Per Ahlberg and his crew just found another fossil along the fish–>tetrapod line! WHOO!!!

Ventastega curonica and the origin of tetrapod morphology

All the major news sources have picked up on this story already, with all the crappy journalism we have come to expect from most contemporary ‘science’ writers… ugh…

So why dont you all just head over to TalkRational and ask Per himself about his research 😉

Side note to Per–

Dear Prof. Ahlberg,

This is my second request for your data underlying your recent paper, “Ventastega curonica and the origin of tetrapod morphology,” published in Nature (June 26, 2008) and reported in Science Daily (“New Fossils Of Extremely Primitive 4-Legged Creatures Close The Gap Between Fish And Land Animals” June 25, 2008).

Your work was taxpayer-funded, and Nature represents that its authors will make underlying data available. I’d like to review the data myself and ensure availability for others, including experts and my students. Others have expressed interest in access to the data in addition to myself, and your website seems well-suited for public release of these data.

If the data are voluminous, then I particularly request access to the data that was made available to the peer reviewers of your paper, and to the data relating to the period during which you supposedly found a frog fish thing. As before, I’m requesting the organized data themselves, not the graphs and summaries set forth in the paper and referenced in your first reply to me. Note that several times your paper expressly states, “data not shown.”

Given that this is my second request for the data, a clear answer is requested as to whether you will make the key underlying data available for independent review. Your response, or lack thereof, will be posted due to the public interest in this issue. Thank you.

cc: Nature, ScienceDaily


  1. #1 Tyler DiPietro
    June 26, 2008

    An ice-cream truck was right outside the window while I read this. You have no idea how funny that made it.

  2. #2 Lledowyn
    June 26, 2008

    I LOL’ed at your side note. :p

  3. #3 afarensis, FCD
    June 26, 2008

    Ack! You beat me to it, I was even going to reference the conservapedia stuff. That’s what I get for going to work instead of staying home and blogging.

  4. #4 Sili
    June 26, 2008

    Well, unless you’ve suddenly emigrated to hinsidan then it hardly matters that prof Ahlberg’s work is tax funded.

    And if I understand the BBC coverage right, then this fossil represents an evolutionary dead-end, so technically it’s only one more gap.


  5. #5 Felstatsu
    June 26, 2008

    Still, an evolutionary dead end is still good proof against creationism. Regardless of what way they spin this, A) they can say it didn’t evolve this way cause it was designed but then what was the point of it being designed, or B) it’s a dead end evolution so not even guided evolution is valid unless it possible for their creator to just plain screw up.

    Things like this at the end of my workday bring a smile to my face, creationists getting something I can’t think of any way they can argue against it without their crazy showing.

  6. #6 Laelaps
    June 26, 2008

    Thank you for mentioning this! I saw it yesterday and 1) couldn’t get the paper because I was at home when I got the Nature announcement and 2) I have a math exam on Friday and have been studying my ass off. I really hope to get to it soon but I too am surprised that it hasn’t made a bigger splash.

  7. #7 ERV
    June 26, 2008

    lol @ Afarensis! That’ll learn you!

  8. #8 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 26, 2008

    I can smell the snark all the way over here in South Carolina.

  9. #9 J-Dog
    June 26, 2008

    No one, repeat No one does snark, like Our Erv!

    USA! USA! 111111ONEONEONE!

  10. #10 afarensis, FCD
    June 26, 2008

    Yup! Next time I’m staying home and devoting myself to my readers. Who needs a paycheck when you can blog.

  11. #11 jetmags73
    June 26, 2008

    Lenski pwned Assfly. Best of all, Assfly KNOWS it. He’s already deleted all the talk history from his freak-show con-pedia, so many of the quoted remarks referenced in Lenski’s second reply are gone. But the damage is still done, Assfly has been gloriously skewered and roasted on his own ignorance. As the ERV herself has said, “I love the smell of roast creationist in the morning.”

  12. #12 PZ Myers
    June 26, 2008

    I think I should demand that Per mail me the fossil itself immediately. The only possible way to confirm its validity if it is sitting on my coffeetable as a particularly spectacular conversation piece.

  13. #13 ERV
    June 26, 2008

    PZ, I think we can all agree that Behe is the only one among us that meets Pers qualifications for a scientist to whom he would release the fish-frog-with-no-toes fossil.

    (relevant comment was taken down at Conservapedia, LOL!)

  14. #14 John Phillips, FCD
    June 27, 2008

    Oh no, not more gaps 🙂

    This is way cool, first saw it on my BBC feed yesterday. This really is an amazing time to be alive in spite of the creos doing their best to ruin it.

  15. #15 Kalia's little brother
    June 28, 2008

    PZ, I think we can all agree that Behe is the only one among us that meets Pers qualifications for a scientist to whom he would release the fish-frog-with-no-toes fossil

    How about Michael Denton, who can’t tell the difference between a North American wolf skull and a thylacine skull?

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