back to article Boffins find RAT-SIZED bug-muncher links man to beast

The missing link between man and beast is a ancient rat-like creature that preceded all placental mammals - a group that encompasses both whales and humans. Artist's rendering of placental mammal ancestor Boffins have figured out that primates and dinosaurs did not co-exist, as the mammal ancestors didn't start …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    This is all nonsense!

    God made us all in the year 0000 and nothing else. If you don't believe you will be castigated and shunned by all.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Well the year 0000* doesn't exist, so that kinda makes sense.

      * Unless you are using Astronomical year numbering.

    2. Jason Hindle Silver badge

      It's worse that that.....

      You'll be darned to heck!

      1. Gavin King

        Re: It's worse that that.....

        Goodness me --- watch your language! Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's worse that that.....

          "Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?"

          Yeah and I've kissed yo momma with it too!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "0000" was the birth of Jesus - and there were adults around at the time!

      Nope, I think these delusionalists think the world is 6000 years old

  2. James O'Shea


    So that's where Donny trump got whatever it is that's on his head.

    1. Euripides Pants

      Re: hmmm

      Actually, that's the alien symbiote controlling him.

  3. proto-robbie


    I'm used to reading Unix man pages and Oracle documentation, but hats off to these paleontologists for raising gobbledegook to entirely new levels.

  4. DJV Silver badge


    We're all descended from Larry Ellison weaselly lookalikes - the shame!

  5. John 110
    Paris Hilton


    "...Boffins have figured out that primates and dinosaurs did not co-exist..."

    But, Rachel Welsh......

    1. IronSteve

      Re: But...


      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Re: But...


  6. Johnny Canuck


    What did that critter evolve from - thin air? There had to be something a little bit less mammalian for that to evolve from - maybe some kind of monotreme-like critter.

    1. Grikath

      Re: So,,,

      It didn't evolve from thin air, nor does this research suggest so. It shows that our "genetic record" shows independent from palaeoarcheology that there was a *massive* pinch in genetic diversity just after the dinosaurs went extinct, and that all placental mammals in existence nowadays are most likely descended from a single species that happened to survive that particularly brutal mass-extinction.

      It is not unlike hunting down your family tree just mapping the male line: Eventually you will find that someone used the name first, and as such is your first ancestor. That doesn't mean he was alone in the world, and appeared out of thin air. It simply means there was an event at that time that caused that particular family name to come into existence.

  7. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  8. Lars Silver badge

    Good with me

    Better than some replicating cell. Reminds of some relatives indeed. And thanks again for the previous messages. Life could be worse.

  9. Turtle

    No peaceful co-existence...

    "Boffins have figured out that primates and dinosaurs did not co-exist..."

    This is presented in the story as though boffins have figured this out just recently whereas in fact, it was figured out decades ago.

    1. Old Handle

      Re: No peaceful co-existence...

      Yeah... This was not exactly masterpiece of scientific reporting.

    2. Lars Silver badge

      Re: No peaceful co-existence...

      Did you forget Sarah Palin, with her status in the GOP, you are wrong forever.

      "figured out decades ago" true, but if we never repeat was was figured out decades ago we would soon be back in the stone ages again. Think of all the children. 2 + 2 = 4 why repeat such an obvious thing.

      Trying to be a bit serious, however, this report only tries to add support, scientific support, If you like, to what we have, based on archeology.

      What makes me happy, however, is that those poor souls, who had such a problem in their soul with the idea that we are ancestors to apes, can now relax (for ever, I hope).

      1. hplasm

        Re: No peaceful co-existence...

        Decendants of Apes perhaps, but this find explains the origins of all the Ratbois that seem to flock around here...

      2. P. Lee

        Re: No peaceful co-existence...

        Evolution and Maths are not anywhere in the same league of scientific thinking.

        The point about 2+2 is that you get the same result, no matter the scenario in which you make the calculation. Maths is repeatable and predictable, so you can use that property in many disciplines.

