Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

New study of tar pits shows absence of evolutionary change

Doug Axe has a new post up about a new paper that challenges the Darwinian narrative. (H/T J Warner Wallace)

Full text:

The textbooks say that evolution happens most rapidly in response to environmental changes. You would think, then, that the cycling from glacial periods to warmer interglacial periods would be accompanied by significant changes in the species that survive the change.

Not so, according to a new paper by Donald Prothero and colleagues. After examining all the comon bird and mammal species preserved in the Rancho La Brea tar pits in California, the authors conclude:

the data show that birds and mammals at Rancho La Brea show complete stasis and were unresponsive to the major climate change that occurred at 20 ka, consistent with other studies of Pleistocene animals and plants. Most explanations for such stasis (stabilizing selection, canalization) fail in this setting where climate is changing. One possible explanation is that most large birds and mammals are very broadly adapted and relatively insensitive to changes in their environments, although even the small mammals of the Pleistocene show stasis during climate change, too.

I work at the other end of the size spectrum, on protein molecules rather than whole animals. It’s interesting that attempts to catch evolution in the act of doing the amazing things that the textbooks attribute to it seem to fail at both ends of the spectrum.

Interesting because Prothero has debated against ID – this man is not friendly to our view.

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One Response

  1. Jerry says:

    He doesn’t state why he believes “accompanied by significant changes in the species that survive the change.” No were in the scientific literature, and I have access to all of the peer reviewed publications in the libraries of the UC schools and some in cleveland, does anyone make that claim. logically, it fails the snuff test too – major changes in climate would do just the opposite – they would lead to a lot of evolutionary dead ends as species go extinct being unable to adapt. In most cases, there would be species in the landscape that is changing that would be capable of surviving and they would do just that – they would survive with no need to change. Now if there was a major population were only a small subset had the needed genetic material, you would encoutner a genetic bottleneck (loss of diversity), but the species wouldn’t “change” simply to survive, those alleles unfit to survive would disappear. Now if none of the species in the landscape were capable of surviving, generally outside species would/could move in.

    Just because he doesn’t believe in what you do doesn’t give him credibility because some of his beliefs overlap those you want to believe in.

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