Whale hands

| 111 Comments

Reposted a portion from here.

While touring the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley’s Cal Day, my daughter made a comment that I am so very proud of. We were looking at the fossils of several marine mammals. I was describing the anatomy of the whale, and she interrupted me to point at this part and tell me that it was the “hand”. Yes! What a very clever observation, dear little person! 

Whale “hand”


Of course, being the big nerd that I am, I then held up both her hand and my hand next to it, and explained how the bones in the whale’s flipper are actually homologous (shared from a common ancestor) with human hand bones. (I might have also used the words metacarpals and phalanges… but really, how are children supposed to learn if we are afraid to challenge them with new words and ideas? Lucky for me, she just eats it up.) So, even though a whale’s flipper, and a human hand look quite different on the outside, the bones underneath enlighten us about our shared evolutionary history.

She was able to recognize, at two years old, what so many people close their eyes to. Amazing.

111 Comments

The Designer thought about how to make a flipper, and naturally chose a leg bones, wrist bones, and metacarpals.

Who wouldn’t?

Glen Davidson

https://me.yahoo.com/a/JxVN0eQFqtmg[…]X_Zhn8#57cad said:

The Designer thought about how to make a flipper, and naturally chose a leg bones, wrist bones, and metacarpals.

Who wouldn’t?

Glen Davidson

A competent designer.

Out of the mouths of babes …

On another thread, some loony was arguing that the obvious common sense answer was all that was needed in science. Well here it is Robert. Or are you going to come up with some convoluted reason why your “logic” doesn’t apply here?

Nevertheless it is a hand.

I have a loose end I was hoping would be resolved somewhere. All evidence says cetaceans are artiodactyls, which are the even-toed ungulates. Not sure why the above specimen shows 4 digits, but whale and dolphin flippers are generally shown to have 5 digits. So, what is up with that?

I think the knob pointing upwards is the 5th… I think

I did notice that. I think I’d agree with ogremk5’s assessment.

So, I just undertook a covert mission to sneak into the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and check out which whale it was I photographed (okay, I just walked downstairs and entered the front door as if I knew where I was going, and no one asked).

It is labeled as from of Sei whale. Google search resulted in this blog post about reconstructing an old sei whale flipper: http://thewhaleboneblog.blogspot.co[…]lippers.html

So, many whales do have five “fingers”, but it seems like the particular one on display here may have lost one. Although, the skeleton in the blog above appears to have much longer fingers than the one in our museum.

Melissa,

how old is it?

Looks like that whale was giving somebody the finger!

diogeneslamp0 said: how old is it?

I don’t know. It wasn’t labeled with an age, and there wasn’t anyone around to ask.

Did your daughter recognize the whale hips? They’re a lot harder to spot, but pelvic bones are indeed present in the fin whale skeleton hanging in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Not sure about the Sei whale …

We only have a flipper and a skull here.

Question for a whale anatomist: Is there any independent movement in those whale fingers? Can they flex them at all, or move them independent of each other? Or are they basically a rigid structure making the internal support of a basically rigid flipper, whose only movement is in the “shoulder” or whatever, where it joins the body? Are the finger joints now inflexible and basically vestigial?

“she interrupted me to point at this part and tell me that it was the “hand”.”

Yet another comment that we will never hear at AIG’s Creation “Museum”

Just Bob said:

Question for a whale anatomist: Is there any independent movement in those whale fingers?

Not a whale anatomist here, but I strongly suspect they cannot flex and extend their webbed digits. The flippers can bend though.

So maybe that little thingy on the whale hand above is a very small digit. I do not know the orientation of the picture, but if anterior is to the top, then that possible digit is digit #1. In other whales it is larger and is clearly a digit. Now whales are genetically more closely related to hippos than hippos are to other artiodactyls. Do hippos have 4 or 5 digits? I am going to look for it, stand by… Ok, they have 4 well developed toes, which are labeled #2-4. Their skeletal anatomy looks like they also have a vestigial medial toe (which is anterior in limb anatomy), so that could be a vestigial #1 digit! OK, cool. I wish I could enter the url I found, but I do not know how to do that properly. Now one can propose that the hippo-whale group of artiodactyls had reduced but not lost their #1 digit. This could be extended to other artiodactyls, but I have not looked. Then whales (or SOME whales) have secondarily enlarged this digit! It all makes sense! Hooray! Ok, I feel better now.

