TOKYO — Japanese researchers said Sunday that a bottlenose dolphin captured last month has an extra set of fins that could be the remains of back legs, a discovery that may provide further evidence that ocean-dwelling mammals once lived on land. — AP
I did a little googling on this story, and I find that none of the usual Darwinian propaganda outlets are reporting this discovery. The only reporting is done by the news media. So I wonder why? If this is another missing link the Darwinian Priors would be flocking to the journals to spin their just so stories. Why the relative silence? Does anyone else think this is unusual?
One possible reason for this silence is the apparent contradiction these extra fins cause for one of Darwinism’s major axiom, lost features are almost impossible to be recovered. e.g. The pruning of the number digits in vertebrates are never regained except in the occasional mutants. In the case of this dolphin, the fins are well formed and have no signs of being a mangle mutation. What gives? That is one problem, but what else?
If this was a sign that cetaceans were descended from land mammals, why did it revert back to well form fins and not some early terrestrial limbs? If the genetic information is retained from its evolutionary past then where are the genes for terrestrial limbs? According to Martin Cohn, Ph.D., a developmental biologist and associate professor with the UF departments of zoology and anatomy and cell biology,
“Their transition to an aquatic lifestyle occurred long before they eliminated their hind limbs. During the transition, their limbs became smaller, but they kept the same number and arrangement of hind limb bones as their terrestrial ancestors.” ” In all limbed vertebrates, Sonic hedgehog is required for normal limbs to develop beyond the knee and elbow joints. Because ancient whales’ hind limbs remained perfectly formed all the way to the toes even as they became smaller suggests that Sonic hedgehog was still functioning to pattern the limb skeleton.
Ironically the reversion of genomic information does not produce any characteristics of a terrestrial mammal rather it produced features of an aquatic animal. This is evidence for the dolphin’s aquatic ancestry rather than some putative terrestrial ancestry.
The next problem with this discovery is against Darwinian utilitarianism. Was this a gradual reversion or was it instantaneous? According to Dr. Hans Thewissen, Ph.D., a professor of anatomy at Northeastern Ohio Universities,
“Studies on swimming in mammals show that a sleek body is necessary for efficient swimming, because projecting organs such as rudimentary hind limbs cause a lot of drag, and slow a swimmer down,” said Thewissen, who spends about a month every year in Pakistan and India collecting fossils that document the land-to-water transition of whales.
Researchers say the findings tend to support traditional evolutionary theory, a la Charles Darwin, that says minor changes over vast expanses of time add up to big changes. And while Sonic hedgehog’s role in the evolution of hind limbs in ancient whales is becoming apparent, it is still not fully defined.
“It’s clear when ancient whales lost all vestiges of the limb it was probably triggered by loss of Sonic hedgehog,” said Clifford Tabin, Ph.D., a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School who was not involved in the research. “But it’s hard to say for certain because you’re looking at events long after they occurred. As they suggest, there could have been a continual decrease in Sonic as the limbs reduced until the modern version of the animal arrived.”
If whales really did evolved from land mammals slowly over long period of time, (although the alleged time that it took was really short in an evolutionary scale) a la Darwin, because of advantageous traits like a sleek body. Why would these fins reemerge when it would create a selective disadvantage? If selection is selecting for this putative disadvantageous trait over gradual time; what evidence do Darwinists have that it was selected against in the past?
On the other hand if these fins were not due to a gradual process it would become a piece of evidence against Darwinian evolution. Indeed, rapid/instantaneous appearance would be evidence for ID/design. From a design perspective well form phenotypical fins like these are not due to cumulative process. The amount of genetic information to create these characteristics and their regulation are complex. My prediction from ID is that we will not find dolphin fins with knees, hoofs or paws and hips. The reason is that they never existed in the genome and there is no way for random mutation to evolve such a novel feature. The appearances of inordinate characteristics are invariably of existing features of an organism. They are either due to the copy of an entire existing gene or irregularities in regulation. This is a modification of existing designs, not incremental accumulation to create new information.