Evolution Icon Evolution
Intelligent Design Icon Intelligent Design

These Creatures Would Give Darwin Shivers

Evolution News

Darwin’s theory spawned a number of corollaries. As evolutionary biologists thought about natural selection, they reasoned about how it should operate, and made up some “laws” of evolution. But nature did the opposite of what they expected. Some illustrations follow.

The Giraffe

Both Lamarck and Darwin explained the long necks of giraffes according to their versions of evolution. The two men’s theories are often taught as distinctly different, but history shows that Darwin borrowed Lamarck’s ideas of inheritance of acquired characteristics more and more in later editions of his Origin of Species. His conversion to semi-Lamarckism was largely due to complaints by the biologists of his day that natural selection was inadequate to explain many features of the living world. But that’s old history, isn’t it? Haven’t biologists worked out the theory now?

The University of Bristol announces, “Giraffes surprise biologists yet again.” 

New research from the University of Bristol has highlighted how little we know about giraffe behaviour and ecology. [Emphasis added.]

Two corollaries of evolution have been falsified by a study published in the Journal of Zoology.

  1. “It is commonly accepted that group sizes of animals increase when there is a risk of predation, since larger group sizes reduce the risk of individuals being killed, and there are ‘many eyes’ to spot any potential predation risk.” Lead researcher Zoe Muller found that giraffe group size has nothing to do with the presence of predators. The results were “surprising,” the news item says. 
  2. “Habitat type had some effect on group size, but the main effect on group size was in the behaviour of adult females, who were found to be in smaller groups when they had calves. This is contrary to another popular belief that female giraffes form large groups to communally care for their young — this study … presents the first evidence to show that actually, the opposite is true.

Although this news does not mention evolution, Darwin’s theory would expect that environmental factors drove giraffe traits. This includes things like habitat, population size, and the threat of predators. Apparently the same environments produced very different behaviors for different animals, showing that natural selection is not really law-like at all.

Don’t you love it when Darwinians include everybody else when they make a mistake? “It is commonly accepted,” they say; did you accept that? It was “another popular belief,” they say. Did you believe that? We should base our beliefs on evidence, not evolutionary expectations.

The Ant

The journal Nature was astounded at the navigation skills of ants, writing, “Ants’ route-finding abilities put mapping software to shame.” Researchers at the University of Würzburg, the brief article says, experimented on the little insects and found that they seem to follow the proverb, “The best is enemy of the good.”

Faced with uneven terrain, ants often take the fastest, rather than the shortest, route to their destination….

Individual scout ants leading raiding parties of several hundred worker ants took the artificial paths on 59% of journeys to attack termites. These routes were longer in distance but demanded 35% less travel time, on average, than a hypothetical direct route through the grass. This is the first time individual scout ants have been documented making complex route calculations.

Who taught these insects with pinhead-size brains the ability to determine which routes are shortest and which are fastest?

Mantis Shrimp

This animal has become quite a star of science for several years now. With color vision better than that of humans, it is also the only animal with the ability to distinguish circularly polarized light. And it has one of the most powerful “hammers” for an animal its size, strong enough to break aquarium glass with a single blow. The University of Bristol reports that researchers there have been trying to understand why this creature moves its eyes so rapidly all the time. 

Mantis shrimp vision is extraordinary, both in terms of their colour vision and their ability to see the polarisation of light.

Not only this, but they have extremely mobile eyes that never seem to stop moving. While most animals keep eye movements to a minimum to avoid blur, mantis shrimp apparently go out of their way to move their eyes as much as possible.

Each eye is capable of independent rotation in all three degrees of rotational freedom; pitch (up-down), yaw (side-to-side) and roll (twisting about the eye-stalk).

How do they roll their eyes sideways without getting dizzy? And how do they coordinate the two eyes to get a clear view of their world? The scientists’ observations did not produce any clear answers:

“The mantis shrimp visual system seems entirely immune from any negative effects of rolling their eyes. Indeed, it appears as though rolling has absolutely no effect on their perception of space at all: up is still up, even when their eyes have rolled completely sideways. This is unprecedented in the animal kingdom.

The Octopus

Octopuses are so un-Darwinly odd, and “disturbingly smart,” that Jamie Seidel at News.Com.Au echoes a view that they were imported from elsewhere in the cosmos.

Octopuses are weird. This is not just because they look odd. It’s not because they’re disturbingly smart. It’s because they have a strange power.

The ability to edit their own bodies.

This has biologists scratching their heads.

Evolution doesn’t work that way. It’s supposed to be spurred by genetic mutations — a change in DNA — that proves to be beneficial to the host.

So how could a creature evolve in such a way as to allow them to rebuild themselves?

Rather than admit Darwinism has been falsified in this case, Seidel leaps to the sci-fi conclusion that they were brought to earth by aliens. He refers to the recent paper by Steele et al. that resurrects the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe theory of panspermia, already noted here and here. The paper in Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology asks: “Cause of Cambrian Explosion — Terrestrial or Cosmic?” They present arguments that aliens sent information in the form of retroviruses to get animals to evolve in certain ways, one example being the octopus. 

In our view the totality of the multifactorial data and critical analyses assembled by Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickramasinghe and their many colleagues since the 1960s leads to a very plausible conclusion — life may have been seeded here on Earth by life-bearing comets as soon as conditions on Earth allowed it to flourish (about or just before 4.1 Billion years ago); and living organisms such as space-resistant and space-hardy bacteria, viruses, more complex eukaryotic cells, fertilised ova and seeds have been continuously delivered ever since to Earth so being one important driver of further terrestrial evolution which has resulted in considerable genetic diversity and which has led to the emergence of mankind.

They call this “the evolution of intelligent complexity.” Anything but intelligent design!

Conclusions

Giraffes do not follow evolutionary predictions about group size and behavior. Ants seem to have much more intelligence than their brain size would permit. The mantis shrimp has unique eye movements and perceptions not found in any common ancestor. And the octopus is so smart, evolutionists are more willing to believe its evolution was facilitated by space aliens rather than to conclude it was designed.

Darwin might have shivered at the new knowledge about these creatures, and hundreds more, but only for a minute. He would quickly put on his overcoat of naturalism and start spinning just-so stories. Today’s Darwinians have learned their master’s lessons well.

Photo credit: Barni1, via Pixabay.