Balaenoptera musculus: Vestigial Limbs

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TSwhale3.JPG

Vestigial limbs of Balaenoptera musculus — Blue Whale, U.C. Santa Cruz

37 Comments

But it’s still just a Balaenoptera musculus!

This “vestigial limbs” thing doesn’t have a leg to stand on!!!111!one!!!two!

(so to speak. :) )

But those limbs are used by whales to mate! They don’t match the definition of vestigial I learned reading Hovind’s taped lecture series #4, tape 3.

karl said: But those limbs are used by whales to mate! They don’t match the definition of vestigial I learned reading Hovind’s taped lecture series #4, tape 3.

Is Kent Hovind still making Young Earth Creationism “educational” tapes now that he’s in prison? (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_Hovind )

Vestigial? His hip bones are still bigger than mine.

That reminds me of the movie “Wallie”, the recent one of the robot trying to clean up the Earth. The bones of the humans on the space craft were atrophying and separating, surrounded by fat as it were. So there you go, proof of evolution.:)

On Balaenoptera musculus: Vestigial Limbs - I thought animals left the sea for land. Why would whales have undeveloped land limbs? I found the same question on a web-site. It asked, “ What can be more useless to the animal than rudiments of hind legs entirely buried beneath the skin of a whale?”

I also wonder, after so many “million” years, why have they not disappeared. The Blue Whale obviously did not leave the sea. So I began to search for an answer. It seems evolutionist have determined that whales, manatees and dolphins left the water for land, then went back to the water. That is an interesting theory to say the least.

How or better yet, WHY, terrestrial mammals moved back into the water and evolved into whales, seals and manatees continues to puzzle scientist.

http://www.abdn.ac.uk/zoohons/strut[…]nd_limbs.hti

Answers are not readily available here:

“ The function point of view fails to account for the presence of a femur in addition to processes from the pelvic bone.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20265184/

This site gives what an evolutionist might call irrefutable evidence of the whale going from sea, to land, then back to the sea.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/l[…]_034_05.html

Still, the answers do not satisfy me. I continued to look and found something rather odd. Isn’t the statement below what we call personification? It reads, “In one sense, evolution didn’t invent anything new with whales. It was just tinkering with land mammals.” Or do some evolutionist believe evolution has intelligence?

Actually, I lean toward the explanation that I found here: http://www.trueauthority.com/cvse/whale.htm

On the pelvis Josef T. Long says -

So what of these “vestigial pelvises” found in whales? These structures simply aren’t pelvises at all. In fact, they aren’t even vestigial. These “pelvises” are different in the males and females and play an important role in sexual reproduction. Of all things evolutionists want to claim are vestigial, there’s probably nothing more important to the whale’s ongoing survival!

and on the legs -

Basilosaurus was a fully aquatic creature that was approximately 70 feet long. It is very whale like in its appearance, but its tiny hind limbs have made it a creature of controversy. It is believed by most evolutionists that these hind limbs were vestigial, and therefore give evidence that this creature had evolved from a land creature.

However, this presents a problem for evolutionists. If these hind limbs were really the remains of hind legs from a land mammal, then how did the whale’s tail, with its horizontal fluke, develop? If whales really evolved from dog-like creatures, then the hind part of its body had to somehow twist in order to make the tail move vertically.

Poe.

What about PYGMIES and DWARVES??

fnxtr said:

Poe.

fnxtr’s right. No one is that stupid.

Bystander: Did you try talkorigins?

Vestigial = no longer serving the same function that its predecessor used to serve in the ancestral species. It might or might not have acquired a different function in the meantime.

How or better yet, WHY, terrestrial mammals moved back into the water and evolved into whales, seals and manatees continues to puzzle scientist.

I very seriously doubt that scientists are puzzled by that. Species adapt to make use of whatever resources are available (unless they go extinct first, of course), and if the safest source of food is in the water, that’s where they go and that’s the environment to which they adapt.

