Several years ago, scientists discovered Tiktaalik roseae, a fossil fish whose physical characteristics are especially important to evolutionary biology because many of them are the same as tetrapods, or four-legged animals.
Tiktaalik is just the sort of so-called transitional creature that creationists are constantly demanding. Neil Shubin, one of the University of Chicago researchers who discovered the fossil in Canada, calls it a "fish with a wrist."
Behold Counselor Luskin, attempting to critique Prof. Shubin's description of some features of Tiktaalik's skeleton:
Shubin et al.: “The intermedium and ulnare of Tiktaalik have homologues to eponymous wrist bones of tetrapods with which they share similar positions and articular relations.” (Note: I have labeled the intermedium and ulnare of Tiktaalik in the diagram below.)Yes indeed, those wrist bone names would seem appropriate, wouldn't they, Counselor? To be technical and scientific.
Translation: OK, then exactly which “wrist bones of tetrapods” are Tiktaalik’s bones homologous to? Shubin doesn’t say. This is a technical scientific paper, so a few corresponding “wrist bone”-names from tetrapods would seem appropriate. But Shubin never gives any.
Wild guess here but that's probably why Prof. Shubin used the word "eponymous," which means "having the same name as." So Shubin already told Casey Luskin the names of the tetrapod bones before Luskin even asked: the intermedium and the ulnare. And the eponymous Tiktaalik bones are ... the intermedium and the ulnare.
Welcome to the world of "intelligent design theory" scholarship.
No wonder they call them IDiots.
h/t Carl Zimmer.