Archive of items from Evidence News

Enamel evolved in fish skin, according to reports in ScienceDaily 23 September 2015. Enamel is the hardest substance found in living organisms. It consists of a mineral calcium hydroxyapatite, which is laid down in a matrix of three proteins that are unique to enamel. In a search for the origin of enamel, scientists from Uppsala University in Sweden and the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing, China have studied fish fossils and fish genetics.

Enamel is found in the teeth of some lobe finned fish, but not in most bony fish, and it was assumed that these fish cannot produce enamel. The researchers studied fossils of an extinct bony fish called Psarolepis romeri and found it had enamel in its scales and its skull, but not in its teeth. Another extinct fish Andreolepis was found to have enamel in its scales. Both of these fish are dated as over 400 million years old.

The team then studied the genome of a living bony fish, the spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus), which has scales covered in a hard substance named ganoine. They found this fish has genes for two of the proteins in the matrix involved in enamel formation, but these are only expressed in the skin, and not in the teeth.

The researchers concluded that ganoine is a form of enamel, and enamel originally evolved in skin enamel then migrated to the teeth via the skull. Per Ahlberg, Professor of Evolutionary Organismal Biology at Uppsala University explained: “Psarolepis and Andreolepis are among the earliest bony fishes, so we believe that their lack of tooth enamel is primitive and not a specialization. It seems that enamel originated in the skin, where we call it ganoine, and only colonized the teeth at a later point”.


Editorial Comment: This study may explain why two extinct fish and the living spotted gar fish have hard scales, but it does not explain where such enamel came from. The gar fish already has the fully functioning genes needed to make ganoine, and it is reasonable to assume that the Psarolepis and Andreolepis had them as well.

This study does remind us of an important aspect of genetics – it’s not just about having genes that produce substances, e.g. enamel matrix proteins, but also needed is a mechanism to switch such genes off and on in the right locations, since the genes exist in every cell, but they are only needed in a few cells. Such control information is just as important as the substance information, and it reminds us that there needed to be a bigger picture at work concerning how the whole creature is formed and functioned so that right genes could be activated only in correct places. After all you could end up with teeth in your brain if it was left to chance without a plan in mind. Evolution’s chance processes fail most of all at this point. Think about it! (Ref. gene expression, mineralisation, ichthyology)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 20
4 November 2015
Creation Research Australia

Cretaceous furball found, according to reports in Science (AAAS) News and ScienceDaily 14 October 2015. Scientists from the Autonomous University of Madrid, University of Bonn and the University of Chicago have studied an exquisitely preserved fossil mammal found in limestone rocks in Spain, dated as 125 million years old. The researchers have named it Spinolestes xenarthrosus and they estimate it was 24 cm (9.4 inches) in length, and was the size and proportions of a small rat.

It was buried in finely layered limestone and is well enough preserved for the scientists to see the fine structure of its skin and hair. Its hair has exactly the same structure to that of modern mammals. Some of the hair follicles have a structure similar to those of hedgehogs and African spiny mice, with multiple hair filaments sprouting from the same follicle.

According to Zhe-Xi Luo, a vertebrate palaeontologist at the University of Chicago, “Spinolestes is a spectacular find. It is stunning to see almost perfectly preserved skin and hair structures fossilized in microscopic detail in such an old fossil. This Cretaceous furball displays the entire structural diversity of modern mammalian skin and hairs”.

The creature’s internal organs are also the same as living mammals. There were microscopic branching structures like those of lung bronchioles within the ribcage and an oval shaped region of iron residues where its liver would have been. These are separated by a curved boundary indicating it had diaphragm separating its chest and abdomen, as in living mammals.

According to Science News “The find pushes back the earliest record of mammalian internal organs and well-preserved fur by more than 60 million years, and shows that ancient fur and spines formed just as they do in today’s mammals”.

Luo commented: “With the complex structural features and variation identified in this fossil, we now have conclusive evidence that many fundamental mammalian characteristics were already well-established some 125 million years, in the age of dinosaurs”.

Science, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: Evolutionary theory may claim that mammals used to be reptiles, but the real evidence, such as this new fossil, shows that mammals have always been mammals, with the same fur, skin and internal organs they have now. Furthermore, this is confirmed by living mammals all of which have only ever been observed to reproduce after their kind, i.e. reproduce more mammals. This is exactly what you would expect given mammals were created as fully functional creatures in separate kinds, as revealed in Genesis. (Ref. animals, hair, skin)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 20
4 November 2015
Creation Research Australia

Baffling bat tongue reported in Science (AAAS) News and Nature News 25 September 2015. The orange-nectar bat, Lonchophylla robusta, feeds on nectar but unlike other animals that feed on liquids it does not lap it up, and its tongue does not have papillae (hair-like projections) that help other nectar feeders gather nectar. The bat hovers above the flowers, inserts its tongue into the nectar, and just seems to leave it submerged.