Certainly whales are artiodactyls or the sister taxon thereof, as they found the ankle bones of Rhodhocetus.

Mark Sturtevant said:

I wish I could enter the url I found, but I do not know how to do that properly.

To enter a URL, you would type the following, so that this:

<a href=”www.apple.com”>Apple Computer</a>

would be rendered as this: Apple Computer.

In general, if you want to see how someone did some cute HTML trick, find a distinguishing text string near the “trick” in question. Go to your “View” menu, and (depending on your web browser and OS) select “View Source” or “Page Source”, and then do a “Search” or “Find” for the text in question. You should see the HTML tags surrounding the text in question.

HTML tags begin with <xxx> and end with </xxx>, where the “xxx” is the “command” and the stuff between is the text to be effected by the tag. Typical values of “xxx” would be:

“b” = bold

“i” = italic

“s” = strike through

“u” = underline

Go look for some of the HTML that Mike Elzinga uses. He does some great work with rendering mathematical equations and Greek symbols.

Not all of the HTML tags found here are supported in these comments, but it’s something you can play with.

Scroll down on the page provided by this link.

I’m no biologist, but the junction between the really big “arm” bones and the relatively dainty “wrist” bones seems rather abrupt, like the two sets of bones don’t belong together. Wouldn’t one expect the ends of the “arm” bones to taper down to “blend in” more with the “wrist” bones? Or is that “common sense” notion leading me astray? Or, perhaps, if the whole assemblage is held (relatively) rigidly in place (as in a flipper) and the bones don’t have to move (much) wrt each other, maybe the relative sizes of the bones are immaterial, as contrasted with a more mobile, more weight-bearing joint of a land animal?

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

First time visitor here.

“If evolution was true ALL creatures would be crawling with bits and pieces of former anatomical bodies they had.”

I’m not sure if I understand you correctly, it’s a little hard to read what you’ve written. What do you mean by ‘anatomical bodies’?

However, as I understand it, all creatures are, indeed, crawling with ‘bits and pieces’ of their ancestral forms. This is a trivial observation that Mendel could have made in his garden those many years ago. Perhaps you don’t understand the point being made here?

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

Mark Sturtevant said:

I have a loose end I was hoping would be resolved somewhere. All evidence says cetaceans are artiodactyls, which are the even-toed ungulates. Not sure why the above specimen shows 4 digits, but whale and dolphin flippers are generally shown to have 5 digits. So, what is up with that?

I had a guess about this, so I went and did a little research. The answer lies in Mr. Sayres’s ID of this particular whale flipper as coming from a Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis). Sei whales are rorquals. One of the minor differences between rorquals (and their sister-group the gray whales) and all other cetaceans is that rorquals have completely lost digit 1, and have only four digits in the forelimb. See http://academic.research.microsoft.[…]5607164.aspx.

apokryltaros said:

https://me.yahoo.com/a/RdfV1YQJ1oSF[…]6ZE0XxwYlRtQ–#ad533 said:

DS said: Wrong. Try again. Mammal means on that branch tree of the tree of life. Analogous does not mean poofed or wished into existence, it’s an adaptation to the marine environment, that is not the issue. You claimed it was the same as a fish fin, you were wrong. Likewise the loss of hooves. We have the fossils of the intermediate forms, we know the genetic mutations responsible and we have the developmental evidence that is consistent with whales losing the hind limbs as an adaptation to the marine environment. Whales are descended from terrestrial mammals. Deal with it.

No, I am not wrong. The whale is more like a fish, with its dorsal fin, than it is a hoofed animal like a giraffe. You can talk about “adaptations” all you like, but the fact is that the whale is *designed*, not jury-rigged, for aquatic life. No amount of natural variations could have tranformed a terrestrial artiodactyl into a whale. That is just science fiction/fantasy, not science.