Or do some evolutionist believe evolution has intelligence?

Evolution is a process, not a thing that has traits. On the other hand, the gene pool of a species does have two of the attributes we associate with intelligence - an ability to try new things, and an ability to remember what worked. (It does however lack the abilities to usefully remember things that failed, or to predict what might happen next, or to rework something from scratch if the previous adaptations wound up producing something convoluted rather than efficient.)

If these hind limbs were really the remains of hind legs from a land mammal, then how did the whale’s tail, with its horizontal fluke, develop?

What is supposed to be the connection between the two parts of that question? Anyway, mammals have tails, so it’s not like there’s a new organ there or a new tissue type; it’s simply larger and flatter. (Beavers have large flat tails, too, presumably from the same cause, adaptation for swimming.)

Henry

I’ll bite.

Bystander said:

How or better yet, WHY, terrestrial mammals moved back into the water and evolved into whales, seals and manatees continues to puzzle scientist.

Puzzle? You must be joking. There’s no puzzle. Animals compete against their siblings and cousins for food and mates. If you hunt better in the water than they do, you spend more time in the water because it gets you food and makes you strong. Strength allows you to better compete for mates, so you have more children. Your children inherit your traits - so they are pretty good in the water - but with some variation. Those children go where THEY do best. And so on, and so on.

Why, after all, does the hippo have limbs made for land, and skin that can’t be dry for longer than several hours? That’s a pretty damn stupid design. But its a great adaptation if you live where no other large animal can - in the shallows.

Bystander doesn’t seem to know the plural of scientist. Funny, the sock puppet troll Bobby (aka booby, aka goof, aka hand jobby) had exactly the same problem. He also had a big hang up about whales. It would probably be best not to respond to this nonsense.

Now of course if booby can just demonstrate that he has read any of the hundreds of references that have been provided for him already, then maybe someone would take him seriously. Until then, just ignore his nonsense.

Time to clean up the mess Bobby left behind.

For anybody serious about how, when, and perhaps why whales “returned to the sea,” Carl Zimmer has an excellent book on the subject to start you off. It also covers fish turning into land animals. Don’t worry, it’s plenty readable.

Support your local library, or support the author and buy a copy. Either way, this is one of the best books to read if you want to know about life coming from the sea and then going back into it.

Why would whales have undeveloped land limbs? I found the same question on a web-site. It asked, “ What can be more useless to the animal than rudiments of hind legs entirely buried beneath the skin of a whale?”

Better yet, why would an intelligent design leave minimally functional things built out of what appear to be leg bones inside a whale?

If some sexual function was required, surely, it would have been waaaaay easier for the designer to just build the required organ de novo, than go through these gyrations endlessly modifying legs, now wouldn’t it?

At least evolution has an excuse - it’s too stupid to do a redesign.

It doesn’t understand “useless”.

The evolutionary reason that whales have vestigial legs is that they’re mammals and mammals have genes that make legs. In the whales case, there’s no evolutionary pressure at all to optimize legs for any coherent function, they just dangle there, hundreds of feet above the ocean floor. In fact, there’s some evolutionary advantage to having them grow small (less drag, less wasted energy building the things) so that’s the way the genes drift.

For Stevaroni:

If some sexual function was required, surely, it would have been waaaaay easier for the designer to just build the required organ de novo, than go through these gyrations endlessly modifying legs, now wouldn’t it?

Actually that is why I think that there must be more to this than scientist have been able to detect. If the whale has gone through millions of years of transition, being on land at some age and back into the water, who is to say exactly what the animal looked like. Evolutionist tell us that there are so few whale fossils that it is impossible to know exactly.

If you lay aside the modified leg theory, and consider other possibilities, perhaps there is a much better explanation.

New knowledge frequently becomes available that changes what we think we ‘know’. For example, scientist once thought that two groups of ancient whales evolved drastically different eating habits more than 34 million years ago. One new fossil changed the thinking on this because of the teeth that were present. Scientist now accept that there were baleen whales that hunted prey early on.