Scientists from the University of Ulm, Germany, have used high speed photography to work out how the bat feeds. The bat’s tongue has two grooves, one on either side and nectar flows along these driven by the pump action of tiny muscles. The research team say this is “a novel drinking mechanism in mammals” and summarised their finding: “Bats with grooved tongues use a specific fluid uptake mechanism not known from any other mammal”.

The Science News article is entitled “Bat’s tongue baffles researchers”.

Brian Hickey, a biologist at the St Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences in Canada, commented: “Bats in general have some of the most bizarre morphological adaptations — from leaf-nosed bats to wrinkle-faced to sucker-footed — so this seems to be just another one of those really interesting and strange adaptations”.

Science, Nature News

Editorial Comment: The only reason for scientists to be baffled about this bat’s tongue is that their evolutionary mindset does not help them work out how it could have evolved from the tongue of an ordinary bat. After all, why would a bat without such grooves and muscles bother to hover in the air with its tongue in a flower if it couldn’t get any nectar? Hovering in the air takes a lot of energy, and there would be no survival advantage for this behaviour if the bat did not already have the means to extract nectar from the flowers.

Notice again the evolutionists’ misuse of the word “adaptation”. Adaptation is the ability to cope with changes in the environment using already built in structures and functions. It never makes for new structures and functions. Admit it – it is far more logical to believe this bat was designed to feed on nectar, and therefore has the right design features to do so. (Ref. bats, feeding, diet, design)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 20
4 November 2015
Creation Research Australia

Dawkins: Dangerous Islam and Toothless Christianity.

In an interview on New Zealand TV program The Nation, 3 October 2015, Richard Dawkins was asked why he was so critical of Islam. He replied, “Well, Islam is the only religion that’s at the moment positively dangerous”. He then went on to say, “I mean, if you’d asked me that question 500 years ago, I’d have said Christianity, but Christianity’s teeth have been drawn, comparatively speaking, today”.

Video of Interview

Editorial Comment: Why have some Christian churches had their teeth drawn, and been rendered dead and ineffective in spreading the gospel? Almost always because they have not stood firm on the truth of God’s word from Genesis to Revelation, but have conformed to the world, morally, politically or pseudo-scientifically.

However, Dawkins (and all of us) should take warning from the passage in the Bible that contains this statement: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account”. (Hebrews 4:12-13) (Ref. quote, sceptics, atheists)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 20
4 November 2015
Creation Research Australia

Giraffe neck evolution explained, according to ScienceDaily 7 October 2015 and Royal Society Open Science, 2015 DOI: 10.1098/rsos.150393. A group of researchers at New York Institute of Technology have studied a total of 71 neck vertebrae of nine extinct giraffes, living giraffes and the okapi – a short neck animal classified as a member of the giraffe family. They analysed the anatomical features of the bones, and measured the length to width ratio. They noted that in some of the extinct giraffes only the cranial part (head end) of the bones was elongated, but in living giraffes both the cranial and caudal (tail) ends of the bone are elongated.

They then compared their analysis with an evolutionary tree, and carried out a “computational tracking model of the evolutionary elongation” by comparing the third cervical vertebrae (C3) of an extinct giraffe named Samotherium and the living giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis.

According to Melinda Danowitz, one of the research team, they “found that the most primitive giraffe already started off with a slightly elongated neck. The lengthening started before the giraffe family was even created 16 million years ago”. They concluded the cranial end of the vertebra stretched initially around 7 million years ago in the Samotherium, then a second stage of elongation of the caudal portion happened around one million years ago, resulting in the very long neck of the living giraffe.

The research team also suggested the okapi’s neck underwent “secondary shortening”, i.e. its neck shrunk as it evolved away from its long necked ancestors.

ScienceDaily, Royal Society

Editorial Comment: This is a classic example of imposing an idea on the evidence. Arranging the bones according to an already held belief in evolution is not evidence. No-one has observed a short necked animal change into a long necked animal. If there are nine extinct giraffes whose neck bones are not as long as the living giraffes, then it simply means those giraffes have died out. That may have been a case of losing out in the struggle for life, but it is not evolution.

The “secondary shortening” of the okapi’s neck is another idea imposed on the evidence. The okapi has only ever been observed to be an okapi with the neck it has now, and it has only ever been observed to reproduce its own kind. The idea that it is a de-evolved giraffe is wishful thinking on behalf of those who draw up evolutionary trees and need to fit this animal somewhere.

Finally, it takes more than just a few long vertebrae to make a giraffe’s neck. The giraffe must also have a strong heart to pump blood up to its head, blood vessels that can be adjusted to cope, even when the giraffe lowers its head. Add to that the need for strong elastic ligaments that hold the neck at the correct angle so it is well balanced when the animal is walking, and you can reiterate the challenge we make to Richard Dawkins et al, who claim the giraffe cannot have been designed at all, i.e. when you have made a better giraffe you will be qualified to comment, until then any claims about the evolution of the giraffe are great examples of arrogant ignorance. (Ref. mammals, fossils, osteology, classification)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 18
14 October 2015
Creation Research Australia