That, and why is the idea of a terrestrial artiodactyl, of which we have fossils of, evolving into an aquatic whale over the course of 50 million years a science fiction fantasy, even though we have fossils and molecular comparisons corroborating this?

And what reasons do you have to demonstrate the idea that a magical, undetectable Intelligent Designer, incessantly hinted to be God as described in the Bible, magically poofed whales out of thin air is a logical idea, even though there is literally no physical evidence to suggest this?

Wait, I know that one. The improbability drive might make a whale poof into existence a mile up in the atmosphere. It wouldn’t last too long and it wouldn’t end well, but at least that would be an explanation using poof.

apokryltaros said: Then why does a whale have lungs and no gills?

Whales don’t need gills. They have blowholes for their oxygen intake. Just like a diesel-powered submarine, they have to surface now and again to draw air. They also discharge mucus and other stuff while they are there. Where’s the bad design?

That, and why is the idea of a terrestrial artiodactyl, of which we have fossils of, evolving into an aquatic whale over the course of 50 million years a science fiction fantasy, even though we have fossils and molecular comparisons corroborating this?

They are largely irrelevant because nobody has shown how a terrestrial artiodactyl could have transformed itself into a whale just with a few mutations in its DNA. There is no mechanism which can account for this. Btw, no whale genome has been fully sequenced.

So that would be a no. You cannot name the two phyla. Thanks for playing. You lose.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/RdfV1YQJ1oSF[…]6ZE0XxwYlRtQ–#ad533 said:

There is no mechanism which can account for this.

OK, what’s YOUR mechanism? “God did it” is NOT a mechanism. HOW he did it would be the mechanism. Care to give us some details?

Occasional changes in DNA, caused mechanistically, which, if they affect the survival and reproduction of the organism, are selected for or against by the environment sounds pretty much like a mechanism to me.

Which part of that do you deem impossible?

https://me.yahoo.com/a/RdfV1YQJ1oSF[…]6ZE0XxwYlRtQ–#ad533 said:

apokryltaros said: Then why does a whale have lungs and no gills?

Whales don’t need gills. They have blowholes for their oxygen intake. Just like a diesel-powered submarine, they have to surface now and again to draw air. They also discharge mucus and other stuff while they are there. Where’s the bad design?

The blowhole is bad design because the whale can not get oxygen directly from the medium it lives in. For an aquatic animal to have to breathe air means wasting time going back and forth from the water’s surface, risking and getting the bends in the process, wasting time that could otherwise be spent on more fruitful activities like eating.

That, and why is the idea of a terrestrial artiodactyl, of which we have fossils of, evolving into an aquatic whale over the course of 50 million years a science fiction fantasy, even though we have fossils and molecular comparisons corroborating this?

They are largely irrelevant because nobody has shown how a terrestrial artiodactyl could have transformed itself into a whale just with a few mutations in its DNA.

Define “just a few mutations”

There is no mechanism which can account for this. Btw, no whale genome has been fully sequenced.

I noticed you failed to give an answer to my question of why a whale being magically poofed wholecloth by God is more logical than whales evolving into aquatic mammals over the course of 50+ million years.

That, and it is not necessary to sequence entire genomes to compare living organisms molecularly.

Just Bob said:

https://me.yahoo.com/a/RdfV1YQJ1oSF[…]6ZE0XxwYlRtQ–#ad533 said:

There is no mechanism which can account for this.

OK, what’s YOUR mechanism? “God did it” is NOT a mechanism. HOW he did it would be the mechanism. Care to give us some details?

Occasional changes in DNA, caused mechanistically, which, if they affect the survival and reproduction of the organism, are selected for or against by the environment sounds pretty much like a mechanism to me.

Which part of that do you deem impossible?

Apparently, it’s impossible because he refuses to wrap his cute little head around the evidence-supported idea that whales evolved from terrestrial artiodactyls.

Therefore, evolution is magically impossible, and thus, GODDIDIT. You know, because Ignorance for Jesus is sacred.

