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Archive for Wednesday, February 20, 2008

NOVA’ to feature KU scientists

Professors say they can prove co-existence of birds, dinosaurs

February 20, 2008

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KU paleontologists to appear on PBS

Two KU scientists are going on television to offer their answer to an ongoing scientific debate: which came first, dinosaurs or birds? Enlarge video

KU professors Larry Martin and David Burnham will be featured on Tuesday's "NOVA" episode, "The Four-Winged Dinosaur," which explores bird evolution. Burnham holds a flight model of a microraptor.

KU professors Larry Martin and David Burnham will be featured on Tuesday's "NOVA" episode, "The Four-Winged Dinosaur," which explores bird evolution. Burnham holds a flight model of a microraptor.

Whatever you do, don't try to tell Larry Martin and David Burnham that birds are descended from dinosaurs that eventually ran fast enough to fly.

The two Kansas University professors now have what they say is proof that ancient birds co-existed with dinosaurs. Their work will be featured Tuesday on the PBS network's "NOVA" program.

The two researchers, using a fossil of a dromaeosaur loaned to them from China, built a life-sized model of the birdlike creature. Once they'd done that, and even affixed skin and feathers to the model, they made a revolutionary discovery.

"This animal pretty well demolishes the idea that there ever was a small, fast running protoflyer" that led to a bird, Martin said.

The creature, which Martin calls a dinosaurlike bird, lived in trees and glided to the ground. In fact, he said, it probably couldn't walk at all.

"The closest living model to this is a flying squirrel or flying lemur," Burnham said. "There are no birds that live like this any more."

The dromaeosaur predates the creatures that are often cited as ground-dwelling characters that eventually ran fast enough to gain flight.

Of course, the two wouldn't be going on TV if it really demolished the idea. In fact, researchers at some of the nation's most prestigious universities disagree with the KU researchers' findings.

That's expected to be the context of the "NOVA" program, which airs 7 p.m. Tuesday on Sunflower Broadband Channels 11 and 203.

Despite what the other researchers may say, though, Burnham is convinced the debate is over.

Comments

gr 6 years, 1 month ago

"Most of the folks who deny science"

Who's denying science?

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Multidisciplinary 6 years, 1 month ago

Liningstone, gr... Anyone who has raised rats and mice for a lab (like me) knows there are only two valid reasons to cut off a rodents tail... To keep it from getting caught everytime you put it back in the cage.

And to keep it from knocking the iced tea off the coffee table when it walks by wagging happily.

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Groanmaggot 6 years, 1 month ago

For those who are slow or caught up in the bible... Science has now replaced religion as a source of hope.

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Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

"If we evolved from apes? Why are there still apes?"... So why are we arguing about science? Nonsense, grow up kids!" === This argument is about religion, not science, which is why it is to pathetic and pointless. I have no problem with those who reject science, but they should be consistent and reject all its benefits. Most of the folks who deny science still see modern, licensed, doctors and don't go to medieval blood-letters or shamans who blow smoke in their faces to cure cancer.

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Sean Livingstone 6 years, 1 month ago

gr (Anonymous) says:

I said: "First of all, what's the use of having a rat with shorter tail?"

You said: "Jumping the shark comes to mind here."

But you asked: "Do you suggest that if we keep cutting rat tails off, soon they will adapt and have shorter tails?"

I think you're either ignorant or stupid or intentionally not wanting to listen to the message. What's the point of having a shorter tail? Why must we cut them? For what reason? If we keep cutting the tail, rat will never lost their tail. Why? Simple, there's no reason why gene will be modified just by us cutting the tail.

And when you read my sentence, read it as a whole, and not pluck out something you like to attack on: I did say "Second, we can do that by modifying the gene of the rat, changing the code of the rat, will speed up the process of evolution artificially, which can be argued as unethical. Genetic scientists have proved that they are able to do it:. the most extreme case, is the cloning procedure."

Your habit sounds very much like a bible reader quoting a passage from the text and presume everything is correct. Science is not meant to be read in a sentence or a paragraph. There are more sciences, than just Charles Darwin's evolution. The reason why you are using internet to type words in.... science, because we simply refuse to believe that there is nothing smaller than ants. We go on to explore and found that atom is the smallest matter. If you simply use the excuse that God creates everything, and there's nothing to explore, we will never find cures for many diseases human kind faces. Polio, cold, flu...... it's man's pursuit of sciences, rejecting the common perception of faith.... that we have found the cures for many diseases.

Your "cutting the tail of a rat" simply shows your pure ignorance on this topic. READ MORE!

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gr 6 years, 1 month ago

"First of all, what's the use of having a rat with shorter tail?"

Jumping the shark comes to mind here.

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Sean Livingstone 6 years, 1 month ago

gr (Anonymous) says:

"Do you suggest that if we keep cutting rat tails off, soon they will adapt and have shorter tails?"

