Beware: Old/bad Arguments
Posted 09 August 2012 - 08:29 PM
Posted 11 August 2012 - 07:04 PM
There never has been any taxon Equus nevadensis named in the literature, at least as far as I can find. There was an Equus nevadanus named by Oliver Perry Hay in 1927 based on a section of teeth found in Nevada (erroneously reported as E. nevadensis by Barber). Melissa Winans, in her 1985 Ph.D. dissertation, relegates Equus nevadanus to the status of nomen dubium (page 138). Equus occidentalis, literally "Western Horse", with the type specimen being an isolated tooth (a common problem in the history of horse taxonomy), was referred to Equus mexicanus by Winans in 1985, and she subsequently referred E. mexicanus to Equus laurentius in 1989. Eohippus, once an obsolete junior synonym of Hyracotherium, but now revived in the form of Eohippus angustidens (see Froehlich, David Jefferson, 2002, "Quo Vadis Eohippus..." Zoological Journal of the Linnaen Society 134:141-256), is the classic "primitive" early Eocene horse, and finding one in the same strata as Equus would certainly upset the apple cart of the story of horse evolution.
The web sites that actually do give a reference for the claim always give either Francis Hitching's 1982 book "the Neck of the Giraffe", or Randy Wysong's 1976 book "The Creation-Evolution Controversy".
Hitching, in a blocked out panel, states "Eohippus fossils have been found in surface strata, along side two modern horses, Equus nevadensis and Equus occidentalis." Hitching doesn't give a basis for the claim, but in his bibliography you do find Randy Wysong's book "The Creation-Evolution Controversy."
Wysong, on page 301 of my 2003 reprint, states "Two modern type horses, Equus nevadensis and Equus occidentalis, have been found in the same geological strata as Eohippus. Thus we have modern day type horses grazing side by side with their precursors." Given the obscurity of Equus nevadensis, and given the juxtaposition of all three names, most likely this is where Hitching got his claim. Being an old-earther, he probably inferred that it was surface strata. However, Wysong doesn't give a reference for the claim either. Nevertheless, if you look at the references he uses throughout the chapter, you'll find a book by an H. Rimmer titled "The Theory of Evolution and the Facts of Science" originally published in 1935 (shortly after Hay named Equus nevadanus).
Thanks to Amazon, I was able to obtain a copy of a 1960 reprint of Harry Rimmer's book, and, even allowing for when it was written, it is probably the most atrocious apologetic I have read. Amidst the leaps in logic, arguments from incredulity, emotional appeals, conspiracy innuendoes, biased language (he continually refers to Eohippus as "rodent-like"), he also makes statements that are just plain false. For example, modern Equus has "splint bones" formed from reduced metacarpals/metatarsals (collectively referred to as metapodials) II and IV. These bones support the carpus and tarsus, and provide attachment points for ligaments, but taper to a point rather than developing into toes as is the case with three-toed horses. On page 105 Rimmer claims that Eohippus "with all of its side toes still functioning has these splint bones as well!" I am at a loss as to how he came up with that claim. The only guess I can hazard is that he looked at a mounted skeleton and, being ignorant of comparative anatomy, mistook the slender ulna on the front limb and slender fibula on the hind limb for "splint bones." Anyway, on page 112, Rimmer claims that "there was a true horse eating grass side by side with the Eohippus that was just starting in to evolve into a horse," and specifically names Equus nevadensis and Equus occidentalis in the next paragraph as examples of that true horse. Again, given the fact that Rimmer also names all three taxa, given the similarity of Wysong's statement to that of Rimmer, and given the fact that Wysong uses Rimmer's book as a reference earlier in his chapter, it is most likely that's from where Wysong got his claim. However, nowhere does Rimmer state that they were found together in the same strata. Evidently Wysong jumped to that conlusion based on Rimmer's tortuous arguments. Rimmer doesn't explain the basis for his claim, and only after reading through his arguments several times do you begin to see that his reason for the claim is nothing more than the fact that all three are found as fossils (and therefore assumed by Rimmer to be contemporaneous). He even represents it as some conspiracy on the part of evolutionists to keep people from knowing that Equus is found as a fossil.
Unless someone can give a better basis for the claim than Hitching, Wysong, or Rimmer, and I'm all ears if you can , I suggest that it be dumped into the dustbin of old/bad arguments.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 11:32 AM
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