Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Big News

"Molecular biologists discover that Australian marsupials originated in South America." Wow, good job guys! Coming up soon, "molecular biologists discover whales are mammals, not fish." Closely followed by, "molecular biologists prove sea anemone is animal, not plant." Man, summer sucks for news. Makes one almost wish for a British big cat sighting....

[... and for any molecular biologist out there wondering why we paleontologists are all laughing at you, I suggest you go read about the Monito del Monte]


  1. To be fair, the terrible garbled press coverage doesn't *quite* accurately reflect the tone of the paper.

    And they do discuss Microbiotheria at some length. They even throw an, ahem, bone to us downtrodden paleobiologists:

    "Additional fossils from Australia or South America will shed more light on the early Australidelphian relationships and their biogeography."

    Admittedly that's a pretty throwaway sentence but at least they seem to recognize the potential utility of fossils, which is maybe better than most molecularists? Amusing too that they echo Darwin's "much light will be thrown" optimism about evolutionary psychology?

    Never thought I would be defending molecular biologists. weird.

  2. @ Neil - no, you're right; I was being unfair on the authors of that paper. The press coverage was terrible, though. It's a long time since anyone tried to argue that marsupials originated in Australia, which is what at least one press account was suggesting had been overturned.