It would be nice if we can do that without changing the gene, but it would be impossible to do that. First of all, what's the use of having a rat with shorter tail? Second, we can do that by modifying the gene of the rat, changing the code of the rat, will speed up the process of evolution artificially, which can be argued as unethical. Genetic scientists have proved that they are able to do it.... the most extreme case, is the cloning procedure. Genetic engineering has been used to improve pest resistance of corps, and increase the production, it's not a news anymore, they have been doing it since the 60s, though met with strong but valid resistance from the environmentalist group.

There may be bad things going on if you modify the gene too quickly. The species may not adapt well enough to the natural environment etc. In short, the gene pool for a specie will slowly change and readapt itself, and the slow process will ultimately result in evolution in the long run.

Human has been doing genetic modification for a long time. They chose the strongest bull to breed, or the seeds from the tree with the sweetest fruit. No one knew why some fruits were sweeter than the other.

What makes evolution true? The genetic pool of the species. Of course, you can argue that the gene is created by God. I don't want to argue about that here. However, it stops us as human to discover the knowledge if we are going to accept that as a fact. Our refusal to buy into the idea that gene is created and cannot be modified by human beings, led us to the new knowledge of DNA and gene. Our resistance to accept creationism will lead us to better understand how gene is created... no one knows the answer today well enough, but as science developed, and probably nanotechnology improves, we will be able to track how gene develops, and we will be able to uncover the secret of genetic growth and development. Just imagine that we're Galileo trying to find an answer to why the world is spherical and not the center...... just like those days, he didn't have the tool yet, we don't have the tools to go further into genetic development, but we can only modify gene now. We will reach there one day, given the time and technological development.

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gr 6 years, 1 month ago

Do you suggest that if we keep cutting rat tails off, soon they will adapt and have shorter tails?

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Sean Livingstone 6 years, 1 month ago

gr,

"Evolution or adaptation?"

Adaptation is less of a scientific word. Human can adapt... if you move from Texas to Minnesota, your body will adapt to the temperature decrease. But when you move permanently to Minnesota, your body that has already adapted may slowly evolve. In the very short run, you cannot see the effect. But if you live long enough, probably more than 2000 years, you will start recognizing evolution.

http://www.gene-expression-programming.com/GepBook/Chapter1/Section3.htm

Read this.

"For populations to adapt in the long run, the individual organisms must be selected to reproduce." So adaptation has nothing much to do with reproduction. Evolution is the bigger picture that includes a smaller variable, called adaptation. Skin color is one of the many examples.

If we want to speed things up, put some germs in the microscope, and start heating them, if the temperature rises slow enough, the germs will adapt, and may finally, get killed by very high temperature. Some will resist such long temperature. Give them a few weeks, they will adapt well enough, and their genes will change, and when their gene changes, this is what we call evolution. They will produce enough off-springs that can resist very high temperature.

Wondering how the first people who came to Americas live in this cold weather with good clothings? more than adaptation, they evolved.

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gr 6 years, 1 month ago

"Even within a short thousands of years, black people have different tone and white people have different tone mainly due to the amount of exposure to the sun. That is evolution."

Evolution or adaptation?
Or did you bait us with one definition and then switch it with another? Do you intentionally keep any definitions vague, then use a specific instance of a subset to say, see that proves it? = faith statement.

Have you found any creationists who deny people changing colors over time, deny adaptation. You just said, "that is evolution". That I believe in.

I sense a bait-and-switch coming up.

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Sean Livingstone 6 years, 1 month ago

parkay,

So the earth is flat, and is the center of the universe? There isn't any dinosaurs? Earth is just 6000 years old? No Mayan empire before? Chinese civilization doesn't exist till recently?

Pathetic... very pathetic.

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Taco_Freaker 6 years, 1 month ago

parkay.........what a freak you are. Don't you realize that you and your pathetic 2000 year old cult is fading away...as should be! There is no evidence for your fake god!!! Adam was a irishman .... your bible is lie...put it down Grow up and learn not to hate.

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Ray Parker 6 years, 1 month ago

There are no missing links in the fossil record that show any species evolving into any other species. None. There were never any ape-men. None. Adam was created from a handful of dirt, a fact which Eve never let him forget, even after she got a fur coat out of the apple fiasco.


Some scientists have now decided that dinosaurs did not change into birds and fly off, after all, but died off when their eggs and hatchlings were eaten by huge demonic frogs.


Some scientists have now decided that the Milky Way Galaxy is a spiral collection of stars about 100,000 light years across and 12,000 light years deep - not 6000 light years deep, as you previously thought. Science had carelessly lost track of half of our galaxy for years, it seems.

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Sean Livingstone 6 years, 1 month ago

consumer1 (Anonymous) says:

"If we evolved from apes? Why are there still apes??"