The whole matter of endothermy is why it’s not clear that whales, seals, dolphins, etc., would be better off with gills. Oxygen levels are low in water, and water has a high heat capacity, so blood must cool off as it passes through the gills, which would chill the animal. Countercurrent heat exchanges could reduce those losses, but the large amount of blood that would be needed to absorb oxygen from the water would almost certainly cause enormous heat losses from a warm animal nevertheless.

Tuna fish manage to benefit from a sort of partial endothermy, or at least thermoregulation that keeps some crucial organs warmer than ambient water temperatures, while breathing with gills, complete with countercurrent exchange. And apparently some of this exists in sharks, too, so it’s not clear that air-breathing is the best answer. Yet I don’t think that tuna live in especially cold water, such as where many whale species feed a great deal, and although some shark species do, I don’t know if coldwater species benefit much from thermoregulation.

Yet neither sharks nor tuna receive the all of the benefits of full endothermy, so we’re back to asking whether gill oxygenation would be better for whales or not. Sperm whales do seem to be top predators of the oceans, and plankton feeders have certainly done well prior to extensive human hunting, so clearly air-breathing hasn’t held them back overmuch. In fact, air-breathing in whales has led to feeding strategies that use bubbles to concentrate small prey, so there are secondary benefits to air-breathers.

It’s possible that whales naturally took on niches where air-breathing is beneficial, while sharks and tuna manage some warm-bloodedness in niches where gill-respiration is better. Overall, I would say, it’s just not all that clear whether air-breathing is better or water-breathing is better as a larger predator, with advantages and disadvantages from both.

What is clear is that water-breathing was not an evolutionary option to marine mammals, and air-breathing is quite unlikely to evolve among sharks and tuna. So there’s certainly no surprise that air-breathing advantages and disadvantages inhere in the marine mammals, and the water-breathing advantages and disadvantages inhere in fish that have never left the water at all. Evolutionary constraints do prevail, no magic or “design” does what an intelligent process could have done, take the best from (non-tetrapod, for the pedants) fish and from mammals to provide the best of all worlds. Or even better, to start with no historic constraints to make, say, a nuclear-powered whale. No, hereditary contraints rule all of life (including our meager changes), the relative lack of evolutionary constraint possible with highly intelligent design (such as would be required to invent life in the first place–which nearly all creationists claim) is not visible in life at all.

Glen Davidson

https://me.yahoo.com/a/RdfV1YQJ1oSF[…]6ZE0XxwYlRtQ–#ad533 said:

DS said: Wrong. Try again. Mammal means on that branch tree of the tree of life. Analogous does not mean poofed or wished into existence, it’s an adaptation to the marine environment, that is not the issue. You claimed it was the same as a fish fin, you were wrong. Likewise the loss of hooves. We have the fossils of the intermediate forms, we know the genetic mutations responsible and we have the developmental evidence that is consistent with whales losing the hind limbs as an adaptation to the marine environment. Whales are descended from terrestrial mammals. Deal with it.

No, I am not wrong. The whale is more like a fish, with its dorsal fin, than it is a hoofed animal like a giraffe.

Wow, that’s a fairly strong statement. The existence of one externally similar trait is enough for you to lump whales more closely with fish than with all hoofed mammals, even though they (and mammals without hooves) share more anatomical, metabolic, developmental, and genetic similarities with whales than whales do with any type of fish? What about whales that lack a dorsal fin? Beluga whales, bowhead whales, and right whales for example. Are they less fishy and more hoofy than other whales?

Perhaps that’s not what you meant. Let’s try a different approach.

Still focusing only on morphology instead of genetics, let’s examine living whales and fossil whales to see what they have to say about whales and any relationship they might theoretically have with terrestrial mammals. In looking at these examples, features unique to whales are a good place to start our journey. The structure of all whale ears is unique among living mammals, so we’ll use that as our focus. I’m going to draw on just one to two (easily accessible) resource and go backwards in time from today.

From Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cetacea#Vision.2C_hearing_and_echolocation In modern cetaceans, the auditory bulla is separated from the skull and composed of two compact and dense bones (the periotic and tympanic) referred to as the tympano-periotic complex. This complex is located in a cavity in the middle ear which, in Mysticeti, is divided by a bony projection and compressed between the exoccipital and squamosal but, in Odontoceti, is large and completely surrounds the bulla (hence called “peribullar”) which is therefore not connected to the skull except in physeterids.]

