Re: pre-cambrian rabbits
Mon, 23 Aug 1999 22:30:09 +0000

At 07:23 PM 08/23/1999 -0500, Susan B wrote:
>At 07:05 AM 5/21/99 -0500, you wrote:
>>I have two questions about this:
>>1. Do we have fossil evidence of every creature that we know for a fact
>>is now inhabiting the earth? I would think not. Isn't it a broad assumption
>>to think that not finding a fossil is evidence that the creature never

I don't know who wrote this as I missed it the first time. I presume it was
Jeff Schnitker. The point is we don't have a single fossil of any modern
creature prior to the Upper Cretaceous (this is a single characteristic
fish tooth from ~65 myr ago see below). And for mammals we have no fossils
of modern creatures earlier than the upper miocene (~7 myr ago) (see my web
page for details )

For documentation for the fish, this is a bit old, I haven't run into
anything older that is evidence of a current species:

"So characteristic is the form of the teeth in many Sharks that it is
often possible to identify a species from one or two teeth alone, and in
the case of many extinct forms these are the only parts of the fish which
remain, all the rest of the skeleton having disappeared. Further, in those
species in which the dentition is of more than one type, it is possible to
state whether a certain fossil tooth belonged to the upper or the lower
jaw, and whether it occurred in the front or at the side of the jaw. The
curious Elfin or Goblin Shark (Scapanorhynchus) was first known from some
teeth occurring in Upper Cretaceous strata, but a living specimen of this
supposedly extinct form was found off the coast of Japan in 1898. It is
remarkable for the long, blade-like snout, separated from the jaws by a
deep cleft, and the teeth are of a characteristic pattern. Recently the
known distribution of the species was further extended in an interesting
manner. A 'break' occurred in one of the deep-sea telegraph cables lying
at a depth of 750 fathoms in the Indian Ocean, and on its being brought to
the surface, the damage was found to have been caused by a fish which had
left one of its teeth embedded in the cable; this tooth, which had broken
off short, was identified as belonging to an Elfin Shark." ~ J.R. Norman, A
History of Fishes, (New York: A. A. Wyn, 1949), p. 124

>>2. How do you get the date of 4 million years for homids and 100,000 for
>>humans? What is the scientific proof for that? I would again say that this
>>is a theory.
>As it turns out, my information is outdated. There is a considerable amount
>of scientific evidence that hominids existed 4 million years ago. (science
>doesn't, strictly speaking, deal in "proof" that's pretty much a
>mathematical concept) Now there's evidence that hominids existed before that
>time period. There was a wonderful piece in *today's* TIME magazine that
>goes into a bit of detail on this subject. I suggest you read it.

Actually the first hominids are from 5.5 myr ago at Logatham Kenya. It is
a mandible. (A. T. Chamberlain, "A Chronological Framework for Human
Origins," World Archaeology, 23:2, 1991, p. 140)

Foundation, Fall and Flood
Adam, Apes and Anthropology

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