"If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin."
- Charles Darwin

Aug 20, 2007

A Three Million Year Walk Through Egypt

New hominid footprint has Intelligent Design advocate stumped

Zahi Hawass_________________Cast of fossilized footprint________

This is very confusing. The Scubaredneck (seriously, that's his name) writing at Uncommon Descent posted this article about a new fossil footprint in Egypt that might be older than the earliest evidence of Australopithecus afarensis. But he just posted the story as is from Reuters. Did he forget to inject his Intelligent Design message to show they’d predicted this all along? Is there something significant about Egypt having evidence of hominids earlier than Ethiopia? Are they changing their tactic to suggest that evolutionary anthropologists have been too conservative in their estimates about the age of A. afarensis? I really don’t understand why this would be posted on William Dembski’s page. Can someone explain it to me?

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian archaeologists have found what they said could be the oldest human footprint in history in the country’s western desert, the Arab country’s antiquities’ chief said on Monday.

“This could go back about two million years,” said Zahi Hawass, the secretary general of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities. “It could be the most important discovery in Egypt,” he told Reuters.

Archaeologists found the footprint, imprinted on mud and then hardened into rock, while exploring a prehistoric site in Siwa, a desert oasis.

Scientists are using carbon tests on plants found in the rock to determine its exact age, Hawass said.

Khaled Saad, the director of prehistory at the council, said that based on the age of the rock where the footprint was found, it could date back even further than the renowned 3-million year-old fossil Lucy, the partial skeleton of an ape-man, found in Ethiopia in 1974. (emphasis added by The Scubaredneck)

He probably thinks that Reuters' use of the word "human" means modern humans. I can see him grinning with excitement as he posted the story. If only a dinosaur footprint had been just next to it he might have had an aneurysm.

In all seriousness, the indentations at the heel and big toe are consistent with the footprints from Laetoli and could be further evidence of early hominid bipedalism. This would provide additional evidence that our ancestors walked upright before large brains had evolved. However, the assessment that this dates from earlier than 3 million years ago was based purely on one person's interpretation prior to a full analysis (notice how there were two age estimates in the same article), so I look forward to this evidence being presented in a journal. Because, unlike the Intelligent Design advocates, I don’t take random media clips as evidence for anything.

A Three Million Year Walk Through EgyptSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


dogscratcher said...

"If only a dinosaur footprint had been just next to it he might have had an aneurysm."

Best blog-quote of the day.

Anonymous said...

They have very little content. And no research of their own. The ID journal they started, PCID, is defunct. Uncommonly Dense is such a joke that several of us just hang out and make fun of it at AtBC.

Anonymous said...

Making fun of Uncommonly Dense is not for everyone. But if you have a taste for surprisingly, jaw-droppingly stupid comments, UD is a rich vein. Our favorite things lately have been 1 Davescot claiming that he violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics all the time, for instance every time he writes a sentence, and 2 several people saying that any experiment about evolution or abiogenesis has elements and factors designed by the experimenter, and this infuses the experiment with Intelligent Design, nullifying any credit to evolution for the outcome.

If you like Grade A tard, there's no better place than UD.

Jeremy Pierce said...

You know, it would help if you could at least get people's views right before pretending you're making funny comments about them. The suggestion that Bill Dembski thinks humans and dinosaurs coexisted is pretty laughable. I'm no Dembski groupie, but I think it's pretty lame that you consider yourself to be promoting the truth while not even bothering to get some basic distinctions right. Intelligent design isn't the same thing as six-day creationism. It isn't even the same thing as denying evolution, since Michael Behe accepts the contemporary evolutionary picture and timetable while thinking that God's hand in the process is a reasonable inference from the data. Whether you agree with his argument or not, it's pretty lame to pretend that these guys consider humans and dinosaurs to have coexisted.