Whales are unique among living mammals in having an auditory bulla that’s separated from the rest of the skull. This feature is a reliable identifier of whales going back to the earliest models that could live only in the sea, basilosaurs and durodonts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolut[…]morphology_5

Although they look very much like modern whales, basilosaurids and dorudontids lacked the ‘melon organ’ that allows their descendants to use echolocation as effectively as modern whales. They had small brains; this suggests they were solitary and did not have the complex social structure of some modern cetaceans. The mandibular foramen of basilosaurids and dorudontids now cover the entire depth of the lower jaw as in modern cetaceans.[11] Their orbits face laterally, and the nasal opening had moved even higher up the snout, closer to the position of blowhole in modern cetaceans.[11] Furthermore, their ear structures are functionally modern, with the major innovation being the insertion of air-filled sinuses between ear and skull.[13] Unlike modern cetaceans, basilosaurids retain a large external auditory meatus.[13]

Another feature unique to whales besides the detachment of the bulla is that the bulla is made up only of ectotympanic bone, that is, the bones that in humans would support the eardrum. This is a feature unique to whales, and you can find it in modern living whales and extinct durodonts or basilosaurs. But you can also find it in an animal called Pakicetus, an amphibious artiodactyl carnivore. It has not been found in the close relations of Pakicetus, but it is found in all subsequent whale fossils (including those that lived partly on land).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolut[…]l_morphology

Pakicetids were classified as cetaceans mainly based on the structure of the auditory bulla, which is formed from the ectotympanic bone only. The shape of the ear region in pakicetids is highly unusual and the skull is cetacean-like, although a blowhole is still absent at this stage. The jawbone of pakicetids also lacks the enlarged space (mandibular foramen) that is filled with fat or oil, which is used in receiving underwater sound in modern whales.[13] They have dorsal orbits (eye sockets facing up), which are similar to crocodiles. This eye placement helps submerged predators observe potential prey above the water.[11] According to Thewissen et al., the teeth of pakicetids also resemble the teeth of fossil whales, being less like a dog’s incisors, with a serrated triangular shape, similar to a shark’s tooth, which is another link to more modern whales.[14] It was initially thought that the ears of pakicetids were adapted for underwater hearing, but, as would be expected from the anatomy of the rest of this creature, the ears of pakicetids are specialized for hearing on land.[15] However, pakicetids were able to listen underwater, by using enhanced bone conduction, rather than depending on tympanic membrane like general land mammals. This method of hearing does not give directional hearing underwater.[13]

The fossil record has several animals that represent a transition between mainly land-dwelling creatures like Pakicetus and our modern whales, with gradual changes in morphology and lifestyle towards a fully marine animal. They lose their hind legs, they gain front flippers, and they grow longer spines and tails that show various paddles and flukes. All of these changes show up on the right kind of timescales for a gradual evolution from carnivorous artiodactyl to marine cetacean. None of them appears anomalously; we don’t find blue whale fossils from the same date as Pakicetus, or Pakicetus in modern strata. One feature that links them all is their characteristic ear. That’s far from the only one! We can also track the evolution of whale flippers from artiodactyl hooves in these fossils. The basilosarus, indisputably a whale, has the same kind of ankle joint in its flipper as artiodactyls like the modern American pronghorn.

This is far more telling than the mere presence of a superficially similar but anatomically different feature like “a dorsal fin.”

As a final note, sometimes whales are taken that have tiny hind legs. They serve no function and are often developmentally stunted, and unevenly grown so that there is just one leg or one is longer than the other. They do nothing but drag along at the whale’s rear end; most whales of the same species do better without them. These atavistic legs are the result of a whale’s developmental machinery failing to stop the growth of their hind legs at the right time. But why do they even HAVE hind legs at any point in their lives? What does that say about the “design” of whales versus the idea that whales are descended from terrestrial mammals? Why would a Designer allow them to develop in utero only to be reabsorbed long before birth, let alone sometimes toss in these useless, counter-productive atavisms?

