Scientists find 'oldest human ancestor'


Researchers have discovered the earliest known ancestor of humans - along with a vast range of other species.
They say that fossilised traces of the 540-million-year-old creature are “exquisitely well preserved”.
The microscopic sea animal is the earliest known step on the evolutionary path that led to fish and - eventually - to humans.


Humans didn’t ‘evolve from fish’.

We are UNIQUE.




Of all the creatures that evolved from fish, we are the only humans. Even with evolution we are unique.


In your opinion - which you are entitled to.


The anti science tone on this forum makes me sad. I love reading books about science and evolution. The Red Queen and Your Inner Fish are both excellent.


What evidence is there that this species was not a dead end.

I don’t like tabloid headlines for scientific discoveries. I wonder if this is a BBC headline or if they got it from somewhere else.

If science is going to remain respectable it has to be respected by people and not twisted for political or religious one upsmanship.


But actually it’s not really “tabloid news”, because there’s a link to the science journal Nature in the BBC piece, and the source article is technical to the point of being virtually indecipherable.


It must be an American thing…Evangelical/Puritan influence in your history. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a Catholic priest who didn’t accept modern biology and geology. As I’ve said many times before on this forum…

  1. Popes going back to Pius XII have seen no conflict between biological evolution and the faith.
  2. St. John Paul II more or less endorsed modern theories of biological evolution in his address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (
  3. Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict, in his commentary on Genesis referred to the common descent of all living creatures, including man, a “virtual certainty”.

The Church accepts modern science. We aren’t scared of it. We are not Evangelicals. I thought I had escape this sort of anti-intellectualism when I converted to Catholicism…but conservative American Catholicism seems to be in its own world in some areas…and this is one of them.


True. We can’t be certain that this particular species eventually evolved into more complex animals. It would perhaps be better to say that this is the earliest potential link we’ve found to date.


Why? Some people don’t like science for the same reason they don’t like math. And others don’t like speculative, historical biology because it’s so NON-mathematical.

It takes all kinds.


I think the title misleads by over-reaching. Apparently they have found fossil evidence of an early animal, plausibly an ancestor of vertebrates and some other animal families (starfish and sea urchins). When I first saw the article on BBC, I was misled by its title but not unhappy with the report itself.


People don’t like math because it’s difficult to understand. Science is a process for determining truth. You can not like it because you don’t understand it but it has worked so well I can’t imagine saying that the scientific method is wrong. It has a stellar track record.


There’s a difference between not liking a subject and arguing against every new finding. I don’t like physics, but I don’t go around calling physics researchers liars or promoters of an insidious agenda.


You are right. It was a tabloid headline tacked on to an otherwise reputable article.


I’ve noticed that, too. I don’t understand it. Among Catholics I know, the most anti-science ones are also the quickest to embrace unapproved private revelations & conspiracy theories.


There’s even a group of Catholics who maintain the world is flat. They have a website dedicated to it. Mind you, that’s not much of jump if you’ve already rejected geology, biology, cosmology for a literal interpretation of the first few chapters of Genesis. Other than Evangelical influence I don’t know where it comes from… the Catechism explicitly teaches that Genesis uses **figurative **language to describe primordial events.


Even among American Conservative Catholicism, the anti-evolution view is a minority view, so I would not get too worried about it.


Catholics have never maintained the earth was flat. Western society has known the earth was roughly spherical for at least 2,500 years, long before Jesus was incarnated.

Geology was largely started by the Catholic Bishop Nicolas Steno, Micro-biology by the Catholic apologist Louis Pasteur, Cosmology with the Catholic priest Georges Lemaitre and the scientific method was first codified by a Catholic month Francis Bacon.

That many people believe the science of Global Warming has been politicised and some (few) others criticise evolution is not a rejection of science.

By the way the father of genetics is also a Catholic monk, Gregor Mendel, and the first 3 laws of genetics are named after him.

Catholics do not reject something that is truth and what they played such a large role in developing, funding and bringing to the world.


No one is attempting to tie the denial of Global Warming to Catholicism, so citing all these fine Catholic scientists is no defense. Global Warming denial is much more tied to conservative political ideology. So if you want to refute that claim, you should look for a long list of ground-breaking scientists who are also staunch conservatives. Find that list and I will be impressed.

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