Friday, February 08, 2013
Hypothetical Roots of Placentals
Yesterday’s science news stories included one on the alleged finding of the first ancestor of all placental mammals, which includes, naturally, humans. I’ve read two articles on this bit of evolutionary news. One, put out by LiveScience.com, was titled Meet Your Mama: First Ancestor of All Placental Mammals Revealed. The other, put out by the New York Times, was titled Rat-Size Ancestor Said to Link Man and Beast.
If reading just the headlines to arrive at a conclusion as to the validity of this finding, I’m inclined to give a bit more credit to the New York Times in the accuracy department, because they utilized the word “said” in their headline, but that’s about it. As to the conclusiveness of this finding, well, I about laughed out loud when I read this paragraph from the LiveScience.com article.
The study was so thorough that the team, made up of 23 scientists from around the world, was able to speculate on the appearance of this hypothetical ancestor inside and out, from its brain and inner ear bones to its ovaries and even what its sperm may have looked like (it sported a head and tail like modern-day sperm cells do).
Yeah, the study was so “thorough” the scientific team “was able to speculate on the appearance of this hypothetical ancestor,” and “even what its sperm may have looked like…” (bold by ed.)