Perhaps you would shirk the burden of explanation and simply say that having four legs is the default state of being a mammal, thus it’s obvious that whale embryos would sprout leg buds that are later abandoned. But there’s no reason why that should be, especially since the legs do nothing and are totally superfluous. If whales were designed from the ground up for marine life, there’s no call for giving their embryos useless hind leg buds at any point. Humans don’t start building a submarine by incorporating wheel-wells and oversized tires and brake pads into the hull during construction, then removing them before putting the sub out to sea.

In contrast, such an occurrence makes a lot of sense if you consider that whales evolved from land mammals, and that’s why they still grow legs at some point during their development (and even why the rare whale continues to develop their hind legs after most others stop doing so).

You can talk about “adaptations” all you like, but the fact is that the whale is *designed*, not jury-rigged, for aquatic life. No amount of natural variations could have tranformed a terrestrial artiodactyl into a whale. That is just science fiction/fantasy, not science.

It’s science enough for virtually all practicing biologists going back many generations. What sort of advanced, powerful scientific insight are you claiming that lets you gainsay them about their own specialty? What makes you smarter than them? Why do you think you’re so special and they’re all wrong? Is it because of your deep and extensive knowledge of science and biology? What criteria are you even using to distinguish between science and fiction?

Genetics as they have shown to be are fully capable of transforming species according to needs, depending on climate and other parameters with well known both short and long term fluctuations (ice ages, snowball earth), competition, food sources. Over periods lasting millions of years, climate and conditions will be subject to quite dramatic changes. The planet lives its own life with no regard for “God’s creation.” So ehy would a designer design life without adaptability?

I see only one reason: that wouldn’t rhyme with Genesis.

I even believe there are good fossil evidence for whale evolution.

ksplawn said:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolut[…]morphology_5

Although they look very much like modern whales, basilosaurids and dorudontids lacked the ‘melon organ’ that allows their descendants to use echolocation as effectively as modern whales. They had small brains; this suggests they were solitary and did not have the complex social structure of some modern cetaceans. The mandibular foramen of basilosaurids and dorudontids now cover the entire depth of the lower jaw as in modern cetaceans.[11] Their orbits face laterally, and the nasal opening had moved even higher up the snout, closer to the position of blowhole in modern cetaceans.[11] Furthermore, their ear structures are functionally modern, with the major innovation being the insertion of air-filled sinuses between ear and skull.[13] Unlike modern cetaceans, basilosaurids retain a large external auditory meatus.[13]

Another feature unique to whales besides the detachment of the bulla is that the bulla is made up only of ectotympanic bone, that is, the bones that in humans would support the eardrum. This is a feature unique to whales, and you can find it in modern living whales and extinct durodonts or basilosaurs. But you can also find it in an animal called Pakicetus, an amphibious artiodactyl carnivore. It has not been found in the close relations of Pakicetus, but it is found in all subsequent whale fossils (including those that lived partly on land).

Correction: All members of Pakicetidae of whom the skulls are known are have the ectotympanic bone-bulla that all subsequent whales have. That the skulls of the primitive, semi-aquatic artiodactyl family Raoellidae (of Indohyus fame) also have the same unique bulla is one important fossil evidence pointing towards an artiodactyl ancestry for whales. That all primitive whales with functioning hindlegs, i.e., in Pakicetus, also have the unique ankle joint seen in all other artiodactyls is another important piece of evidence.

Perhaps you were thinking of how mesonychids have an overall, and possibly superficially similar morphology to pakicetids, but are no longer considered to be ancestral to cetaceans?

https://me.yahoo.com/a/RdfV1YQJ1oSF[…]6ZE0XxwYlRtQ–#ad533 said:

So what if the dorsal fin and flukes are made of cartilage and not bone? Why does that matter?

Allow me to remind you of YOUR claim:

“2. Cetacean dorsal fin: just like those of fish.”

So it matters because, you know, you’re wrong. Nice try at shifting the goalposts though.

Overall, cetacean physiology is unlike anything found among mammals since it is designed for life solely in the water.