Would you agree with me that we need to remain open to other possiblities?

Such as????

In all your time here, you have never, ever clearly stated what those “other possibilities” might be.

Because you are still a coward.

All right, now you’re just being deliberately annoying. You have been told many times what the plural of scientist and evolutionist is. If you can’t even be bothered to get that right, what makes you think than anyone will take you seriously when you try to discuss whale evolution? You can’t even get your own name right! Go back under the rock you crawled out from under.

As for remaining “open to other possibilites”, you must account for all of the available evidence, including the genetic evidence, before anyone can take any alternative seriously. Since you refuse to even read the papers, I would conclude that no, no one should seriously consider any alternative that ignores all of the available evidence.

Ban the boob, permanently.

Bystander said: If the whale has gone through millions of years of transition, being on land at some age and back into the water, who is to say exactly what the animal looked like.

Well, basing the “what did it look like” answer on fossils seems to me a pretty good way. Offhand I can’t think of a better one. Intuition? Divine revelation? Hmmm, both of those are problematic, there’s six billion people on this planet, whose revelation/intuition should we trust? Maybe we should base it on a book. Personally, where it comes to beasties, I like “Where the Wild Things Are.” Can we agree to use that one? No?

Ok then, I’m out of ideas. Fossils looks like the best way to me. Do you have any suggestions for a better way?

If you lay aside the modified leg theory, and consider other possibilities, perhaps there is a much better explanation.

1. Okay, I’ve laid it aside. But, I’ve got a problem here Bystander. I can think of some pretty wacky ideas, but nothing obviously *better* is springing to mind. Hopefully you can help me out. Can you name an “other possibility” that looks like a better explanation?

2. Yeah, there could be a better explanation. The best way to figure out which of multiple explanations is best is to compare them, identify where they predict different, as yet unknown things, and then look and see which prediction holds up best.

So, lets start. The first step is to compare your explanation with the theory of Evolution via natural selection. What’s your other explanation? And for the next step we’ll need to know what it predicts different from evolutionary theory.

How many different names do you have Stevaroni? Are any of these replies from you?

Look who’s asking how many names someone has!

Here is a question for you dill weed: what evidence would we expect to find if you had absolutely no idea of what you were talking about?

In all your time here, you have never, ever clearly stated what those “other possibilities” might be.

Because you are still a coward.

Why would a person need courage to discuss the origin of a blue whale, fnxtr? Why would a person need courage to give an opinion on any discussion of evolution? A coward is defined as “ somebody regarded as fearful and uncourageous according to Encarta.

Courage is defined as the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action.

Does a person who questions evolution need to be very afraid? It never occurred to me that I should be, but after reading your comments, perhaps I need to reconsider.

Edward Bulwer-Lytton is credited with the famous quote, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” With that in mind, I suppose you think I am wanting a war with words, but I wasn’t trying to start a war. It seemed like a reasonable suggestion that other possiblities be considered for the Blue Whale’s organs that are called “vestigial organs”. Since it upsets you, just don’t do it.

Yet another post without describing your “better explanation.”

Please, for God’s sake, show some decency. Tell us WHAT OTHER EXPLANATION you’d like us to entertain.

Bystander said: Why would a person need courage to discuss the origin of a blue whale, fnxtr?

I have to say I wonder that too. Why, in all the posts you’ve made, do you not simply SAY what “other possibility” you want us to consider?

fnxtr obviously thinks that you have one and you’re afraid to say what it is. I disagree - I don’t think you even have one.

Perhaps you can tell us which of the two of us is right?

Does a person who questions evolution need to be very afraid?

No, but if they want to constructively contribute to the conversation, they do need to have another hypothesis that explains the same phenomena.

You either don’t have one, or won’t say what it is.

Well played - the photo angle in the previous post made me take those for door ornaments!

