Posted by: Rob Lester | April 25, 2010

Ventastega: It’s all in the hips

The fossilized skull, shoulders, and pelvis of a marine creature has been found.  Scientists say this is the most primitive four-legged creature ever discovered.  They believe Ventastega was a link between fish with fins and land-dwellers with legs.  The problem is that there are “older” animals which are more advanced while Ventastega is more primitive.  Darwinist evolution claims a steady march from simple forms of life to increasingly more advanced forms.  This contradiction was explained away by evolutionist Per Ahlberg who said, “At the time [when Ventastega lived] there were lots of creatures with varying degrees of advancement.”  How very convenient.  They found Ventastega without legs or limbs but determined it had legs and not fins because of the structure of the pelvis.  Darwinists have also said whale hip structure indicates they once had legs but lost them.  One has to wonder if they found a whale pelvis today, not knowing what it was, if they would determine that this creature must have had legs.  We know, of course, that whales do not have legs and no transitional forms have ever been found indicating whales ever had legs.  Once again, this shows what a guessing game interpreting fossil evidence is.  Both evolutionists and creationists are often guilty of only seeing what they want to see.  We cannot trust our own prejudices so let’s just go with the only eyewitness who really was there—God.

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2008-06-25-fish-evolution-link_N.htm?csp=34

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Responses

  1. Actually, it’s well known that modern whales do have vestigial legs. See, for example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vestigiality#Animals
    or ask anyone with a knowledge of whale anatomy.

    Phylogeny trees based on DNA evidence demonstrate that whales fall into the family of even-toed ungulates, and are most closely related to modern hippos. Furthermore, the molecular evidence is backed up by recent fossil evidence from a number of transitional forms that clearly trace the lineage of whales from the common ancestor of whales and hippos. During this period of evolution, you can see that legs of the whales’ ancestors are diminishing in size. See here, for example.

    As you claim to be a critical thinker in honest pursuit of the truth and a follower of the hard evidence, I trust that you will look into the evidence and correct any misconceptions that you may have. If not, I can only assume that you are being dishonest in your claim, and choosing evidence very selectively in order to bolster your particular creation myth.

    Regards,
    Aatish

    • Aatish,
      I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to my post. I am grateful for your link as well. I did watch it. It seems, to me, to be overstatement. Declaring Indohyus aquatic only from a thicker bone cross-section is a pretty big leap of assumption. There could be other explanations for this. DNA comparisons have been shown to be equally far-reaching. Genome mapping shows remarkable similarity between radically divergent creatures and the sample lines are not always complete for a pair-to-pair comparison. 75% similarity still doesn’t account for that missing 25%. What is missing in those sections may be extremely significant. It is not apples to apples. This has caused embarrassment of some over-eager scientists who trumpeted species similarity before the evidence was fully examined. I try to look at every thing with a critical eye, whether from creationist or Darwinist sources. On my blog I have edited and removed previous posts which were not supported by newer evidence which was contradictory. I try to be intellectualyy honest.

      I have another post relating to the discovery of Indohyus that may interest (or annoy) you. https://preachrr.wordpress.com/2010/03/28/hornless-deerrat-is-whale-ancestor/

      I hope you will appreciate that my blog is meant to be informative, but not authoritative. I freely admit that I am not a scientist. I seek to pique visitors’ interest with some information and maybe a little humor. I try to keep the sarcasm to a minimum. That is why I always provide the links to the news articles my comments are based upon. My hope is that people will read the articles for themselves and make their own decisions on the validity of them.

      I also freely admit that I am biased in my approach. I firmly believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and accurate in the information it provides about creation. This colors my interpretation, but it does not invalidate it. My frustration is that Darwinists often fail to recognize their own anti-creation/anti-supernatural bias. This does indeed color (and sometimes taint) the interpretation of the very same evidence. Darwinists and creationists are examining the same fossils, strata, etc. The difference is what our presuppositions lead us to accept.

      Thank you very much again for your comments. This is exactly what I hope to accomplish with this blog. A discussion of interpretations of the evidence both for and against creation. One-sided discussions are not only boring, but counter-productive. Thanks!

