Australopithecus origins

One of the earliest hominids was Australopithecus (“southern ape”). It has long been suggested that genus Australopithecus gave rise to genus Homo. At the moment that still isn’t certain.

But on the other end of the timeline was the question, where did Australopithecus come from—Ardipithecus, Orrorin, or perhaps Sahelanthropus? New evidence is helping to settle that question.

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Dinosaur lungs

The Creationist fairy tale proposes that “Dinosaurs died after the Biblical Flood because their lungs were too small.” Left unexplained is the assumption that dinos used most of their lungs and mammals used less of their lungs so they had excess capacity to spare. Or why reptiles used less of their lungs than dinosaurs. Those assumptions are made—with no explanation as to mechanism—to give the fairy tale the desired ending.

Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation

In contrast, science has a detailed and clear explanation of how birds’ respiration is more efficient than ours and how closely it resembles that of dinosaurs.

For the basics, see avian respiration.

For the research, see “Study Documents Bird-like Breathing Systems in Long-extinct Dinosaurs”.

See also wacky Creationist news.

Bat development

Pharyngula has a nice post on the embryonic development of bats, which has not been studied nearly as much as their numbers and diversity warrant.

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