Archive of items from Evidence News

Oldest fossil sushi wrap seaweed found, according to reports in ScienceDaily 14 March 2017 and BBC News 14 March 2017.

Therese Sallstedt of the Swedish Museum of Natural History has found some fossils she claims are; “the oldest fossil plants that we know of on Earth in the form of 1.6 billion year old red algae”. Red algae are seaweeds. Next time you eat your sushi you will probably find it wrapped in red algae, and another type of red algae produces a thickener for ice cream.

The new fossils were found in “uniquely well-preserved sedimentary rocks” at Chitrakoot in central India, dated as 1.6 billion years old. The previous oldest red algae fossils are dated as 1.2 billion years old, making the new fossils 400 million years older.

Because the specimens are well preserved the scientists were able to study their internal structure with an x-ray microscope and they found internal structures typical of red algae and platelets that could be chloroplasts – the cellular structures that carry out photosynthesis.

Therese Sallstedt told the BBC “They show us that advanced life in the form of eukaryotes have a much deeper history on Earth than what we previously have thought”. (Eukaryotes are defined as living things with complex structures within their cells, including single cellular organisms, plants, fungi, animals and humans, i.e. all living things except bacteria.)

ScienceDaily, BBC News

Editorial Comment: Good thought Therese, about these living things having a deep history on Earth. Algae have been here ever since God created them on the third day of creation. All other living things were created on the fifth and sixth days.

Genesis also tells us that plants were made according to their kinds, and these fossils fit that perfectly. The fossils are easy to recognize simply because they are fully formed red algae, and show no signs of having been anything else. As red algae are still here, they have multiplied after their kind, with no signs of evolving into anything else, which is just as well if you like sushi or ice cream. If the evolutionists really believed the new fossils are 1.6 billion years old then they have greater faith in the “after their kind” principle than any creationist.

One last thought, you too can walk along any beach and notice the smell of rotting seaweed, so note well the red algae didn’t get into the rocks until they were deeply buried, starting with Noah’s flood. (Ref. fossils, plants, botany)

Evidence News vol. 17 No.4
22 March 2017
Creation Research Australia

 

 

Getting to grips with dino neck bones reported in Science (AAAS) News 27 February 2017.

Sauropods, such as the iconic Brontosaurus and Diplodocus, were enormous dinosaurs with extremely long necks. The weight of the neck and the forces generated by moving it put enormous strain on the vertebral bones, especially while the vertebrae were still growing. A vertebral neck bone has two parts, a cylindrical section, named the centrum, which sits below the spinal cord, and an arch shaped part, named the neural arch because it goes over the top of the spinal cord, so the spinal cord is completely surrounded by bone. While neck bones are growing rapidly in early life the centrum and neural arch are separated by a layer of cartilage which acts as a growth centre, but it is a potential site of weakness in the overall structure.

University of Michigan vertebrate palaeontologists John Fronimos and Jeffrey Wilson have studied the neck vertebrae of a sauropod named Spinophorosaurus nigerensis. They found the surfaces of the bones where the centrum and neural arch were joined were not smooth, but were grooved to form an interlocking curved structure, so the bones fitted together like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. This curved surface enabled a better grip between the two bones. Mathew Wedel, a vertebrate palaeontologist at Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, California, compared the surfaces to those of sports shoes and commented: “They basically went from having slick soles to having treads”.

The curved surface also provided a larger surface area of contact than if the bones were smooth. Fronimos explained: “This means that the same amount of force is distributed over a larger area, reducing the stress at any one point”.

Also, the curved shape was not exactly the same along the length of the neck. The interlocking curves were most complex at the base of the neck, between the shoulders and least complex at the head end. Fronimos explained: “As you move down the neck, each individual bone has to support more and more weight because there’s more and more neck out ahead of them that it has to support. So, there’s going to be more stress applied to that bone until you get to the shoulders, which are bearing the whole weight of the neck”. Mathew Wedel commented that variation in complexity “makes good mechanical sense”.

Science

Editorial Comment: When was the last time you made a dinosaur that worked? Haven’t done it yet? Neither has Attenborough, the BBC, the ABC, or any evolutionist unless you count the intelligently designed computer Hollywood simulations or well-engineered robot-a-saurs. To get something to work with good mechanical sense requires a good mechanical engineer who knows ahead of time the forces that his structure will be subjected to, and therefore how to build in the right design.

