A world-wide flood would cause millions of dead things to be seen in rock layers, layed down by water. And indeed, this is what we see in fossil bed.

salad 10 years, 12 months ago

So Barclay, I guess you'll be sayin' "NO" to all those evolutionary-based products like anit-biotics and disease theory, since they're clearly based on subjective conjecture. If you die of sepsis, it was Gods will, right? Oh yeah, and I guess we'll have to let all those murders and rapists go, since basically the entire trial-by-jury process is also based on non-reproducable subjective conjecture. Don't even get me started on DNA evidence. BTW, you're explanation of this polystrate fossil thing is incomprehensible. The word "longitudinally" makes no sense in the context in which you're using it. The larger issue is why fundamentalists are so bent on trying to prove their mythology as scientific fact. I mean is your god and belief system so puny that it can't exist unless somehow disprove the fundamental theory of all biology?

geekin_topekan 10 years, 12 months ago

Blasphemy!We all know that these were placed by God and his broke-a$$ed son Jesus

Bubbles 10 years, 12 months ago

Right. Has anyone actually tried to walk upright in a tree.

It really, really hard to do.

shockchalk 10 years, 12 months ago

Good Post Barclay. Most of the posters here won't agree. But, the more scientist study the THEORY of evolution, the more reasons they are discovering that it isn't, and wasn't, possible.

salad 10 years, 12 months ago

Must be getting dizzy with all the spin, huh shockchalk? Regurgitating BS doesn't make it true, no matter how many times you do it. In fact, the more science learns about evolution, the more convincing it is. You must be getting your propaganda from the discovery institute.

thusspokezarathustra 10 years, 12 months ago

Shockchalk, let me get this straight, Evolution isn't possible so it's not true, but the biblical explanation is equally impossible but it is true? Fine argument you made there.

Kodiac 10 years, 12 months ago

Lol....I'm not sure if that is funny or scary grayheim.

shockchalk 10 years, 12 months ago

I didn't make an argument, nor did I mention the Biblical alternative. If you have a question about the theory of eveolution, ask a scientist who believes in it, how much progress has been made in proving the theory. A better question would probably be this. Is it true that the more we learn about humans, the more we discover the irrefutable evidence that we didn't evolve from another species? They won't deny the evidence, why should you?

shockchalk 10 years, 12 months ago

You don't just get statements from me scene. You are generallizing too much. There are no ever, nevers, or always. You have read more from me than statements, whether you want to admit it or not. Have a good weekend anyway! shock

gr 10 years, 12 months ago

Come on guys,

'That's the beauty of science. When things aren't correct, it self corrects itself. Blah, blah, blah'
(Get out the waders!)

Or, could it be that there are some honest scientists who look at the data and say, that can't be so? Data, which contradicts conclusions made prior to the data?

white_mountain 10 years, 12 months ago

a convenient substitution one can make is to interchange the words "faith" and "a frontal lobotomy". same result.

thusspokezarathustra 10 years, 12 months ago

Hope was the only evil that remained in Pandora's Box after she opened it.

thusspokezarathustra 10 years, 12 months ago

Shockchalk, The answer to your question is no, it is not true.

yourworstnightmare 10 years, 12 months ago

Funny thing about god heads. Faith in their beliefs is not enough. So, they try to enlist empirical science and observation to back up their claims of miracles and creation and so forth. This is their downfall, as it results in the kind of tripe that Barclay (how is it going at Veritas madrassa?) spewed.

It's almost like god heads know they should be faithful, but they just can't break that human addiction to evidence, reason, and reality, no matter how misguided theirs might be.

shockchalk 10 years, 11 months ago

Scenebooster, No, I am not a liar and I have posted many things that are true, accurate, and proven. If you could be so kind as to accept them, I would appreciate it. After all, you don't require anyone else to provide you a source, citation, or some other proof to engage in a conversation with you. If we comment on an article about Brandon Rush's torn ACL, you don't require a source. I've had an ACL repair for the same injury so I feel like I can share a comment without providing you my MRI reports or one from the surgeon. We could be exchanging comments on a tornado somewhere and I've had two family members lose everything in a tornado, so I could comment without a report from the National Weather Service or an insurance adjuster, right? The fact is, people, including yourself post comments, opinions, facts, here all the time without an attack from you. But, you seem obsessed with everything I write and show me no courtesy, respect, or benefit of the doubt, on anything. I write. I hope we can go back to the respectful open-ended dialogue that we once had but that is up to you. Have a great Monday!

shockchalk 10 years, 11 months ago

I believe it is disrespectful to call me a liar or to insist that I provide you a source for an opinion I have. You require no source for others, certainly not for anyone who holds a view you agree with. There isn't a "case" where rude behavior is acceptable. I don't agree with some of your opinions or posts, regardless of who or what you cite. Do you not agree that individuals can come up with sources that back their claims in total opposition to anothers view and source. An example would be terrorist in Iraq. Here are two opinions....