        Evolution (as the article notes), is non-repeatable and its based on randomness. That means that 2+2 doesn't exist in evolution. Unlike 2+2=5, evolution isn't falsifiable because you can never repeat the operation. The "Tree of Life" provides no tools for determining from the roots what will appear closer to the leaves and no tools for determining what was at the roots from looking at the leaves.

        I'm not sure what the point of calling evolution "science" is. In physics you can calculate how much force you need to move a lever. You can use the same calculation to determine the result from lever-usage in a wide variety of applications. In chemistry you can blow things up by mixing particular chemicals and with biology you can see what happens when you run an electric current through frogs legs, or how to do a quadruple heart-bypass. I'm not sure how evolution helps us, perhaps it is a "leaf" on the "Tree of Science." Massive numbers of variations on theories, few predictable results... sounds as scientific as psychology to me!

        I understand that reading out the paper from the article in a British school may now be illegal, since it is the law that you must teach that evolution is "well evidenced" and the paper points out that the fossils are missing. I'm not sure if Maths benefits from an actual law that says that Pythagoras' theorem is true or if students are allowed to work out the proof for themselves. In my day, "proof by contradiction" was an established procedure, but it appears that its now illegal to even consider such things. This isn't science, this is religion.

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    1 000 000 BC *not* a documentary.

    Who'd have thought it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1 000 000 BC *not* a documentary.

      But that's not all bad. It means that Raquel Welch isn't tied down with Torg the caveman or whatever his name is....

  11. Anonymous Coward

    "Boffins have figured out that primates and dinosaurs did not co-exist,"

    See people, co-existing side by side with vegetarian tyranasaurus rex dinosaurs......

    It's a brilliant bullshit scam.


    Among its exhibits, the museum features life-size dinosaur models, over 80 of them animatronic (animated and motion-sensitive). Model dinosaurs are depicted in the Garden of Eden, many of them side-by-side with human figures.[34] In one exhibit, a Triceratops and a Stegosaurus are shown aboard a scale model of Noah's Ark.[1][35]

    Satan: "Damn - they forgot to invent me."

    1. P. Lee

      Re: "Boffins have figured out that primates and dinosaurs did not co-exist,"

      I take it you didn't read the actual article.

      That's a rat-like thing that "scampers," a small vertebrate which eats insects, that you are looking at in the pictures. I'd be somewhat surprised if they didn't find that in the fossil record.

      Oh wait, they *didn't* find it in the fossil record. In fact, they said that although the fossil record for their area is relatively good, it doesn't support the hypothesis and expectations of more "scientific" methods, so they are going to use "big data" to create an animal. It probably took them more than 6 days, but they didn't say.

      Contrary to what el reg says, the notes (fig 2 for tl;dr) make it quite clear that they made it all up. The skeleton, the reproductive system, the brain in the diagrams are all fake.

      You may wish to check the supports for your mockery before, er, going out on a limb...

      *Is "fake" a bit harsh? Ok, the diagrams and the creature is real, but only in the same way that the tall, blue aliens on Pandora are real.

  12. Mintyboy

    Jeremy Kyle Guests

    So thats where they all come from .....

    << Ok I'll get it

  13. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    "You dirty rat"

    Suddenly, all becomes clear...

  14. Steven Roper
    Thumb Up

    The thing I find most fascinating about evolution

    is this: I look at my Dad and see a man similar to myself. Then there's his father - my grandfather, who was a sergeant-major and tank commander in North Africa in WWII. Then his father, who was a coal miner who lived in Wales.

    And so on, and so on, following father to father, back through the centuries. Ask yourself this: Who was your direct line ancestor at the time of Shakespeare? Or the time of William the Conqueror? Charlemagne? Julius Caesar? Hammurabi? During the times of each of these historical figures, there existed a man who had a son who had a son which eventually led directly to me. Who was he? What was he like? What did he do with his life? These are questions we've all asked at some point in our lives.