Actually, overall, cetacean physiology IS like that of mammals. That’s why they’re considered, you know, mammals. The differences are very much outweighed by the similarities.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/RdfV1YQJ1oSF[…]6ZE0XxwYlRtQ–#ad533 said:

No, I am not wrong. The whale is more like a fish, with its dorsal fin, than it is a hoofed animal like a giraffe.

Really? Then why does it breathe air? Nurse it’s young? Have a placenta? Have a skeletal structure far more like a giraffe than any fish? And on and on and on and.…

And if whales were magically created wholecloth by a magical and undetectable “Intelligent Designer” incessantly implied to be God as described in the Bible, where is the logic in making them breath air instead of water?

The question I was about to ask on that is does seawater even contain enough oxygen for that to work for a warm-blooded (endothermic) creature. Glen’s reply above indicated “no”.

As for the dorsal fin on some species, being cartilage and not bone, it is decidedly not a copy of the fin on a fish, it wouldn’t take a lot of structural change to evolve, it would be advantageous while swimming, and it had millions of years in which to evolve to do that. So there’s nothing there that violates any laws of science.

Henry

didymos1120 said:

https://me.yahoo.com/a/RdfV1YQJ1oSF[…]6ZE0XxwYlRtQ–#ad533 said:

No, I am not wrong. The whale is more like a fish, with its dorsal fin, than it is a hoofed animal like a giraffe.

Really? Then why does it breathe air? Nurse it’s young? Have a placenta? Have a skeletal structure far more like a giraffe than any fish? And on and on and on and.…

These are the great clues as to identity and grouping creatures. Nit because of shared descent but because of shared area needs. Marine mammals are land creatures that took to a empty post flood seas. Creatures nursing their young do so because its the best idea in a dry land area except for those who need eggs etc. So it could only be that whales forst were land creatures. Then breathing air is also just a common trait for unrelated creatures on the dry land. Anatomical features that didn’t need to go or are still in some way used indicate a land origin. Yet for origin investigations the marine creatures are a very special case. They are not a accurate sample for living or fossil biology. They are a extreme end of the stats. Evolutionists use them as proof positive evolution takes place. In fact they don’t show process but only a result. They don’t show descent in the fossils. Its a flaw of logic to persuade oneself that because a rare case of important anatomical change is evidence for the theory of evolution. Even if evolution was true. Creationism can simply say its no big deal and not from evolution. Just the power of adaptation as we already accept for mankind in his differences soon finished after the flood. Mechanism is elusive but it happened. Everyone fails in proper analysis in using marine mammals.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/RdfV1YQJ1oSF[…]6ZE0XxwYlRtQ–#ad533 said:

Where’s the bad design?

Please describe what a design is. What sorts of things are designed, and what sorts of things are not designed. As long as we have no idea of what design can do, it is of course impossible to say what is design, what is good design, what is bad design, or what is not design.

The social/political movement which appeals to “intelligent design” deliberately (under the “big tent” policy) does not tell us who, what, when, where, why, or how.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/RdfV1YQJ1oSF[…]6ZE0XxwYlRtQ–#ad533 said:

apokryltaros said: Then why does a whale have lungs and no gills?

Whales don’t need gills. They have blowholes for their oxygen intake. Just like a diesel-powered submarine, they have to surface now and again to draw air. They also discharge mucus and other stuff while they are there. Where’s the bad design?

That doesn’t address the question. We know whales have blowholes (duh). However, why are blowholes preferred over gills, particularly when every other species that closely resembles whales has gills?

Or the reverse, if blowholes are so wonderful, why aren’t fish designed with them instead?

That, and why is the idea of a terrestrial artiodactyl, of which we have fossils of, evolving into an aquatic whale over the course of 50 million years a science fiction fantasy, even though we have fossils and molecular comparisons corroborating this?

T

They are largely irrelevant because nobody has shown how a terrestrial artiodactyl could have transformed itself into a whale just with a few mutations in its DNA. There is no mechanism which can account for this. Btw, no whale genome has been fully sequenced.

A few? Explain why NS + RM can’t account for this.

No whale genome has been fully sequenced? It doesn’t have to be fully sequnced before some conclusions can be drawn.