We share about the same DNA with apes, that would be the better interpretation. There are life forms that are simpler and we all evolved through the years. The argument from the scientists, which is always true, is that all things evolved. So it's not as simple to say that we're apes or we evolved from apes. However, scientists need to put things in a very simple form, to let people understand easily. So when you read an article, you thought, "Hey, he's talking about man is ape!", but is not actually. What that means is that we have close DNA that is related to an ape, which means we might have a high chance of being a relative to an ape.

The creationistic point of view is that there is an ape, and then there is a human. That's it! So nothing evolves. That is a weak argument, because, even within a short timeframe, we see HIV and all other viruses (avian flu) evolve! Even within a short thousands of years, black people have different tone and white people have different tone mainly due to the amount of exposure to the sun. That is evolution. If we put in the creationist argument, then, black is made black, white is made white... which makes no sense. Animal suddenly appears from nowhere.... of course, these make sense if you only read the bible.

So why are we arguing about science? Nonsense, grow up kids!

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maxcrabb 6 years, 1 month ago

How about we all watch the show, and THEN act like we know what we're talking about.

(I know I didn't go to school and earn a degree in vertebrate paleontology)

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75x55 6 years, 1 month ago

Smile, pdecell - just smile....

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JJE007 6 years, 1 month ago

And God said that angels will emerge from the rocks, with two sets of wings, and carry the minds of cretins to the promised land...where the T shall rule and local produce shall feed all. The multinationalistas will fly through the heavens with no place to land...crashing into lives and blowing up livings...as all those do who wish to justify their inability to live. So it is written. So shall it be done.

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JJE007 6 years, 1 month ago

Stop making sense!~) Nobody will follow!~)

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Paul Decelles 6 years, 1 month ago

75X55,

What Martin and company are getting at is convergent evolution namely the tendency of certain overall general plant and animal forms to arise independently in different groups of organisms. For instance there are a number of gliding mammals in several very different groups of mammals.

Around here we have "flying squirrels which are rodents; in the Australian region the analog is the sugar glider, a marsupial; the flying lemur is probably a gliding primate. So here we have convergence related to these organisms living in a common arboreal environment.

In the details of their structure and development these organisms are clearly not related but are only superficially similar. Think whales with their adaptations for an aquatic environment; yet whales are perfectly good mammals. Same sort of pattern of convergence of over all form.

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RedwoodCoast 6 years, 1 month ago

Humans and apes evolved from an ancestral form having prototypical similarities to both of us. Different populations probably began exploiting different ecological niches and eventually evolved to specialize in their particular niche. Humans proved to be the most adaptive and versatile of the phylogeny, owing to the development our generalist brains.

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75x55 6 years, 1 month ago

Well, the real question is, since ""The closest living model to this is a flying squirrel or flying lemur,""

Did they chew up wood moulding and steal bird food - or just throw poo and make a lot of noise?

Rocket-j-saurus ?

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aquakej 6 years, 1 month ago

This sounds like a bad arguement. Afterall, humans and monkeys co-exist, and we are related. Therefore, couldn't dinosaurs and birds also co-exist? We all know that Archaeopteryx lived during the Jurassic period, when dinosaurs also lived. What is the big deal? The fact that embryonic birds have the genes to grow reptile tails and teeth pretty much closes this case for me.

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its_getting_warmer 6 years, 1 month ago

Oh, and the friends of the Discovery Institute go wild. Don't they they just hate it when science is science. And they chime in in unison. So cute.

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KUDB99 6 years, 1 month ago

Gee, there's no way possible the apes that exist today could have evolved from the same proto-ape that humans did....

Whatever you do, don't put too much thought into your universe. It's easier that way.

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hammurabi16 6 years, 1 month ago

consumer1: i hope you're being sarcastic

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consumer1 6 years, 1 month ago

If we evolved from apes? Why are there still apes??

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posessionannex 6 years, 1 month ago

Criticism in science is outlawed.

We co-exist with apes, does that mean we aren't descended from them?

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bondmen 6 years, 1 month ago

You mean evolutionists have different opinions on fossil finds and their implications? How can they stand the criticism?

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consumer1 6 years, 1 month ago

This article makes it sound as if Nova is going to try and make these profs look like fools?

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its_getting_warmer 6 years, 1 month ago

These guys ought to be on TV more often. I love the issue. This is the real process of science at work.

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gr 6 years, 1 month ago

You mean there's "debate"? Or is it over? Or is there debate whether there is debate? Hmmm. Not exactly what evolutionists would have people believe about scientists.

"Missing links"? I don't see anything referring to such in the article.
Unless you mean the lack of a link between dinosaurs turning into birds.

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Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

This should be fascinating. As the article notes, the debate goes on, not about evolution (it's real) but about how it happened. New findings around the world provide more and more "missing links" as scientists continue to search for more evidence.

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