    Now keep going back - into the time of the Cro-Magnons, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Australopithecus. 3 million years ago, there existed a hominid ape who had a son who had a son which eventually led directly to me.

    Finally, as we go back through the millions of years, this patrilineal trail leads to completely non-human creatures - cynodonts like the "ratlike" creature described in the article, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and finally stromatolites and pond slime. Somewhere in Earth's distant past, billions of years ago in the warm salty waters of the Proterozoic, there existed a stromatolite who had an offspring who had an offspring which eventually led directly to me.

    I'd love to travel back in time and meet one of these creatures and say to it, "Hi great-something-granddad, how's the nesting these days?" The idea that the vast majority of my lineage, from the first organisms on Earth, is non-human, is something I find absolutely fascinating.

    It makes me wonder: At what point did my ancestors "become" human - human enough for, say, a modern woman, to mate with them and conceive a child? Obviously this wouldn't be possible with an australopithecine man-ape, most likely not even with H. erectus or habilis, so at what point would it become possible?

    It leads to an interesting paradox; evolution occurs so slowly that, if you can mate with the offspring, you can mate with the parent - yet at some time in the past, there existed an ancestor with whom mating would no longer produce offspring. Where does this "break" occur?

    1. Charles Manning

      Those caught up in pondering...

      People often think of evolution acting gradually and linearly. I really does not happen that way at all.

      One of the interesting things that came out of genetic algorithms (eg. see at 8:08) is that the evolution tends to work in "ages" during which there is slow evolution and transition between the ages during which there is fast evolution.

      During an 'age" you could likely reproduce with a near relative (eg. you could happily reproduce with someone from 5000 years - 250 generations - back), but at the transitions you would not be able to go back so far (eg perhaps only 20 or 50 generations).

    2. P. Lee

      Re: The thing I find most fascinating about evolution

      My understanding is that the empirical evidence suggests the break is so close as to pretty much preclude inter-species mating.

      The offspring from a male donkey and female horse is sterile. Sheep and goats don't really work either.

      Lions and tigers can (in a zoo due to habitat), but they are both big cats.

      1. cortland

        Re: The thing I find most fascinating about evolution

        I recall reading that species biologists draw the species line not at species that >cannot< reproduce with each other, but at species that *do not* reproduce with each other.

        Which explains some species of fanatics, bigots ... and politicians.

  15. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Primates and dinosaurs did not coexist?!!

    I shall never be able to watch Land of the Lost Again.

    Of course, I was never able to watch it prior to reading this article, either.

    On another note: I quite like the phrase "radiation of placentals". The next time someone asks me how I acquired my superpowers, I'll tell 'em I was exposed to unsafe levels of placental-mammal radiation.

  16. Scrumble


    I still think it was a bad idea coming down from the trees.

  17. YetAnotherBob

    Article Has Problems

    So, the ancestor of all placental mammals arose around 36 Million Years after the end of the dinosaurs. Lets see now. dinosaurs ended around 65 Million years ago. 65-36 = 29 Million Years ago for the common ancestor of all placental mammals. That puts it at roughly the same time as the origins of the horse, the elephant and the whales in the fossil record. Primate skeletons that date to roughly 60 Million years ago have been found. Were these not then placental mammals?

    Nope, sorry, don't buy it. Something is wrong with their model. Perhaps they are using the same model that the climate people are are using. You know, the Hockey Stick one that proves we all cooked to death last year.

    If their model is true, what am I to make of the fossil teeth of rats and opossums that are found in layers with dinosaurs? Perhaps they were sneaked in by the folks in the Kentucky museum?

    This whole fascination with computer models and reliance on them to the exclusion of evidence is very troubling for me. I remember the late 1960s when power company employees routinely told customers with errors on their bills that 'Computers don't make mistakes'. We learned that in reality computers make every mistake they are told to make.

    The folks who did this are in error. Time to find the error in the program. Am I the only one who finds debugging a real pain?

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