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Carnivores (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article

This article (Carnivores (Talk.Origins)) is a rebuttal regarding a supposed transitional form published by the Talk.Origins Archive under the title Transitional Vertebrate Fossils FAQ.


Response to Carnivores


CreationWiki Response:

General

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

  • Creodonts -- early placental mammals with minor but interestingly carnivore-like changes in the molars and premolars. Had a carnivore- like shearing zone in the teeth, though the zone moved throughout life instead of staying in particular teeth. Also had a carnivore- like bony sheet in the brain dividing cerebrum & cerebellum, details of ankle. Closely related to & possibly ancestral to carnivores. The origin of the creodonts is unclear. They probably were derived from condylarths.

Since Creodonts are an order, it is too broad for pictures and consists of multiple kinds of animals. Note the lack of a definite ancestor Creodonts. Furthermore even Talk Origins expresses doubt about Creodonts actually being ancestors to Carnivores. Talk Origins omits the fact that Creodonts are classified as Early Tertiary, this would make them Paleocene and Eocene making them contemporary with many of their alleged descendants, and actually younger than some of their alleged dependents.

Reference: Creodonta

Note that Cimolestes are classified as late Cretaceous which would make them older than Creodonts, thus eliminating Creodonts as their ancestors. They look like a mouse, so it was probably a variety of mouse.

Reference: Cimolestes

  • Cimolestes incisus & Cimolestes cerberoides (Cretaceous)...

Note that Cimolestes incisus & Cimolestes cerberoides are are classified as Cretaceous making them older than Creodonts, thus eliminating Creodonts as their ancestors and actually making them the oldest of the Cimolestes.

  • Cimolestes sp. are classified as (Paleocene) making them contemporary with Creodonts. Given the fact that the older Cimolestes would be older than Creodonts, it eliminates Creodonts as Cimolestes sp.'s ancestors.
    • Simpsonictis tenuis (mid-Paleocene) -- A very early viverravid. The upper carnassial was large; the lower carnassial was of variable size in different individuals.

    There is no independent information available on this type, however its placement in the mid-Paleocene would make it contemporary with two of its alleged ancestors one of which is place two links behind it. Note that the main difference stated are in its teeth. This suggests the possibility that Simpsonictis tenuis could be a large tooth variety of Cimolestes.

    • Paroodectes, Vulpavus (early Eocene) -- Early miacids. Enlarged carnassials now specialized for shearing. Still had unfused foot bones, short limbs, plantigrade feet, unossified bulla.

    Paroodectes, Vulpavus is classified as early Eocene and its alleged immediate ancestor; Simpsonictis tenuis; is classified mid-Paleocene, so where is the late-Paleocene? Besides there are too many differences to demonstrate any relationship with Cimolestes, even including Simpsonictis. It would require multiple intermediate forms for which there is no evidence. Paroodectes, and Vulpavus seem to be the same kind of animals.

    Reference: Paroodectes

    Reference: Vulpavus

    GAP: few miacoid skulls are known from the rest of the Eocene -- a real pity because for early carnivore relationships, skulls (particularly the skull floor and ear capsule) are more useful than teeth.

    Translation: They have no evidence.

    • Viverravus sicarius (mid-Eocene) -- Hunt & Tedford (in Szalay et al., 1993) think this viverravid may be the ancestral aeluroid. It has teeth & skeletal traits similar to the first known Oligocene aeluroids (undifferentiated cat/civet/hyenas).

    There is no independent information available on Viverravus sicarius and the gap shows that there is no connection with Paroodectes, and Vulpavus.

    Dogs

    • Cynodictis (late Eocene) -- First known arctoid (undifferentiated dog/bear).

    No clear link is given to any proposed ancestor. Based on it reconstruction Cynodictis is clearly a variety of dog. So what we have here is a sudden appearance of the dog kind.

    Reference: Cynodictis

    While there is no indication of a post cranial bones, All indications are that Hesperocyon was a variety of dog.

    Reference: Hesperocyon

    Reference: Wolf Facts at Wolf Web

    • Cynodesmus (Miocene) -- First true dog. The dog lineage continued through Tomarctus (Pliocene) to the modern dogs, wolves, & foxes, Canis (Pleistocene).