  2. My main point is that it seems counter-productive to evolve legs and then devolve to lose them again. Hippos have remained hippos and done just fine. This just doesn’t pass the smell test for me.

  3. Hi Rob,

    Thanks for getting back to me. I’m happy that you are open to discussion. I’d like to respond to this comment (and to the remarks on the other post that you linked to as well). This is a somewhat long response, and I apologize for that, but I hope it addresses your point without rambling too much.

    The ‘smell test’ that you describe is basically a check on whether some fact fits with one’s preconceived notions and ideas. It is certainly important to make such a test, and scientists do it all the time when trying to choose what hypotheses sound more plausible than others, and which ones they should spend their efforts investigating. However, I think it is a mistake to judge the truth value of a claim based on how it ‘smells’. Preconceived notions may well be wrong (as has happened many times in the history of science), and so the best judge of a hypothesis is the evidence. As you claim in the purpose of this site, one should “allow the facts to speak without prejudice.”

    In this case, it seems that you have some idea that once an organism evolves a complex adaptation, it is wasteful or counterproductive to lose it later. Many people have this feeling that evolution is somehow guided in the direction of increasing complexity (or function), a process of developing from less complex life forms to life forms with more specialized and complex adaptations, such as legs, eyes, brains, etc. However, I would argue that this is a misconception of the way in which evolution works. The only direction that I can discern in natural selection is that of being becoming better adapted to one’s environment. This does not always imply an increase in complexity. It is plausible that the ancestors of modern whales found themselves in a habitat with a dearth of easily available food on land and had to swim further and further out into the sea to eat. Over evolutionary time, as they fed in the ocean and began to spend more and more of their lives in water, their legs would be under-used and may even have been a hindrance to their swimming ability. Under such circumstances, the shortening of legs over millions of years would be an adaptation to better fit their environment. The ancestors of the hippos may, through sheer chance, not found themselves in such an environment.

    There are many instances in evolution where “if you don’t use it, you tend to lose it.” Let me provided a couple of examples of what you might call cases of devolution.

    There’s the famous case of the blind cave fish. Unlike other closely related species of fish, these fish are found with vestigial, non-functioning eyes and are in fact, completely blind. It seems that over evolutionary time, the cave fish found themselves in an environment where having eyes was in no way beneficial, and may even have been a hindrance (for example, eyes are quite exposed and can easily get infected). This is a clear case of a loss of a complex adaptation.

    There’s the case of the flatworms, who, unlike their ancestral bilaterians, have no body cavity, no circulatory system, and no respiratory organs. You can see their evolutionary tree based on the molecular evidence on this page. How could they have lost so much function? Well, what probably happened is that somewhere in their evolutionary past, they found themselves living as a parasite in a resource rich environment inside the digestive tracts of large animals. They could live their entire lives there, and, over evolutionary time, they shed all the organs that were no longer essential in this new environment. Eventually they were reduced to a kind of flattened bag that directly absorbs oxygen and nutrients.

    There’s also new research carried out by the lab of Casey Dunn at Brown University that indicates that the relatively simple sponges (one of the earliest animals to diverge from the rest) have lost functions on the road to simplicity after they diverged from their common ancestor with the more complex comb jelly.

    Facts aside, there is a more general problem with your claim. Who decides what is evolution and what is devolution? As a bipedal ape, it makes sense that you think that having legs is a good idea. However, what makes sense for us may not make sense for other animals. For example, our primate ancestors almost certainly had tails, and we have vestigial tail bones implying that we have lost our tails. From a different perspective, we humans are then devolved primates! You don’t see many people losing sleep over that.

    Regards,
    Aatish

    • Aatish,
      Thanks again for your comments. I published them and hope you will keep checking back to the site. I will try to keep it interesting. God bless!

  4. […] Nye repeatedly dismissed creationism because of its inability (in his opinion) to make scientific predictions. He then used the example of evolutionist prediction of a slowing universal expansion rate (which was exactly 180 degrees wrong) as somehow proving his point! When mentioning Tiktaalik Nye actually used a picture of Ventastega (another alleged “walking fish” transitional form about whom you can read here: https://preachrr.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/ventastega-it%e2%80%99s-all-in-the-hips/). […]


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