1-There have been terrorist in Iraq.

2-There has never been terrorist in Iraq.

There is a LOT of gray area in between these two statements and volumes of material to support all of them. What time were they in Iraq? What group were they associated with? What connection (or lack thereof) was there with Saddam Hussein? Clearly, some of the intelligence that our administration received was inaccurate (I never argued with that) but that's not the same as saying..........there has never been any terrorist in Iraq.

In closing, you didn't provide a list of statements from me that were ALL false. You provided a list from me that you didn't agree with and I didn't provide a source for. I can certainly find a source, just as you do, but that won't change your opinion. You will just bash the source and me because of it.

lildos 10 years, 11 months ago

so shockchalk, instead of going around and around, how about you provide at least one source that scenebooster is asking. That would make things much easier. And why has an evolution debate moved to Brandon Rush and Iraq????

shockchalk 10 years, 11 months ago

lildos, no offense to you but this goes a way back and has more to do with respect and an honest exchange of opinions then Iraq, Brandon Rush, or any other topic scenebooster and I have discussed.

gr 10 years, 11 months ago

"Also, I won't bash you (I don't believe I ever have) or the source - IF it's credible."

Ha, Ha.


According to whose opinion?

lildos 10 years, 11 months ago

There will be no credible sources when you are debating a scientific issue with religious beliefs. Since the opposition to evolution will not consider Scholarly Journal articles sufficient, and the scientific community most likely will not agree with the bible it will be impossible to find a common ground on the debate.

In regards to news sources, also impossible to find a "credible" source when the divide in this debate is so wide. "Liberals" won't accept the "conservatives" sources and vice-versa.

Even though a consensus will never be achieved it sure is fun to read what you all have to say, since it becomes such a personal issue to you guys! So keep on arguing!

gr 10 years, 11 months ago

"I provided a (short & incomplete) list of "credible" media, "

Ah.... YOUR opinion of what's credible.

Newspaper sources - the ones who put words into scientist's mouths. Global warming and the "90%" comes to mind.

gr 10 years, 11 months ago

"I hate to do this:" Something tells me you are going to do it anyway.

"but unless that's your opinion, do you have a source for that claim?" Have you not been keeping up with the global warming threads? Someone posted a link to something about 90% of all scientists agree, and before you know it, one poster was saying 90% of all DATA...

"widely accepted as credible news sources" Hmmm. Never any errors? Or does credibility include errors - lots of errors? Do you want us to present some? I'm not sure, you can go back and find the link yourself, but I think the 90% link was to CNN.

Now if you said, credible news, as far as "news" goes, I might agree - to some extent.

As a side note, you are saying LJW is not credible. But yet you thought this article included from Associated Press was somehow credible?

shockchalk 10 years, 11 months ago

Scene. For someone who can find a source for every opinion they have, you certainly have trouble with the truth. I have not LIED but several of the statements and accusations you have made are lies. I never said or wrote that I had cited a "source" for you. This whole conversation (and for those of you who don't know, this started some time ago, and was friendly and respectful in the beginning) has been about the fact that I don't find it necessary to cite a source for everything I comment on. Nor does anyone else who post an opinion here. Furthermore, I don't have to cite a source for you to determine whether or not I am telling the truth. You keep referring (and re-writing) all of my post that you don't agree with and want a source for. I'm talking about exchanging ideas, opinions, knowledge, etc. about whatever the article is speaking to. I show you respect because I choose to, not because you earned it, or you have enough sources to merit respect. Respect is given, not earned and courtesy and integrity should go a long ways as well.