Building a structure by chance random processes, without understanding the mechanical properties of the structure and the forces that will impinge on it, is a recipe for disaster. Mechanical failure of neck vertebrae means a broken neck and mangled spinal cord – definitely a failure in the struggle for life.

It is far more logical to believe this very clever interlocking curved structure was designed by the intelligent Creator who knew how to program the DNA to keep the dinosaur’s hugely long neck together during its early life when the bones were growing from within in order to accommodate the growth of the spinal cord and its coverings.

Also, so when that growth was completed the growth centres between the centrum and neural arch could then close over, so the vertebrae would become solid bones, although they would continue to grow in length and thickness from the outer surface as long as the animal lived. For pre-flood dinosaurs that would have been a long time, and they would have grown very large with very long necks, but big or small, it was mechanically sound because they were well designed from the beginning. (Ref. osteology, ossification, biomechanics, reptiles, dinosaurs)

Evidence News vol. 17 No.4
22 March 2017
Creation Research Australia

 

How hummingbirds avoid crashes according to ScienceDaily and New Scientist 18 July 2016 and PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1603221113, published online 18 July 2016. Hummingbirds are incredibly agile and fast flyers. In their natural environment they are able to fly through dense forests at speeds up to 50km per hour without colliding with any obstacles, and accurately approach their food sources (flowers) without crashing into them. Therefore, they need to rapidly assess how fast they are approaching an object, and alter their flight path and speed in order to avoid crashing into it.

To see how the birds managed to manoeuvre through complex environments, scientists at the University of British Columbia, Canada, trained hummingbirds to fly through a tunnel to a feeder containing a sugary liquid like the nectar they normally feed on. The research team projected different moving patterns on the walls of tunnels and tracked the way birds changed course in response to different patterns.

They expected the birds to use a similar method of navigation to bees, which rely how fast objects move across their visual field (optic flow). But as Roslyn Dakin, who led the study explained, “Birds fly faster than insects and it’s more dangerous if they collide with things. We wanted to know how they avoid collisions and we found that hummingbirds use their environment differently than insects to steer a precise course”. It seems the birds relied on change in size of objects as they approached them.

Roslyn Dakin also commented: “When objects grow in size, it can indicate how much time there is until they collide even without knowing the actual size of the object. Perhaps this strategy allows birds to more precisely avoid collisions over the very wide range of flight speeds they use”.

New Scientist, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: This study is a good reminder that it takes more than wings and feathers for a bird to fly. Flying through a dense and complex environment like a forest requires the ability to constantly monitor the surrounding environment, work out where you are in relation to objects in the environment in three dimensions, calculate the trajectory needed to get you where you want to go, and make adjustments to that in order to avoid any obstacles in the way.

As those who are trying to design self-navigating drones will tell you, this requires precision sensors along with considerable computer power to integrate the information collected by the sensors and send instructions to the flying machinery – in the case of the bird, the muscles that control the wings and feathers.

Therefore, before any bird (or other flying creature) could only take to an aerial lifestyle if it had the right eyes and brain, as well as wings. Therefore, it is absurd to the think that flying evolved one step at a time. It is far more logical to believe that birds were made as whole functioning creatures ready for safe take-off, flight and landing, just as Genesis 1 says they were. (Ref. vision, navigation, ornithology)

Evidence News vol. 17, No. 3
15 March 2017
Creation Research Australia

 

Frog tongue physics described in reports in Science (AAAS) News 31 January, ScienceDaily 1 February 2017, and Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 20160764 doi: 10.1098/rsif.2016.0764, 1 February 2017. Engineers and biologists at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, have studied how frogs’ tongues function. It is not just enough for the tongue to be fast and sticky. A frog has to capture and hold onto its food and then release it into its mouth to be swallowed. The researchers found that it was a combination of the softness of the tongue and the changing viscosity of the saliva that enabled successful bug capture.

They found the frog’s tongue is one the softest and most elastic biological materials so far found, and easily expands and wraps around any captured prey, absorbing and dissipating the force of the prey’s collision with the tongue, something like a car’s shock absorbers.