    'By calling Cynodesmus "First true dog;" Talk Origins make it clear that Cynodesmus as well as 'Tomarctus and Canis are all varieties of Dog.

    Reference: Cynodesmus


    Given the vast variety of dogs alive to day; it seems clear that Cynodictis, Hesperocyon and Cynodesmus are simply three varieties of Dog.

    Bears

    • Cynodictis (see above)
    • Hesperocyon (see above)

    For the recored it is shown above that Cynodictis, Hesperocyon and Cynodesmus are varieties of Dog.

    • Ursavus elmensis (mid-Oligocene) -- A small, heavy doglike animal, intermediate between arctoids and bears. Still had slicing carnassials & all its premolars, but molars were becoming squarer. Later specimens of Ursavus became larger, with squarer, more bear-like, molars.

    Ursavus was a variety of bear with no real evidence of any relationship with Cynodictis and Hesperocyon. There are significant differences. This would require a sudden shift between dog and bear with apparently nothing in between. They would probably claim punctuated equilibrium, but that would literally require a dog giving birth to a bear.

    • Protursus simpsoni (Pliocene; also "Indarctos") -- Sheepdog-sized. Carnassial teeth have no shearing action, molars are square, shorter tail, heavy limbs. Transitional to the modern genus Ursus.

    There is no independent information available on Protursus simpsoni, but based on the above description it is clearly a bear.

    • Ursus is the genus of modern bears
    The transitions between each of these bear species are very well documented. For most of the transitions there are superb series of transitional specimens leading right across the species "boundaries".

    No problem sinces between species is not a problem, the fact is that these are all the same kind of animal.

    Raccoons

    • Phlaocyon (Miocene) -- A climbing carnivore with non-shearing carnassials and handlike forepaws, transitional from the arctoids to the procyonids (raccoons et al.). Typical raccoons first appeared in the Pliocene.

    Phlaocyon was a Dog, not a Raccoon, nor is there any clear conection to raccoons.

    Reference: Phlaocyon

    Reference: Wolf Facts at Wolf Web

    Weasels

    Click here to see pictures Weasels

    • Plesictis (early Oligocene) -- Transitional between miacids (see above) and mustelids (weasels etc.)

    Plesictis seems to be distinct kind of animal. Talk Origins claims that it is transitional between miacids and mustelids, without giving any reason for the claim. the impression is that their claim is to be taken as true, based only on faith. Sounds like a religion.

    Reference: Plesictis

    Potamotherium(late Oligocene) -- Another early mustelid, but has some rather puzzling traits that may mean it is not a direct ancestor of later mustelids. Mustelids were diversifying with "bewildering variety" by the early Miocene.

    Potamotherium seems to be a variety of weasel. Note however that they do not consider it an ancestor to weasel, that means they don't have one.

    Reference: Potamotherium

    Seals, sea lions and walruses

    • Pachycynodon (early Oligocene) -- A bearlike terrestrial carnivore with several sea-lion traits.

    could not find any independent information on Pachycynodon, but the fact that it is described as "bearlike" suggests that it was a variety of bear, however the lack of information make an analyzes impossible.

    • Enaliarctos (late Oligocene, California) -- Still had many features of bear-like terrestrial carnivores: bear- like tympanic bulla, carnassials, etc. But, had flippers instead of toes (though could still walk and run on the flippers) and somewhat simplified dentition. Gave rise to several more advanced families, including:

    Enaliarctos looks like a seal and probably is a variety of seal. What we have here is the sudden appearance of seals. The ability of this seal to walk and run on it flippers suggests that seals have lost an ability. This shows the type of degeneration that would be expected under creation. Furthermore there is no reference to mid Oligocene, apparently they have no fossils from these layers. However since Enaliarctos has the first mention of flippers, Pachycynodon probably had feet. That is quite a big jump with no intermediates.

    Reference: Enaliarctos

    • Odobenidae: the walrus family. Started with Neotherium 14 my, then Imagotaria, which is probably ancestral to modern species.