Then how did the whale’s tail, with its horizontal fluke, develop? If whales really evolved from dog-like creatures, then the hind part of its body had to somehow twist in order to make the tail move vertically.

Whale tails move vertically when they are swimming, just like the tails of land mammals when they are running. No twisting is necessary, especially of the truth. My guess is that the fluke developed after the whale was fully aquatic. Or perhaps The designer got the idea from watching beavers.

Please watch this video to see how similar whales are to land mammals in terms of movement.

Bystander said: If whales really evolved from dog-like creatures, then the hind part of its body had to somehow twist in order to make the tail move vertically.

You should remain a bystander.

Here is a suggestion - stop reading creationist propaganda. When you use it as a source of information, you end up making yourself look ignorant.

As has been indicated, whale tail movement is in the same plane as, say, you flexing your hips.

Learn some anatomy.

Bystander, you may want to look into this book:

Wheels said:

For anybody serious about how, when, and perhaps why whales “returned to the sea,” Carl Zimmer has an excellent book on the subject to start you off. It also covers fish turning into land animals. Don’t worry, it’s plenty readable.

Support your local library, or support the author and buy a copy. Either way, this is one of the best books to read if you want to know about life coming from the sea and then going back into it.

It should give you a very good answer, and then some.

The video on whale evolution in my last post was just an excerpt from the “Great Transformations” segment of the PBS Evolution series. As it turns out, you can watch the whole episode(as well as the other segments) on YouTube. Here’s Great Transformations

Speaking of whale evolution, no one could tell the story like Stephen Jay Gould of blessed memory. You will enjoy Hooking Leviathan by its past

Guys (and gals) you are wasting your time. This fraud is emotionally incapable of reading anything other than creationist propaganda. His/her /it’s only motive is to keep repeating stupid questions until you get fed up and start calling him/her/it names. At that point he/she/it will just say you are mean and claim victory. Don’t play along. This twit probably couldn’t even watch a video and understand it.

Time for another flush cycle.

Guys (and gals) you are wasting your time. This fraud is emotionally incapable of reading anything other than creationist propaganda. His/her /it’s only motive is to keep repeating stupid questions until you get fed up and start calling him/her/it names. At that point he/she/it will just say you are mean and claim victory. Don’t play along. This twit probably couldn’t even watch a video and understand it.

So very true, but there may be lurkers out there who would appreciate some extra info on the topic.

Karen,

You are absoutely right. Thanks for the video. It is a bit dated, but it does show that our resident troll is completely wrong once again. It also proves that real scientists are always open to alternative explanations, once there is data to support them. Now, what are the odds that Booby the Goof Poe (aka hand jobby) will admit that it was wrong?

Karen S. writes…

So very true, but there may be lurkers out there who would appreciate some extra info on the topic.

Actually, that’s the only reason I respond to the trolls. Otherwise, the ID side can reflexively make the argument that we’re avoiding the question.

But why are creationIDists always so hung up on whales anyway?

This has been a shibboleth of the anti-evolution crowd since the late 70’s when Gish (I think it was Gish, I get fuzzy) started circulating that drawing with the Borden’s cow and the blue whale and started demanding to know how you get from A to B.

At the time, this was a reasonable question because (as bystander rightly points out) back then there were very few examples of early whales known, and whale evolution actually was a significant mystery.

Thing is, the ID crowd never reads the paper. (Why would they? After all, their research hasn’t been updated in 2000 years.)

Whale research, on the other hand, has advanced briskly since the 70’s.

That lack of fossils was mostly because whales didn’t live and die in traditionally “interesting” fossil beds. You’re not going to find a whale in a raptor bed in South Dakota, or in the LaBrea tar pits. When whales were found, it was most likely by accident where someone was looking for something else.

All that changed once evolution started attracting interest and people started to consider it a sexy field (at least as sexy as dead things can get, I suppose).

