[Taxacom] More fairy tales from evolution

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Wed May 29 05:24:12 CDT 2019

Not surprising that the press love such things. Quite dramatic to have the
universe play a direct role in our evolution this way. Unlike the
imagination involved in the bipedal hypothesis (this was the fairly tale
part), extinctions are a matter of record. But one has to wonder sometimes
about invoking astronomical events as they are going on all the time and
one or other is going to coincide. Then one has to explain how the
extinction was only selective.

John Grehan

On Tue, May 28, 2019 at 7:12 PM Kenneth Kinman <kinman at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Hi John,
>        Some press coverage seems to love the hypotheses of Dr. Melott and
> colleagues.  A couple of years ago it was about such bursts of cosmic
> radiation (muons in particular) causing an extinction of marine megafauna
> at the end of the Pliocene.  And another hypothesis that the increase in
> mutation rates caused disparities between molecular clocks and the fossil
> record.  Here are just three examples (in the first one he suggests "due to
> the importance of highly penetrating muon irradiation, the disparity should
> be magnified for megafauna"):
>      (1)  "A Possible Role for Stochastic Astrophysical Ionizing Radiation
> Events in the Systematic Disparity between Molecular and Fossil Dates."
>      https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/ast.2016.1527
>     (2)  "Muon Radiation Dose and Marine Megafaunal Extinction at the
> end-Pliocene Supernova":
> https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/240093v1.full
>     (3)  "Researchers consider whether supernovae killed off large ocean
> animals at dawn of Pleistocene":
> https://phys.org/news/2018-12-supernovae-large-ocean-animals-dawn.html
> ------------------------------
> *From:* Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> on behalf of John
> Grehan via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> *Sent:* Tuesday, May 28, 2019 1:52 PM
> *To:* taxacom
> *Subject:* [Taxacom] More fairy tales from evolution
> Evolution is definitely not a science. Its all about fairy tails (pun
> intended). Here's the latest. The sooner we get honest to good fairy tails
> (Creationism) in our schools the better. At least they are honest about
> miracles. Good grief.
> https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/exploding-stars-led-to-humans-walking-on-two-legs-radical-study-suggests/ar-AAC25BS?li=BBnbcA1
> According to the researchers, a series of stars in our corner of the Milky
> Way exploded in a cosmic riot that began about 7m years ago and continued
> for millions of years more. The supernovae blasted powerful cosmic rays in
> all directions. On Earth, the radiation arriving from the cataclysmic
> explosions peaked about 2.6m years ago.
> The surge of radiation triggered a chain of events, the scientists argue.
> As cosmic rays battered the planet, they ionised the atmosphere and made it
> more conductive. This could have ramped up the frequency of lightning
> strikes, sending wildfires raging through African forests, and making way
> for grasslands, they write in the Journal of Geology. With fewer trees at
> hand in the aftermath, our ancient ancestors adapted, and those who walked
> upright thrived.
> That, at least, is the thinking. In the history of human evolution, walking
> upright dates back at least 6m years to Sahelanthropus, an ancient species
> with both ape and human features discovered from fossil remains found in
> Chad. One prominent theory is that climate change transformed the
> landscape, leaving savannah where trees once stood.
> One of the study’s authors, Adrian Melott of the University of Kansas, said
> ancient human relatives were already dabbling with standing upright before
> the effects of any supernovae took hold. But he believes the violent
> explosions still played a role. “Bipedalism had already gotten started, but
> we think this may have given it a strong shot in the arm,” he said.
> “Lightning has long been thought to be the primary cause of fires before
> humans had a role, and with a lot of fires you get the destruction of a lot
> of habitat,” Melott said. “When the forests are replaced with grasslands,
> it then becomes an advantage to stand upright, so you can walk from tree to
> tree, and see over the tall grass for predators.”
> The cosmic rays from one star known to have exploded about 164 light years
> from Earth would have increased the ionisation of the atmosphere 50-fold,
> the scientists calculate. Cosmic rays ionise the atmosphere when they knock
> electrons out of the atoms and molecules they slam into in the air. Cosmic
> rays normally only ionise the upper reaches of the atmosphere, but powerful
> ones from nearby supernovae can penetrate the entire depth of the
> atmosphere, ionising it all the way to the ground. “We are sure this would
> have increased lightning strikes, but lightning initiation is not well
> understood, so we cannot put a number on it,” Melott said.
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