But anyway https://sites.google.com/site/marin[…]t-definition

shouldn’t be too long now.

Wait, I know that one. The improbability drive might make a whale poof into existence a mile up in the atmosphere. It wouldn’t last too long and it wouldn’t end well, but at least that would be an explanation using poof.

I always felt really sad about that whale :(

bigdakine said: (snip)

But anyway https://sites.google.com/site/marin[…]t-definition

shouldn’t be too long now.

Cool. I was on a whale-watching tour off Vancouver Island a couple years ago, and the on-board marine biologist explained that there are three discrete regional populations, separated by song and diet (bony fish in the south vs. marine mammals in the north vs. (probably) cartilaginous fish in the west). I think it would be interesting to see how far the populations had diverged genetically.

Oh, that’d be populations of orcas. :-)

fnxtr said:

Oh, that’d be populations of orcas. :-)

Apparently the populations have diverged enough genetically that some could be considered different species.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20413674

Genome Res. 2010 Jul;20(7):908-16. doi: 10.1101/gr.102954.109. Epub 2010 Apr 22.

“Complete mitochondrial genome phylogeographic analysis of killer whales (Orcinus orca) indicates multiple species.”

Morin PA, Archer FI, Foote AD, Vilstrup J, Allen EE, Wade P, Durban J, Parsons K, Pitman R, Li L, Bouffard P, Abel Nielsen SC, Rasmussen M, Willerslev E, Gilbert MT, Harkins T. Source National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, La Jolla, California 92037, USA. [Enable javascript to see this email address.]

Abstract Killer whales (Orcinus orca) currently comprise a single, cosmopolitan species with a diverse diet. However, studies over the last 30 yr have revealed populations of sympatric “ecotypes” with discrete prey preferences, morphology, and behaviors. Although these ecotypes avoid social interactions and are not known to interbreed, genetic studies to date have found extremely low levels of diversity in the mitochondrial control region, and few clear phylogeographic patterns worldwide. This low level of diversity is likely due to low mitochondrial mutation rates that are common to cetaceans. Using killer whales as a case study, we have developed a method to readily sequence, assemble, and analyze complete mitochondrial genomes from large numbers of samples to more accurately assess phylogeography and estimate divergence times. This represents an important tool for wildlife management, not only for killer whales but for many marine taxa. We used high-throughput sequencing to survey whole mitochondrial genome variation of 139 samples from the North Pacific, North Atlantic, and southern oceans. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that each of the known ecotypes represents a strongly supported clade with divergence times ranging from approximately 150,000 to 700,000 yr ago. We recommend that three named ecotypes be elevated to full species, and that the remaining types be recognized as subspecies pending additional data. Establishing appropriate taxonomic designations will greatly aid in understanding the ecological impacts and conservation needs of these important marine predators. We predict that phylogeographic mitogenomics will become an important tool for improved statistical phylogeography and more precise estimates of divergence times.”

https://me.yahoo.com/a/RdfV1YQJ1oSF[…]6ZE0XxwYlRtQ–#ad533 said:

DS said: Wrong. Try again. Mammal means on that branch tree of the tree of life. Analogous does not mean poofed or wished into existence, it’s an adaptation to the marine environment, that is not the issue. You claimed it was the same as a fish fin, you were wrong. Likewise the loss of hooves. We have the fossils of the intermediate forms, we know the genetic mutations responsible and we have the developmental evidence that is consistent with whales losing the hind limbs as an adaptation to the marine environment. Whales are descended from terrestrial mammals. Deal with it.

No, I am not wrong. The whale is more like a fish, with its dorsal fin, than it is a hoofed animal like a giraffe. You can talk about “adaptations” all you like, but the fact is that the whale is *designed*, not jury-rigged, for aquatic life. No amount of natural variations could have tranformed a terrestrial artiodactyl into a whale. That is just science fiction/fantasy, not science.

You can always rely on Creationist bigots to state outright lies merely for the sake of contradiction. But that does more mean much in science.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by M. Wilson Sayres published on May 1, 2013 12:29 PM.

What passes for science at AIG was the previous entry in this blog.

Gene survival and death on the human Y chromosome is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.381

Site Meter