“Tiktaalik”, Why it is a failed Prediction

Tiktaalik is still being used as a successful prediction of something. I know it was supposed to be a successful prediction of universal common descent because it is A) Allegedly a transitional form between fish and tetrapods and B) It was found in the “correct” strata because allegedly no evidence of tetrapods before 385 million years ago- plenty of fish though and plenty of evidence for tetrapods around 365 million years ago- Tiktaalik was allegedly found in strata about 375 million years old- Shubin said that is the strata he looked in because of the 365-385 range already bracketed by existing data.

The thinking was tetrapods existed 365 mya and fish existed 385 mya, so the transition happened sometime in that 20 million years.

Sounds very reasonable. And when they looked they found Tiktaalik and all was good.

Then along comes another find that put the earliest tetrapods back to over 390 million years ago.

Now had this find preceded Tiktaalik then Shubin et al. would not have been looking for the transitional after the transition had occurred- that doesn’t make any sense. And that is why it is a failed prediction- the transition occurred some 25 million years before, Shubin et al., were looking in the wrong strata.

That said Tiktaalik is still an interesting find, something that no on else had ever found and it adds to our knowledge base of organisms that once existed. But that is all it does.

Let’s return to our problem of how to find relatives of the first fish to walk on land. In our grouping scheme, these creatures are somewhere between the “Everythungs” and the “Everythings with limbs”. Map this to what we know of the rocks, and there is strong geological evidence that the period from 380 million to 365 million years ago is the critical time. The younger rocks in that range, those about 360 million years old, include diverse kinds of fossilized animals that we would recognize as amphibians or reptiles. My colleague Jenny Clark at Cambridge University and others have uncovered amphibians from rocks in Greenland that are about 365 million years old. With their necks, their ears, and their four legs, they do not look like fish. But in rocks that are about 385 million years old, we find whole fish that look like, well, fish. They have fins. conical heads, and scales; and they have no necks. Given this, it is probably no great surprise that we should focus on rocks about 375 million years old to find evidence of the transition between fish and land-living animals.- Neil Subin pages 9-10

Just as I have been saying- go figure. Got that- he was looking for evidence of THE transition- he was not looking for any ole transitional form. And there isn’t any reason why a transitional form would be around millions of years after the transition occurred.

But anyway, the point is had the new data been available to Shubin- the data that puts the transition back to before 390 million years ago- that whole set up would be meaningless and wrong. Meaning he would not have been looking where he did.

245 thoughts on ““Tiktaalik”, Why it is a failed Prediction

  1. Joe G: Exactly what Shubin said- read it for yourself:

    Please a paraphrase, so I can get a sense of your understanding, contrasted to mine.

    Joe G: The data he used was wrong

    I don’t want to get nit-picky, but data is data. I can be falsified (but I don’t think so in this case), so I think the issue is interpretation. You and Casey Luskin are the two people I’ve seen with this specific interpretation.

  2. Joe G: He wouldn’t have looked where he did because he was looking in strata 375 my old and what he was looking for is in strata older than 390 my

    And ALSO in strata 275 MYO, as evidenced by finding it there ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Rich: Please a paraphrase, so I can get a sense of your understanding, contrasted to mine.

    I did Rich. Apparently you don’t read too well.

    I don’t want to get nit-picky, but data is data. I can be falsified (but I don’t think so in this case), so I think the issue is interpretation. You and Casey Luskin are the two people I’ve seen with this specific interpretation.

    It is what it is, Rich. Don’t blame us because you can’t see it for what it is.

    It has been explained to you. Not everyone is cut out for science Rich. Perhaps you should take a break.

  4. Rich: And ALSO in strata 275 MYO, as evidenced by finding it there

    What? Tiktaalik was found in strata approx 375 myo

  5. Rich:
    from the OP “And there isn’t any reason why a transitional form would be around millions of years after the transition occurred.”

    How fast do you think ‘the transition’ was?

    And again:

    http://bio1151b.nicerweb.com/Locked/media/ch24/cladogenesis.html

    Again, by your “logic” he should have been able to find a transitional form just about anywhere. So why did he specify those data points? If we take you at your word then he just made all that up.

  6. Joe G: I did Rich. Apparently you don’t read too well.

    Perhaps I missed it, or found it inadequate. Please expand on it, so I can full appreciate your understanding. Thanks!

  7. Rich: Who is us? Your not getting much support on this one.

    LoL! YOU brought Luskin into this so obvioulsy that would be the “us”.

    And you don’t have any support, nor obvioulsy any idea what you are even saying.

  8. Joe G: Again, by your “logic” he should have been able to find a transitional form just about anywhere.

    Really? what makes you say that?

  9. Rich: Perhaps I missed it, or found it inadequate. Please expand on it, so I can full appreciate your understanding. Thanks!

    In my words- they represent the time when there were fish, and no tetrapods-> 385 mya and a time when there were fish and tetrapods-> 365 mya.

