Quite a smattering of ridiculousness this week. People open their mouths, and all sorts of nonsense spews forth. But in the end, it only matters if people choose to believe this garbage, and there is no better garbage-filter than a rationally skeptical worldview. Here are this week’s top 5 ridiculous comments of the week:
Hallucigenia, that total oddball fossil from the Burgess Shale may not have been an evolutionary dead-end after all. Evidence shows that it is probably related to an extant species of worms.
This creature was found in the Burgess Shale in Canada over a century ago by paleontologist Charles Walcott. The half-billion year old fossils found there were a Perfecta for science because not only was the soft tissue exquisitely preserved but it showed a tremendous diversity of new body designs at the dawn of multi-cellular life. In fact, all modern phyla existing today (except for one, Bryozoa) can be traced back to this Cambrian-Era Explosion of diversity.
Ancient fossils are illuminating the earliest multi-cellular life that was big enough to see with the naked eye. They may have been the first animals but they looked like living fractal plants.
These creatures are called Rangeomorphs and they are now in my top 10 list for the coolest animals ever.
The geologic period that saw them briefly flourish is called the Ediacaren which lasted from around 635 to 541 million years ago. This period is somewhat opaque to scientists since life-forms from that time had no easily fossilized hard shells. This was because such structures hadn’t even evolved yet.
A good barometer of how ridiculous some people were this past week is to look at the people who did not make the list. There is no room for the likes of “The Food Babe”, Deepak Chopra, or Rupert Sheldrake; three veritable founts of ridiculousness and they could not crack the top 5 this week. So in that context, here are this weeks “real winners.”
The controversy over Homo floresiensis (dubbed the “Hobbit”) continues. A recent analysis of the fossils by an international team concludes that multiple lines of evidence converge on the conclusion that LB1 represents a modern human with Down syndrome (trisomy 21).
Siphonophores are among the longest animals in the world. Siphonophores may look like a single animal, but they are actually each a colony of physiologically linked organisms called zooids . These zooids begin life together, from an egg, and function together with highly specialized roles to create a single entity.
The latest models of the moon show that it may have a liquid blanketing its core.
We’ve solved may interesting mysteries about the moon over the decades. We know it was probably created by a mars-sized planet that slammed into the young earth. We know much about its once hidden “dark” side. We know it’s not made of cheese