Amazing Evidence for Evolution in the Predecessors of Whales!

(George Brooks) #1

Amazing Evidence for Evolution in the Predecessors of Whales!
This is a wonderful posting that deserves to be preserved as its own thread!

Continuing the discussion from Is it dangerous to teach evolutionary theory to children?:
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Posting by @Chris_Falter:

Hi Greg,

Thanks for the gracious reply in a different post. Yes, we had the privilege of honoring our God and King this morning. He was there in His Word, in His Spirit, and in His body.

Grog writes:
“A partially formed blow hole passage is of no use to the whale to even scale it on the natural selection cycle…
Here I think you are not fully familiar with a branch of science, this time about biology. Did you know these facts?”

(1) Whale embryos have 2 nostrils in the usual location for mammalian embryos, at the tip of the snout. As the baby whale develops inside the mother whale, the nostrils move toward the top of the head. The bottom row of images demonstrate this happening in the various embryonic stages of a whale:

In some species of whales, the odontocetes or toothed whales, they merge to form a single blowhole. In others, the baleen whales, they remain separate, and the adult whale has a pair of blowholes.

(2) When paleontologists examine the fossilized skulls of cetaceans, they observe a gradual movement of nostrils toward the top of the head. Here is a summary of what they have found:

(3) As points 1 and 2 demonstrate, biologists and paleontologists are not relying on a single skull from 60 million years ago as evidence of the evolution history of whales. They have enormous amounts of data that can be classified in nine different lines of evidence. That National Geographic video did not have the goal of discussing all of the evidence behind that evolution; the goal of the video was to discuss the one fossilized skull from 60 million years ago. So I understand how you might have gained the wrong impression.

To give you a better understanding of all of the evidence, I offer you a link to a discussion of the nine different lines of evidence.

Again, that is not nine pieces of evidence, but nine lines of evidence. Each line has a very large body of evidence.

If you have any questions about the nine lines, feel free to ask more questions. I am not an expert on cetacean evolution, but I would be happy to help dig up answers to any questions you might have.

Grog writes:
“The passage in 2 Pet I do not interpret as adding to our faith items like scientific knowledge. Instead, faith in some people can be weak and it can be strong in others and Biblical type of faith is ALWAYS defined upon the objective truths around God, His promises and all that is told us by His spokesmen. Show me where you see different?”

I see no indication that the apostle Peter limited knowledge to just one kind of knowledge, and not the whole realm of knowledge. I think you are making an assumption about the passage that is not there. Certainly knowledge would include theological knowledge, but why would it not include knowledge about the creation God made, or even knowledge about transistors, and history, and literature? So I invite you to show me where I might have overlooked, perhaps in the verse before or the verse after, an indication from the apostle Peter that he was only (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) speaking of a narrowly limited type of knowledge, and not the whole realm of knowledge.

Chris Falter

(George Brooks) #2

This is the link mentioned towards the end of the OP… an excellent read in and of itself…

The Origin of Whales and the Power of Independent Evidence
by Raymond Sutera
Copyright © 2001

[posted: August 10, 2001]

This article originally appeared in Reports of the National Center for Science Education,
a publication of The National Center for Science Education.

"How do you convince a creationist that a fossil is a transitional fossil? Give up? It is a trick question. You cannot do it. There is no convincing someone who has his mind made up already. But sometimes, it is even worse.

Sometimes, when you point out a fossil that falls into the middle of a gap and is a superb morphological and chronological intermediate, you are met with the response:

“Well, now you have two gaps where you only had one before! You are losing ground!”

(Phil) #3

Great article. I was fascinated to learn of how the maxillary bones moved back, essentially elongating the face with the nose moving back as the mechanism for the blowhole moving to the top of skull.

(Stephen Matheson) #4

More cool stuff on this topic.

Molecular evolution tracks macroevolutionary transitions in Cetacea

•Cetacea (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) is a model group for investigating the molecular signature of macroevolutionary transitions.
•Recent research has documented the remarkable convergence between echolocating bats and odontocetes across six genes related to auditory physiology.
•Cetaceans are a premier model of wholesale sensory evolution, in which anatomical changes related to sensory perception dovetail nicely with molecular evolutionary patterns, including the pseudogenization of some visual opsins, olfactory receptors, vomeronasal receptors, and taste receptors.
•Modifications in myoglobin also show that the net surface charge of myoglobin in cetaceans correlates with depth of dive, and these changes have also occurred in other aquatic lineages, such as pinnipeds.

(system) #5

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