Even better than using the median instead of the mean

A proscription on all transitional forms would make it far easier to load the Ark—it would have been empty!

P.S. If you’re completely baffled by the title, it refers to Woodmorappe’s infamous statistical error: calculating the feasibility of Noah’s Ark by estimating average animal size using the median instead of the mean.

1. says

Hilarious! Bust-a-gut, good solid wisdom. Right up there with Gary Larson’s takes on the Ark — “So much for the unicorns. From now on, all predators are confined to C deck”, etc.

2. Shygetz says

P.S. If you’re completely baffled by the title, it refers to Woodmorappe’s infamous statistical error: calculating the feasibility of Noah’s Ark by estimating average animal size using the median instead of the mean.

Does it really count as an error if you do it on purpose? I have heard of people using the mean when they should be using the median out of simple ignorance or habit. But who accidentally uses a median?

3. says

Wouldn’t an organism from the end of a line of species that became extinct not be a transitional form?

4. says

I just got here to link to this cartoon — the penalty of being on dialup!

(Please note the wonderful comment in the corner!)

5. Rocky says

I’m not a biologist, so forgive if I ask a silly oversimplification. In reality, wouldn’t most species be a transitional form, with possibly many lost species in between, to another animal?

6. Scott Simmons says

Yes, they would, except for the lineages that go extinct without leaving any descendants. Hence, Dr. Meyers’ comment about the ark being empty …

7. says

The best bit is in the margin.

“Let’s go hide in the fossil record.”

Wonderful comic.

8. says

But the median is so useful! I mean, if you can’t fit all of the brontosauruses and blue whales and giant squid on Ye Arke, just collect a thimblefull of bacteria, viruses, and prions, and presto! n * median_volume becomes much smaller, and you can fit them all in with room to spare!

9. says

“Two teredo? Check. Two woodworm? Check.”

10. Steff Z says

O, Teredo!
They’re my favorite clams.
with teeth.

(see, for example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shipworm )

Not a good thing to bring on your ark,
unless you’re trying to bring down the median time required for animal care.
“Hey! we can just stick these guys on the *outside* of the ship! They’ll take care of *themselves*!”

11. Graculus says

What I always wondered is where did they stick all the diseases? I mean., how did Noah and Co survive Ebola, Marsburg, Dengue, Yellow Fever, Cholera, Thyphus, Plague, hyphilis, Gonorrhea, HIV, Polio, Smallpox, …..

How many hundreds of icky diseases must each human have had?

And then there are the animal diseases….