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Activity: critical analysis of Archaeopteryx

Some scientists consider Archaeopteryx to be a transitional fossil between dinosaurs and birds. Other scientists disagree. Below are two arguments given by scientists to support their interpretation that Archaeopteryx is not a transitional fossil between dinosaurs and birds. For each of these arguments, state whether the scientists are questioning the DATA, or the CONCLUSIONS about the Archaeopteryx fossil.

  1. Watkins, Hoyle, Wickramasinghe, Watkins, Rabilizirov and Spetner (1985) published an article where they claimed that the feather impressions of Archaeopteryx were forged. They provide evidence suggesting that chicken feathers were pressed into a cement mix, and these were applied over dinosaur fossils: Watkins, R.S., Fred Hoyle, N.C. Wickramasinghe, J. Watkins, R. Rabilizirov, andL.M. Spetner (1985), “ Archaeopteryx : A Photographic Study,” British Journal of Photography, 132:264-266, March 8.

    These scientists are questioning the DATA / CONCLUSIONS made by other scientists about Archaeopteryx .

  2. Some scientists argue that even if the feathers on Archaeopteryx were not forged, there is no evidence that the fossil is transitional between reptiles and birds, since the fossil is compatible with the fossil of a bird.

    These scientists are questioning the DATA / CONCLUSIONS made by other scientists about Archaeopteryx .

  3. Some scientists argue that birds have been found in younger rocks than the rocks in which Archaeopteryx was found, and so Archaeopteryx cannot be the ancestor to birds.

    These scientists are questioning the DATA / CONCLUSIONS made by other scientists about Archaeopteryx .

  1. Data
  2. Conclusions
  3. Conclusions

In 1938, an East London fisherman caught a deep-sea fish he had never seen, so it was taken to the East London museum, where it was identified as a coelacanthby Professor JLB Smith and his assistant, Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer. This caused an international uproar, because the fish was previously known only fromfossils and had been believed to be extinct. People were amazed that fossil coelacanth found in rock strata 70 –350 million years old could look exactly like the large blue fish before their eyes! This started a search for more specimens and 14 years later, another one was caught off the Comoro Islands inthe Indian Ocean, north of Madagascar and more have been found since, including in deep crevices at St. Lucia in northern KZN.

Coelacanth display
Madge Courtenay-Latimer and the coelacanth

Scientists agree that the coelacanth is probably the oldest living vertebrate and they are thought to be closely related to the freshwater fish that is seenas the ancestor of all land animals. The coelacanth’s internal organs are in many ways similar to those of amphibians, which are the earliest life formsto have colonized land. Unlike amphibians, its spine is supported by a permanent notochord, a cartilage and oil tube – it never develops a bony vertebral column like other fish do. The body is lobe-finned, not ray-finned like modern fish,although it is not known to “walk” on the ocean floor. Many scientists had thought that the coelacanth’s fins looked like“legs” (it was referred to as ‘old four legs’) and that it was in the process of developing limbs for use on land, but here was aspecimen, millions of years later, that still had the same fin structure. Its nostrils are also not blind-ending as in fish; they open into the mouth and can be used for breathing.


The modern coelacanth-finding throws doubt on an assumption palaeontologists use when reasoning about what the fossil record says about extinctions.
  1. What is the assumption the modern coelacanth-finding throws doubt on?
  2. How does the modern coelacanth-finding throw doubt on this assumption ?
An extinction event can be recognised by fossils of that type not being found in higher (i.e. younger) rock. Although no coelacanth fossils are found in rock younger than that assumed to be100 million years old, coelacanths are not extinct: they are alive today (extant).

Questions & Answers

what is math number
Tric Reply
x-2y+3z=-3 2x-y+z=7 -x+3y-z=6
Sidiki Reply
Need help solving this problem (2/7)^-2
Simone Reply
what is the coefficient of -4×
Mehri Reply
the operation * is x * y =x + y/ 1+(x × y) show if the operation is commutative if x × y is not equal to -1
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An investment account was opened with an initial deposit of $9,600 and earns 7.4% interest, compounded continuously. How much will the account be worth after 15 years?
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lim x to infinity e^1-e^-1/log(1+x)
given eccentricity and a point find the equiation
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12, 17, 22.... 25th term
Alexandra Reply
12, 17, 22.... 25th term
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Absolutely, for me. My problems with math started in First grade...involving a nun Sister Anastasia, bad vision, talking & getting expelled from Catholic school. When it comes to math I just can't focus and all I can hear is our family silverware banging and clanging on the pink Formica table.
I'm 13 and I understand it great
I am 1 year old but I can do it! 1+1=2 proof very hard for me though.
Not really they are just easy concepts which can be understood if you have great basics. I am 14 I understood them easily.
hi vedant can u help me with some assignments
find the 15th term of the geometric sequince whose first is 18 and last term of 387
Jerwin Reply
I know this work
The given of f(x=x-2. then what is the value of this f(3) 5f(x+1)
virgelyn Reply
hmm well what is the answer
If f(x) = x-2 then, f(3) when 5f(x+1) 5((3-2)+1) 5(1+1) 5(2) 10
how do they get the third part x = (32)5/4
kinnecy Reply
make 5/4 into a mixed number, make that a decimal, and then multiply 32 by the decimal 5/4 turns out to be
can someone help me with some logarithmic and exponential equations.
Jeffrey Reply
sure. what is your question?
okay, so you have 6 raised to the power of 2. what is that part of your answer
I don't understand what the A with approx sign and the boxed x mean
it think it's written 20/(X-6)^2 so it's 20 divided by X-6 squared
I'm not sure why it wrote it the other way
I got X =-6
ok. so take the square root of both sides, now you have plus or minus the square root of 20= x-6
oops. ignore that.
so you not have an equal sign anywhere in the original equation?
is it a question of log
I rally confuse this number And equations too I need exactly help
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Commplementary angles
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A soccer field is a rectangle 130 meters wide and 110 meters long. The coach asks players to run from one corner to the other corner diagonally across. What is that distance, to the nearest tenths place.
Kimberly Reply
Jeannette has $5 and $10 bills in her wallet. The number of fives is three more than six times the number of tens. Let t represent the number of tens. Write an expression for the number of fives.
August Reply
What is the expressiin for seven less than four times the number of nickels
Leonardo Reply
How do i figure this problem out.
how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
why surface tension is zero at critical temperature
I think if critical temperature denote high temperature then a liquid stats boils that time the water stats to evaporate so some moles of h2o to up and due to high temp the bonding break they have low density so it can be a reason
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
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Comment on the ozone depletion over the period of 1982 to 1996
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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula: life sciences grade 10. OpenStax CNX. Apr 11, 2012 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11410/1.3
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