Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Lizard “Evolves a Complex Trait It Once Lost”?

Image courtesy of Jörg Hempelage, CC BY-SA 3.0 de.



Joel Kontinen

Most female lizards lay eggs, but the Zootoca vivipara (‘live-bearing’) gives birth to young offspring, expect for two subspecies.

This prompted New Scientist to speculate that this is a “rare example of a species re-evolving a complex trait that had been lost.”

According to this scenario, lizards first laid eggs, then stopped laying it, forgetting the trait, and then re-discovered it.

The problem with this kind of reasoning is that any kind of change can be seen as an example of Darwinian evolution, even when it clearly isn’t.

It is an example of Darwinian storytelling, which often tends to be more or less fact-free.

Source:

Le Page, Michael. 2017.Lizards re-evolved eggs after thousands of years of live births. New Scientist (5 December).

Monday, 4 December 2017

Rapid Burial of Pterosaur Eggs Suggests Noah’s Flood

Intelligently designed for flight. Image courtesy of Hugo Salais López, CC BY-SA 3.0.




Joel Kontinen

Pterosaurs present many formidable dilemmas for Darwinian evolution. They could grow to be as tall as giraffes and they were almost too heavy to fly.

But they did.

And there’s more. New research suggests that many pterosaurs of all ages met their death in a flood.

Science polishes the account of their demise with creative storytelling:

“The fossils formed about 120 million years ago when disaster struck a group of pterosaurs. The researchers speculate that when a sudden rain flooded a river, hundreds of pterosaur eggs buried in shallow sand or under a layer of leaves or grass were drowned and washed downstream, along with a number of older individuals. Quickly buried by sediment, the eggs and bones did not decay but instead were preserved as fossils.”

The global flood of Noah’s days is a more logical explanation. It has left animal graveyards, petrified forests and geological formations even in the most unlikely places.

Science focuses on the assumption that these flying reptiles cared for their young. In a Darwinian dog-eat-dog world, parental care might not be self-evident.

But in the creation model it certainly is.

Source:

Vogel, Gretchen. 2017. Ancient flying reptiles cared for their young, fossil trove suggests. Science (30 November).




Saturday, 2 December 2017

Setback for Alien Life Hopefuls: No Signs of Water on Mars

Where’s the water? Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona




Joel Kontinen

Just over a century ago, it was customary to see signs of an alien civilisation on the red planet. Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835–1910) thought he saw canals on Mars.

Many others, including Percival Lowell (1855–1916), adopted this view.

Some people still think that there’s at least an inkling of truth in this.

Furthermore, Many people think that the red planet was once blue, sloshing with water.

Time magazine, for instance, has claimed that the Sun helped murder Mars.

And researchers have continued to speculate that liquid water might still be sloshing down the slopes of the red planet.

Now, however, Colin Dundas of the US Geological Survey and colleagues analysed satellite images.

Their research suggests that the assumed signs of running water on Mars dunes are probably just dry sand, as an article in New Scientist put it.

Source:

McKinnon, Mika. 2017. Signs of running water on Mars dunes are probably just dry sand. New Scientist (22 November).