    However now we know the 365 mya data point has been moved back to 390+ mya.

  10. Joe G: LoL! YOU brought Luskin into this so obvioulsy that would be the “us”.

    Okay – so just you and Luskin. It appears Luskin abandoned it after the devastating critique at Pharyngula.

  11. Rich: Okay – so just you and Luskin. It appears Luskin abandoned it after the devastating critique at Pharyngula.

    No- there was nothing else to say.

  12. Joe G: In my words- they represent the time when there were fish, and no tetrapods-> 385 mya and a time when there were fish and tetrapods-> 365 mya.

    Okay. This helps. Thank you. As fish are common to both clauses, why include it?

    Also, Ostracoderms (fish) were around approximately 510 million years ago. Why isn’t this part of the data. I think this will help you hone your understanding of things.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostracoderms

  13. Joe G: And Rich- you still haven’t demonstrated any understanding of what I said in the OP.

    Any understanding.Really? Is this the SLoT thread? I’m SOOOO confused! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. Joe: let’s say that a forensic investigator determines that the perpetrators of a crime were at least two males probably aged between 15 and 21, blood group A+, right handed, who left two sets of fingerprints at the scene of crime.

    The police go looking for right-handed males between 15 and 21, with blood group A+, and they find one 18 year old guy whose fingerprints match. A couple of years later, a 16 year-old guy is arrested for another crime, and his fingerprints match those of the other set found at the first crime-scene. However, he would only have been 14 at the time of the earlier crime. Also, when arrested, he said they’d had an accomplice, a 22 year old.

    Do we say that the forensic investigator made a “failed prediction”? Well, he got the age-window too narrow, and so the younger lad wasn’t picked up after the first crime. But they got the middle one, and now they have information on the oldest one.

    Same with Tiktaalik. The prediction was fine, just a little too narrow as to time. Now we know that there are transitional tetrapods older than the population of Tiktaaliks found at Nunavut. But that doesn’t mean that prediction of tetrapod transitionals at Nunavut “failed”. Clearly it succeeded, because – well, they found them!

  15. In my words- they represent the time when there were fish, and no tetrapods-> 385 mya and a time when there were fish and tetrapods-> 365 mya.

    However now we know the 365 mya data point has been moved back to 390+ mya.

  16. Joe G: In my words- they represent the time when there were fish, and

    How would anyone know (universal negative) that there was “no tetrapods-> 385 mya”?

  17. Elizabeth:
    Joe: let’s say that a forensic investigator determines that the perpetrators of a crime were at least two males probably aged between 15 and 21, blood group A+, right handed, who left two sets of fingerprints at the scene of crime.

    Let’s say the crime was committed between 11:59PM Monday and 12:01AM Wednesday.

    Do police care where the criminals were on Friday?

  18. Rich: How would anyone know (universal negative) that there was “no tetrapods-> 385 mya”?

    Ask Shubin- he wrote it. It’s his thing- read the book.

  19. Rich: How would anyone know (universal negative) that there was “no tetrapods-> 385 mya”?

    Hey maybe you are starting to get it after all….

  20. Joe G: Ask Shubin- he wrote it. It’s his thing- read the book.

    Did he say “no tetrapods” or did he reference fossil evidence?

  21. Rich: Did he say “no tetrapods” or did he reference fossil evidence?

    Read what he said Rich- I provided the quote.

  22. Joe G: Let’s say the crime was committed between 11:59PM Monday and 12:01AM Wednesday.

    Do police care where the criminals were on Friday?

    Well, the point of the analogy, Joe (and it wasn’t perfect) was to show that if you can be sure of a part of the range where your target lies, then that’s where to look. That doesn’t mean that you won’t also find it outside that range.

  23. Elizabeth: Well, the point of the analogy, Joe (and it wasn’t perfect) was to show that if you can be sure of a part of the range where your target lies, then that’s where to look.That doesn’t mean that you won’t also find it outside that range.

    I never said he couldn’t find a transitional form outside of any range.

    I made a specific claim that pertains to Shubin’s specific claim. It is all covered in the OP

  24. Rich:
    Joe G,

    Yes, he’s definatley talking fossil evidence. Do you agree?

    He may have consulted other bones, too- maybe even a Ouji board or two- or maybe even rented a time machine so he could check.

    But anyway yes he consulted the fosssil evidence and then new fossil evidence came along and washed his premise away.

  25. Joe G: He may have consulted other bones, too- maybe even a Ouji board or two- or maybe even rented a time machine so he could check.But anyway yes he consulted the fosssil evidence and then new fossil evidence came along and washed his premise away.

    Do you agree he’s talking only about fossil evidence, Yes or No? Thanks

  26. Rich: But anyway yes he consulted the fosssil evidence and then new fossil evidence came along and washed his premise away.

    But anyway yes he consulted the fosssil evidence and then new fossil evidence came along and washed his premise away.

  27. Do you agree he’s talking only about fossil evidence, Yes or No? Thanks

    But anyway yes he consulted the fosssil evidence, what lese would there be, and then new fossil evidence came along and washed his premise away.

