F Rosa Rubicondior: Creationism in Crisis - Hippos Were Living Near Rome About Half a Million Years Before 'Creation Week'

Friday 24 November 2023

Creationism in Crisis - Hippos Were Living Near Rome About Half a Million Years Before 'Creation Week'

Modern Hippopotamus, Hippopotamus amphibius, present in Europe in the Pleistocene
Earliest known European common hippopotamus fossil reveals their Middle Pleistocene dispersal | EurekAlert!

One of the easiest predictions to make is that, in the next few days there will be more science papers casually refuting creationism, without the slightest intention of doing so on the part of the authors.

This is inevitable, of course, because creationism is so profoundly counter-factual that just about every fact is inconsistent with creationism, so, by merely revealing the facts, scientists refute creationism.

And today's example is the revelation that there were hippos living around Rome during the Pleistocene, about half a million years before creationist superstition says Earth was magicked up out of nothing in 'Creation week'. The amazing thing isn't that there were Hippos living near Rome half a million years ago, but the fact that there are grown adults who believe the creationist superstition of a 'Creation Week' 10,000 years ago, before which, there was nothing and nowhere for anything to happen in.

This news comes in the form of an open access paper in PLOS ONE by Beniamino Mecozzi of the Sapienza University of Rome, and colleagues, and a press release from PLoS:
The skull of Hippopotamus amphibius of Cava Montanari. Cranium in dorsal (A), ventral (B), right lateral (C), left lateral (D) and posterior (E) views. Mandible in occlusal (F) right lateral (G) and left lateral (H) views. Scale bar 10 cm.
Modern hippos first dispersed in Europe during the Middle Pleistocene, according to a study published November 22, 2023 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Beniamino Mecozzi of the Sapienza University of Rome and colleagues.

Modern hippos, Hippopotamus amphibius, arose from African ancestors during the Quaternary, a time when hippos were widespread in Europe. However, the details of the modern species’ origin and dispersal into Europe are unclear and highly debated. In this study, Mecozzi and colleagues provide new insights via analysis of a fossil hippo skull from the study area of Tor di Quinto in Rome. The skull of Tor di Quinto, currently housed at the Earth Science University Museum of Sapienza University of Rome, is among the most complete hippo specimens known from Pleistocene Europe, but its significance has been unclear due to uncertainties about its age and where exactly it was originally excavated. Following restoration of the skull in 2021, researchers were able to analyze the composition of sediments found within the skull cavities, revealing a match to the local Valle Guilia Formation, indicating a geologic age for this skull between 560,000-460,000 years old. Cranial and dental morphologies also confirmed the identity of this skull as the modern species Hippopotamus amphibius. This research reveals this skull to be the oldest known fossil of this modern hippo species in Europe. These results shed light on the history of hippos in Europe, reinforcing the hypothesis of an early dispersal during the Middle Pleistocene and bolstering broader understanding of the deep history of these large mammals. Hippos are highly influential species within modern and ancient ecosystems, and they are valuable indicators of past climate and environmental conditions. The authors add: “Restoring the mammal skeletons exposed at the University Museum of Earth Science, Terra, Sapienza University of Rome offers new data for old fossils. The multidisciplinary study of the skull from Cava Montanari (Roma) redefines the first dispersal of Hippopotamus amphibius in Europe.”

A skull of Hippopotamus recovered from the area of Tor di Quinto, within the urban area of Rome (central Italy) is here redescribed. Despite being one of the most complete specimens of hippopotamuses of the European Pleistocene, the Tor di Quinto skull did not attract much research interest, due to long-standing uncertainties on its provenance. This work begun in 2021, when the skull was restored, within a large renovation project on the vertebrate exposed at the Earth Science University Museum of Sapienza University of Rome. Original sediments were found inside the cranial and mandible cavities during the restoration work, which were sampled for petrographic analyses. By combining a review of the old paleontological, archeological and geological literature published during the 19th and 20th century on the Rome basin and the correlation of these new sedimentological and petrographic information with the lithostratigraphic and synthemic units of the national geological cartography, we clarify that the Hippopotamus skull was most likely to have been collected from a quarry called Cava Montanari, from a formation dated between 560 and 460 ka. Morphological and biometric analyses clearly support an attribution of the Cava Montanari specimen to the extant species Hippopotamus amphibius. The reassessment of the stratigraphic and geological data on Cava Montanari implies that the studied specimen is the earliest confirmed occurrence of Hippopotamus amphibius in the European fossil record.
Fig 1. Selected cranial and mandible remains of late Early to Late Pleistocene hippopotamuses from Europe.
1-108, skull from Collecurti in left lateral (a), ventral (b) and right lateral (c) views; 2—IQW 1991/23 (Mei 23 438), cranium of Untermassfeld in right lateral view (a); 3 -MPUR/V 1950, skull from Sant’Oreste in left lateral view (a); 4 -No catalogue number, mandible from Ortona in right lateral view (a); 5—MPUR/V 52, mandible from Vallinfreda in left lateral view (a); 6 -Crania from La Maglianella; 321, cranium in left lateral (a) and ventral (b) views; 322, cranium in right lateral (c) and occlusal (d) views; 601, skull in left lateral (e), occlusal (f) and right lateral (g) views; 7 -MG3665, hemimandible from Condeixa in right lateral view (a); 8 -Crania and mandibles from Barrington; D3980, skull, D13938 in right lateral view (a); D13938, cranium in left lateral view (b); D3975, mandible right lateral view (c). Images modified from [8, 9, 15, 16, 21, 124, 125]. Images are not in scale. Colors: light blue—Hippopotamus antiquus; light red—Hippopotamus amphibius.
Fig 2.
Location of the studied area of Tor di Quinto (A [modified by 100]-B [taken by USGS National MAP Viewer]. Sketches of the historical geological and topographic maps by [126] (C), [127] (D), [128] (E), and [35] (F). In the blue bounded square it is reported the location of the former military riding school (“Scuola di Equitazione”).
Fig 4. Geological sketch map of the middle and downstream Tiber River drainage basin (modified after [67]).
Location of the upstream and downstream modern and ancient Tiber River samples used for petrographic analysis are reported.
Fig 3.
Historical picture of the Tor di Quinto area from the archive of the Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA, A, B) and the same area today (taken by USGS National MAP Viewer, C) and from topographic maps by [127] (D).
Fig 6.
Geological map of the studied area (Tor di Quinto, Rome) after [35], with the location of the riding school (“Scuola d’Equitazione”), sampled outcrops, and the ancient quarry (A). Stratigraphic logs of the sample outcrops in this work (B). Chronostratigraphic scheme of the Geological Formation of the Rome basin (C).
Just another example of the history of life on Earth that occurred before creationists believe it existed.

Thank you for sharing!

submit to reddit

No comments :

Post a Comment

Obscene, threatening or obnoxious messages, preaching, abuse and spam will be removed, as will anything by known Internet trolls and stalkers, by known sock-puppet accounts and anything not connected with the post,

A claim made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Remember: your opinion is not an established fact unless corroborated.

Web Analytics