    First of all Neotherium 14 my "date" would mean 10 my gape from the end of the late Oligocene and by its immediate alleged ancestor Enaliarctos. These are varieties of walrus since they are all part of the same family there would need to be several intermediate steps between these walruses and Enaliarctos for a connection to be credible, so we have a sudden appearance of the walrus kind interesting!

    Reference: Imagotaria

    • Otariidae: the sea lion family. First was Pithanotaria (mid- Miocene, 11 Ma) -- small and primitive in many respects, then Thalassoleon (late Miocene) and finally modern sea lions (Pleistocene, about 2 Ma).

    Here we have a 13 my gap since its immediate alleged ancestor Enaliarctos. So we have a sudden appearance of the sea lion kind interesting!

    Reference: Fur Seals and Sea Lions (Otariidae)

    • Phocidae: the seal family. First known are the primitive and somewhat weasel-like mid-Miocene seals Leptophoca and Montherium. Modern seals first appear in the Pliocene, about 4 Ma.

    Seals seem to appear "earlier" in the fossil record but are called Enaliarctos. If Enaliarctos could run on its flippers it would be a loss not a gain and as such this would not be a problem for creationists.


    So here we have 3 distinct kinds with no apparent connection. This shows no indication of a transition just a group of known kinds of animals.

    Civets

    • Stenoplesictis (early Oligocene) -- An early civet-like animal related to the miacids. Might not be directly ancestral (has some puzzling non-civet-like traits).

    If Stenoplesictis a "civet-like animal" why can it be a civet. In fact, it is called a civet by some sources, so it is likely just a variety of civet.

    Reference: Evolution of the Vertebrates, 4th ed. New York: Wiley-Liss.

    • Palaeoprionodon (late Oligocene, 30-24 Ma) -- An aeluroid (undifferentiated cat/civet/hyena) with a civet-like skull floor. Probably had split off from the cat line and was on the way to modern viverrids.

    Dirtst of all where is the mid Oligocene? No type is mentioned from the mid Oligocene so there is no fossil connection between Stenoplesictis and Palaeoprionodon. Furthermore the description of Palaeoprionodon makes it sound less civet like than Stenoplesictis so this is going the wrong direction. However, it is called a civet by some sources, so it is likely just a variety of civet.

    Reference: Evolution of the Vertebrates, 4th ed. New York: Wiley-Liss.

    • Herpestides (early Miocene, 22 Ma, France) -- Had a distinctly civet-like skull floor, more advanced than Palaeoprionodon.

    First off there seems to be a 2Ma gap between Herpestides and Palaeoprionodon, so there is no direct fossil connection. However since it is described as more civet like than Palaeoprionodon and its reconstruction looks like a civet, it is likely just a variety of civet.

    Reference: Herpestides

    • More advanced modern civets appeared in the Miocene.

    These are unquestionably civets.

    Reference: Civets and Genets


    These are just four varieties of civet, and hence no evidence for macroevolution.

    Cats

    • Haplogale (late Oligocene, 30 Ma) -- A slightly cat-like aeluroid (cat/civet/hyena).

    Unfortunately a lack of information on Haplogale categorizing it impossible. The claim that it is "slightly cat-like" suggests that it could be a variety of cat, but there is no way of be certain. However given the fact that the true cats Dinictis and Hoplophoneus would predate Haplogale by at 5-7 million years removes it from being a cat ancestor.

    • "Proailurus" julieni, (early Miocene) -- An aeluroid with a viverrid-ish skull floor that also showed the first cat-like traits.

    Unfortunately a lack of information on Proailurus julieni categorizing it impossible. The reference to "cat-like traits" suggests that it could be a variety of cat, but there is no way of be certain. However given the fact that the true cats Dinictis and Hoplophoneus would predate Proailurus julieni by at 10-13 million years removes it from being a cat ancestor.

    • Proailurus lemanensis (early Miocene, 24 Ma) -- Considered the first true cat;

    Proailurus lemanensis was clearly a variety of cat, even Talk Origins calls it a true cat. However given the fact that the true cats Dinictis and Hoplophoneus would predate Proailurus lemanensis by at 10-13 million years removes it from being their ancestor and "The first true cat."

    Reference: Proailurus

    Reference: Proailurus

    Pseudaelurus was definitely a variety of cat.