They also found the frog’s saliva acts as a non-Newtonian fluid, i.e. its flow properties changes at different phases of the capture. Initially the saliva flows like water, spreading out over the surface and into any indentations in the prey’s surface. It then becomes thick and sticky, like extra thick honey but stickier, when the frog is pulling the tongue with the captured prey back into its mouth.

Finally, when the frog swallows, the prey is pushed along in parallel to the tongue, and saliva flows easily again, allowing the meal to slide down the frog’s throat. The research team concluded: “This combination of properties gives the tongue 50 times greater work of adhesion than known synthetic polymer materials such as the sticky-hand toy. These principles may inspire the design of reversible adhesives for high-speed application”.

Science, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: Once again, scientists are looking at working biological systems in order to intelligently design useful materials and devices. If they believe that frogs’ tongues came about by chance random evolution, they are being deliberately ignorant of the fact that the functioning system they want to copy had to be designed in the first place, or it wouldn’t be worth studying to see how they could intelligently design a copy-cat system.

But to repeat a point we make so often: the superb non-stick-flow mode/impact- sticky mode/swallow non-stick frog mouth juice had to have a designer, who was far more intelligent than the scientists are. Why? Because the Creator who made the biological system started from nothing, whilst human scientists are merely copying what already exists. This is a humbling admission, and sadly it is what prevents many otherwise intelligent people from facing up to the truth that all living things on earth, including themselves, are created beings, and therefore dependent on, and accountable to Christ the Creator, who made all things in the beginning, and now upholds all things by the word of His power. (Ref. amphibians, biomimetics, feeding)

Evidence News vol. 17, No. 3
15 March 2017
Creation Research Australia

 

Bone inspired steel made, as described in Science (AAAS) News and New Scientist 9 March 2017 and Science doi: 10.1126/science.aal2766, 10 March 2017. Metal fatigue is the weakening of a metal structure when it is repeatedly subjected to forces (“load cycling”), leading to the formation of microscopic cracks, as happens where aeroplane wings move up and down in flight. If these cracks are allowed to propagate they can lead to the structure breaking, which can have catastrophic results, e.g. in aircraft, motor vehicles, bridges, etc.

A group of metallurgists and engineers from Germany, Japan and USA have taken “inspiration from bone to develop a steel with a laminated substructure that arrests cracks”. Bone is able to resist fracturing from normal body movement partly because of its multi-layered structure. At the microscopic level, bone is made of layers of collagen fibres and calcium crystals. In each layer the fibres are laid down in the opposite direction to the adjacent layers.

The research team developed a metal made of two different types of steel with a microscopic layered structure that works the same bone. The different alloy components also have different degrees of hardness, and some areas within the steel are more flexible than others. This combination of properties means that if a microscopic crack forms it is much less likely to be propagated through the structure and lead to a fracture.

Admir Masic who researches the structural and mechanical properties of biological materials at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology commented: “The insights into biological strategies to build crack-resistant materials … is an outstanding source of inspiration for the design of advanced materials, including steels”

New Scientist, Science

Editorial Comment: The new metal alloy mix is an interesting copy of natural bone which is a mix of a strong material with different properties. Collagen fibres are flexible and have high tensile strength, whilst the hard calcium crystals resist bending and distorting. As well as microscopic organisation of the collagen fibre layers, a bone is also organised into dense compact bone surrounding a latticework interior. The long limb bones, which have to bear our weight and act as levers during walking and manipulating objects, are built like tubular steel with strong cylindrical walls and hollow interiors, making a light but strong structure. Altogether, this combination of the right substances and the right organisation fulfils the need for both rigid support and endurance under load cycling.

As Admir Masic commented, building crack resistant materials is helped by looking at “biological strategies.” But the weakness in all this is the trend to deliberately forget that strategy is a property of a mind, and the kind of plan and purpose that selects the right materials and organises them into a functional substance that can only come from a creative designer and engineer who is outside the structure. Therefore, it is right to give credit to the engineers and metallurgists who made the new steel, but it is even more important to give praise and honour to the Creator God who designed and made bones, which also have properties that go beyond what any metal alloy can do. (Ref. biomimetics, engineering, materials science)

Evidence News vol. 17, No. 3
15 March 2017
Creation Research Australia

 

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