Once folks started going out to explicitly find whales, it was actually pretty easy, since whale fossils are actually fairty plentiful. After all, these creatures, especially the early ones, lived and died in shallow inland seas, conditions far more conducive to preservation than, say, the American Plains, where we dig up similarly old Miocene megafauna all the time.

The irony of the whole thing is that in 2008 whale evolution is now one of best documented large evolutionary transitions. Like horse evolution, it’s of the few areas where there truly are no missing links still missing.

But bystander would have known this had he only Goggled “whale evolution” instead of Pandas and Peopling it.

Speaking of “Pandas” (which is probably the reason so many people still think this argument has any traction), for an even better explanation of how much we now know about whale evolution, and how specious the claim that it’s still somehow a mystery, you just can’t get any better than the way Kevin Padin took apart this argument during the Dover Panda trial.

The transcript is here; http://www.sciohost.org/ncse/kvd/Pa[…]nscript.html, complete with pictures and diagrams.

It’s lengthy (a full day of testimony) but there’s an index at the head and you can jump right to the “whale evolution” section.

Bear in mind, unlike Gish, Kevin was under oath at the time, the ID lawyers were in the room and could have objected and stopped him at any moment if he said one single word that was unsupported by evidence.

But, um, they didn’t.

In fact, when they had their opportunity to cross examine his testimony, they didn’t come anywhere near this subject.

Now I wonder why that was.…

Anyhow..

Bystander writes…

Would you agree with me that we need to remain open to other possibilities?

I agree that science should always be open to new possibilities, even if those ideas are completely disruptive. That’s how science goes forward. BUT it is incumbent on the proponents of such ideas to provide the evidence they actually exist, not for science to prove they don’t.

This is the basic rule, and long track record, of science and it works well.

(by the way, what do you want to bet that any quotes of my answer will get snipped right before the “but”?)

How many different names do you have Stevaroni? Are any of these replies from you?

I only use one name. I only need one name. (Although there is also a stevarino who occasionally posts here. I would have used that name if I had gotten here first.)

Edward Bulwer-Lytton is credited with the famous quote, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

But the creationists use a shovel.

Um, I said…

All that changed once evolution started attracting interest and people started to consider it a sexy field

I should have said…

All that changed once whale evolution started attracting interest and people started to consider it a sexy field

stevaroni said:

Karen S. writes…

So very true, but there may be lurkers out there who would appreciate some extra info on the topic.

Actually, that’s the only reason I respond to the trolls. Otherwise, the ID side can reflexively make the argument that we’re avoiding the question.

Color me the same. I make it a rule to never argue with anyone about anything without an audience present, because persuading the person who has emotionally vested in the coversation is always extremely difficult to persuade. Onlookers, by contrast, can be swayed fairly easily if you keep at it.

With evolution-denying trolls, all of this is even more true than for typical topics.

It’s pretty clear that the “Bystander” is the same as the “Observer” we had a few weeks back, but I just thought it would serve a point to show that the question asked about whale evolution had already been answered and that there was a lot of information about it readily available and accessible for the public.

When something crazy happens, you can depend on quick loans to get you out of a jam. For instance, if you were kayaking or kiteboarding out in the ocean, and a whale decides to flog you with it’s tail, sending you careening through the air, crashing down into the surf, sand, and rocks close to shore, crushing your pusillanimous little body like an empty soda can, rending your skin and extremities like confetti, and in an even worse gesture, leaving you alive to suffer from the extreme insult of these wounds. Some people have a tree crash through their roof that got blown down in a windstorm. Insurance will get to you in a few days, but you might need to get quick loans to pay the deductable and put the family up in a hotel for a few nights. There are so many things that need money, I’m still grateful that quick loans save me most of the time with my budget deficiency.

Click to read more on Quick Loans.

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This page contains a single entry by Timothy Sandefur published on September 18, 2008 12:00 PM.

Balaenoptera musculus was the previous entry in this blog.

Self-deception as a coping strategy for Christians is the next entry in this blog.

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