  28. So (now) you agree he’s only talking about fossil evidence.

    This is at odds with:

    Joe G: Joe G on March 5, 2012 at 7:38 pm said:
    Rich: How would anyone know (universal negative) that there was “no tetrapods-> 385 mya”?
    Ask Shubin- he wrote it. It’s his thing- read the book.

    He said no such thing. But that (was) your interpretation. We’re beginning to get to the source of your confusion.

  29. Rich:
    So (now) you agree he’s only talking about fossil evidence.

    What are you talking about? What other kind of evidence is there wrt 375 million years ago and tarnsitional forms?

    This is at odds with:

    He said no such thing. But that (was) your interpretation. We’re beginning to get to the source of your confusion.

    I provided the quote of what he said, Rich. Everyone can read it for themselves. And unlike you most people will understand it.

  30. Joe G,

    We all understood it was pertaining to fossil evidence. But it’s obvious from the above that you thought it was a declarative statement on the earliest organisms could exist. This is wrong, and not what Schubin was saying at all. I hope you can now move on with a more complete understanding. That correction was much harder than it needed to be.

  31. We still have fish and still have amphibians. Are you assuming there can be no period during which there could be fish and tetrapods?

    Your claim is very confusing. It sounds a lot like the “why are there still monkeys?’ argument.

  32. Rich:
    Joe G,

    We all understood it was pertaining to fossil evidence. But it’s obvious from the above that you thought it was a declarative statement on the earliest organisms could exist.

    Nope- not even close. What I said is derived from what Shubin et al., have said.

  33. Joe G: Nope- not even close. What I said is derived from what Shubin et al., have said.

    No – you’re understanding was completely at odds with what he wrote, as I have pointed out above. Move on.

    Looks like your ‘derivation’ is faulty, pleased we could put this one to bed.

  34. petrushka:
    We still have fish and still have amphibians. Are you assuming there can be no period during which there could be fish and tetrapods?

    Your claim is very confusing. It sounds a lot like the “why are there still monkeys?’ argument.

    Read the OP- in his book Shubin said he was looking in strata around 375 million years old to find evidence of THE TRANSITION because the fossil data he had fish (with no signs of any tetrapods)-> 385 million years ago and around 365 million years ago we had signs of fish a tetrapods.

    So looking in 375 million year old strata made sense- that is to anyone who has ever conducted an investigation.

    Let’s say Jenny Clark had the data that put tetrapods on the map before 390 million years ago- do you think that Shubin would have adjusted his research accordingly- say to look in strata around 400 million years old- remember he is looking for evidence for the transition.

  35. Let’s return to our problem of how to find relatives of the first fish to walk on land. In our grouping scheme, these creatures are somewhere between the “Everythings” and the “Everythings with limbs”. Map this to what we know of the rocks, and there is strong geological evidence that the period from 380 million to 365 million years ago is the critical time. The younger rocks in that range, those about 360 million years old, include diverse kinds of fossilized animals that we would recognize as amphibians or reptiles. My colleague Jenny Clark at Cambridge University and others have uncovered amphibians from rocks in Greenland that are about 365 million years old. With their necks, their ears, and their four legs, they do not look like fish. But in rocks that are about 385 million years old, we find whole fish that look like, well, fish. They have fins. conical heads, and scales; and they have no necks. Given this, it is probably no great surprise that we should focus on rocks about 375 million years old to find evidence of the transition between fish and land-living animals.- Neil Subin pages 9-10

    OK man-up, if you dare- In my words- they represent the time when there were fish, and no tetrapods-> 385 mya and a time when there were fish and tetrapods-> 365 mya.

    Is there anyone who thinks differently? Please make your case.

  36. Joe G: Great now Rich references himself to support himself-
    LoL!

    Actually, it shows you attributing thoughts to Schubin that he clearly did not have, but you did. So, your understanding was wrong. And now you’ve been corrected. Move on.

  37. I’ve read the OP.

    Yet you obvioulsy didn’t understand it.

    The quote clearly talks about fossils.

    It always has. I am glad that you finally read it and realized that Tiktaalik was a fossil and not a living organism- It won’t crawl out and get you Rich.

  38. Let’s say Jenny Clark had the data that put tetrapods on the map before 390 million years ago- do you think that Shubin would have adjusted his research accordingly- say to look in strata around 400 million years old- remember he is looking for evidence for the transition.

    You argue as if the “transition” was instantaneous. How is your argument different from the “why are there still monkeys?” argument?

  39. Actually, it shows you attributing thoughts to Schubin that he clearly did not have

    And how do you know he didn’t have those thoughts? I am going by what he wrote in his book- what is your claim based on, besides yourself? LoL!

  40. Joe G: I am glad that you finally read it and realized that Tiktaalik was a fossil and not a living organism

    WRONG – it IS a fossil and WAS a living organism. Maybe biology isn’t for you…?

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