Cod Stay Shrunk

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Cod stay shrunk, according to an article in ScienceNOW 31 Jan 2007. After years of over-fishing Atlantic cod became smaller in both size and numbers. A moratorium was declared on catching Atlantic cod in 1993 in the hope that the population and the average size of fish would bounce back. However, this has not happened. Douglas Swain, a biologist at the Gulf Fisheries Centre, Moncton, Canada has studied 20 years of records from 1977 to 1997 of fishing intensity, fish size and population and environmental variables such as temperature. During this time there was abundant food for the fish, and the temperatures were warm enough for them to grow to larger sizes. Swain's team concluded that the current generation of fish has inherited a slow growth rate from previous generations of slow growing fish which would have reached reproductive age before being caught.

The ScienceNOW article summarised the findings as: "Researchers report that because the largest and fastest growing fish were harvested, cod have evolved to grow slowly - an adaptation that haunts them to this day."

Editorial Comment: This study provides one insight into possible reasons for the decrease in size of many present day animals when compared with their fossils. When human beings began to hunt animals after Noah's flood they would have seen and killed the larger animals first. Therefore, smaller animals that had reached reproductive age before they were killed off would be more likely to have left offspring before they died. Therefore, with each generation the slow-growers would survive and eventually be the only ones left. This is a change brought about by selection, but it is not evolution. The genes for slow growth already existed, and removing the genes for rapid growth decreases the overall genetic potential of the population. This fish study also adds to the overwhelming evidence that the world is going downhill, not evolving upwards, just as the Bible describes. (Ref. giants, degeneration, megafauna)

Evidence News 4 April 2007

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