    Reference: Pseudaelurus

    • Dinictis (early Oligocene) -- Transitional from early cats such as Proailurus to modern "feline" cats
    • Hoplophoneus (early Oligocene) -- Transitional from early cats to "saber-tooth" cats

    Dinictis was definitely a variety of cat, and Hoplophoneus a variety of the famous saber-tooth tiger, also a cat. Note that these varieties predate all of their alleged ancestors.

    Reference: Dinictis

    Reference: Dinictis

    Reference: Hoplophoneus

    What we have here is a demonstration of the vast variety of cats within the cat kind.

    Hyaenids

    • Herpestes antiquus (early Miocene) -- A viverrid thought to be the ancestor of the hyenid family.

    Herpestes antiquus was a variety of mongoose.

    Reference: Herpestes:

    • Protictitherium crassum (& 5 closely related species) (early Miocene, 17-18 Ma)

    Note that Protictitherium crassum seems to be contemparary with Herpestes making the claim of Herpestes as ancestor to Protictitherium on this bases alone however while Herpestes was a variety of mongoose, Protictitherium is a variety of Hyena.

    Reference: The Hyena Pages -- Hyena Evolution

    • Plioviverrops orbignyi (& 3 closely related species)

    Curiously no epoch is given for Plioviverropsi, however Plioviverrops was a variety of Hyena.

    Reference: The Hyena Pages -- Hyena Evolution

    • Tungurictis spocki, a mid-Miocene fox-sized hyenid. Truly hyena-like ear capsule.

    Tungurictis was a variety of Hyena.

    Reference: The Hyena Pages -- Hyena Evolution

    • Ictitherium viverrinum (& 6 closely related species)

    Ictitherium viverrinum was a variety of Hyena.

    Reference: The Hyena Pages -- Hyena Evolution

    • Thalassictis robusta (& 5 other spp.)

    There is no independent information on Thalassictis.

    • Hyaenotherium wongii

    There is no independent information on Hyaenotherium.

    • Miohyaenotherium bessarabicum

    There is no independent information on Miohyaenotherium.

    • Hyaenictitherium hyaenoides (& 3 other spp.)

    It seems that Hyaenictitherium was a variety of the Hyena.

    Reference: Hyaenictitherium:

    • Palinhyaena reperta

    'Palinhyaena was a variety of Hyena.

    Reference: The Hyena Pages -- Hyena Evolution

    • Ikelohyaena abronia

    Ikelohyaena was a variety of Hyena.

    Reference: The Hyena Pages -- Hyena Evolution

    • Belbus beaumonti

    Belbus was a variety of Hyena.

    Reference: The Hyena Pages -- Hyena Evolution

    • Leecyaena lycyaenoides (& 1 other) We're now in thePliocene.

    Leecyaena was a variety of Hyena.

    Reference: The Hyena Pages -- Hyena Evolution

    • Parahyaena brunnea

    Parahyaena is still alive and is a variety of Hyena.

    Reference: Guides: Brown Hyena

    • Hyaena hyaena.
    • Hyaena brunnea.

    Being genus Hyaena these are clearly varieties of Hyena.

    • Pliocrocuta perrieri

    Pliocrocuta was a variety of Hyena.

    Reference: Pliocrocuta perrieri latidens GERAADS, 1997

    • Pachycrocuta brevirostris (& 1 other)

    Pachycrocuta was a variety of Hyena.

    Reference: Pachycrocuta

    • Adcrocuta eximia, which split into: Crocuta crocuta (the modern spotted hyena), C. sivalensis, and C. dietrichi.

    Adcrocuta was a variety of Hyena.

    Reference: The Hyena Pages -- Hyena Evolution

    Crocuta is a variety of Hyena.

    Reference: Spotted Hyena

    So were is the evidence. Of the animals in this list, for which there was sufficient information to learn any thing about. One is a mongoose, and the rest of them are varieties of Hyena and there is no evidence of a link between the Hyenas and mongoose.

    Species-species

    Species-species transitions among carnivores:

    These are just examples of variation within different kinds of animals.

    Conclusion

    The lists on this page only show variety with in various kinds of animals, with no indication of transition between these kinds.

    See Also