As far as your list or the trustworthyness of news agencies. They make mistakes all the time, like the rest of us. Mike Wallace anyone? And just as you would never agree with my source, conservatives and liberals don't agree on news sources. The mainstream media tends to lean to the left and if I had a dollar for everytime someone wrote "Fauxnews" on this board, I could retire. The same with magazines and radio shows. It's not hard to find a credible source to support a valid opinion. Citing a source does not make your statement and more valid than someone who makes a true statement without a source.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 10 years, 11 months ago

Why is this news??? Anyone who has seen "Every Which Way But Loose" already knows that orangutans are perfectly capable of walking upright. The film shows that they are adept at drinking beer and flipping the bird as well.


shockchalk 10 years, 11 months ago

It's not embarrassing in the least. I don't feel the need to cite a source for everything I comment on. Obviously, no one else does either. No, I never said a mistake nullifies any news reporting. You suggested that only certain news agencies are credible, and you have a valid point. But, Fox news reports credible stories and I didn't see them on your list. Before you lash out at anger with me again, please know that I watch MSNBC, CNN, and Fox news as well. Why would you ask a question like this.....Can you possibly be serious? Yes, I was being serious and truthful because we did exhange opinions, ideas, and knowledge. I did assume that you would not agree with any source that I listed so I'll agree with you there. The fact that you would write that you have zero respect for me is disappointing in the least. I actually thought you were above that type of statement or attitude. I've done nothing direspectful to you scene, and I've taken your harshness towards me quite well I think. My statements aren't at odds with the rest of the world and the threads speak to that. Lastly, I want to apologize to you. Obviously, I have offended you and you are angry at me and for that I am truly sorry.

I apologize to the rest of you who have been bothered by this exchange and I thank several of you for your words of support. I will no longer try to explain my point to scenebooster at the expense of the rest of you.


lildos 10 years, 11 months ago

I know I will probably be crucified for this, but do any of you look at credible sources outside the US?

The Economist is one of the most respected magazines in the world. BBC gives also quite a bit of reliable and "credible" information.

And (here it comes!) Al Jazeera also has some good articles that put a completely different spin on what is reported here ( go there and give it a try.

FYI: I do not consider myself a liberal or a conservative. I completely hate these two words in the way it is used in the American politics context. Therefore I just like to hear all sides of a story. Also, I love to hear what people have to say (opinions or facts) and that's why I love coming here and reading the comments!

Good day to you all.

lildos 10 years, 11 months ago

Another P.S.: I was just commenting on other reliable sources. I am in no way saying that these sources will have the answer to the Evolution debate! Thanks

OldEnuf2BYurDad 10 years, 11 months ago

After reading this article, I understand my mother-in-law in a whole different light. Thank you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 11 months ago

"Before you lash out at anger with me again, please know that I watch msnbc, cnn, and Fox news as well. "

If that's the sum total of your "news" sources, you are woefully misinformed.

gr8dane 10 years, 11 months ago

shockchalk acts all offended, claiming he's not a liar. Yet here was a pretty blatant lie right in the first post I saw from him in this thread:

"But, the more scientist study the THEORY of evolution, the more reasons they are discovering that it isn't, and wasn't, possible."

It's only "disrespectful" to call someone a liar if they're actually NOT lying. He obviously was. That is far more disrespectful, to us.

And when someone makes such an assertion about the consensus of scientists, it's not too much to ask for them to back it up with valid sources showing there actually is such a consensus.

Of course, he doesn't do this because 1) he IS lying, 2) he knows he CAN'T find such sources, and 3) the overwhelming consensus of scientists is that the OPPOSITE is true.

So he argues "I don't feel the need to cite a source for everything I comment on." Probably true. He doesn't FEEL THE NEED. But if he wants to be taken as anything but a liar, yes, he needs to, if he makes such claims about what "scientists say". Especially when it goes against what people educated on the subject have learned.

His statements ARE at odds with "the rest of the world", which clearly says evolution is an accepted scientific fact. That the USA is down around Turkey for how well accepted evolution is shows how uneducated most people are about it in America. And thus they spout things like shockchalk did, feeling no need to be responsible or honest as they state their ill-formed opinions as if they are scientific facts.

That evolution happens is a universally accepted, observed fact in science. The theory is the explanation of how it works. 150 years of testing and new evidence has fleshed it out and made us even more sure it's a good explanation of what's happening to biological organisms in nature. Any credible biologist would laugh at his assertion and tell him what I just did.

gr 10 years, 11 months ago

gr8dane: "His statements ARE at odds with "the rest of the world", which clearly says evolution is an accepted scientific fact. "

Honing in on "the rest of the world".

Reference, please.

"it's not too much to ask for them to back it up with valid sources showing there actually is such a consensus."

But, then, you haven't defined evolution. You are most likely using a different definition than he is. How can you two agree or disagree if you aren't even talking about the same thing?

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