In a report of a scientific meeting, Stokstad drew attention to the characters of the duck-billed platypus that baffled researchers at the end of the 18th Century. He went on: "Modern researchers have uncovered other implausible features, including 40,000 tiny glands in the broad bill that sense electric currents, which may help the platypus catch prey underwater." Nevertheless, the platypus has never quite escaped being regarded as primitive from an evolutionary perspective. Earlier this year, ARN's Denyse O'Leary asked these questions:
"Primitive? Most highly evolved? Or just different? A question that lurks just below the surface (and will likely stay there a long time) is, how much time was required for the evolution of this unique electrolocation sense? How likely is it to have been random?"
It is now possible to say more about the time question. The surprise is that there is evidence for this complex structure from the Early Cretaceous.
"A reanalysis of fossil jaws from Australia, reported at the meeting, suggests it belonged to a platypus that lived at least 112 million years ago. "It's really, really old for a monotreme," Timothy Rowe of the University of Texas (UT), Austin, told the audience."
Rowe is a palaeontologist who runs a computed tomography-scanning facility at UT Austin.
"Scans of three specimens revealed a large internal canal along the entire length of the jaw, like the canal in a modern platypus that carries nerve fibers from the electrosensory glands in the bill to the brain. "There's no other mammal that has a canal this size," Rowe said. Even back in the early Cretaceous, it seems, the platypus was using electrosensation."
Stokstad points out that the age of the fossil is "much older than current estimates from DNA of when platypuses and echidnas diverged from their most recent common ancestor. Molecular clocks put that date somewhere between 17 million and 80 million years ago." However, palaeontologists have grown used to mismatches like this and do not give too much weight to the figures emerging from molecular clocks. What this does show is that there are extreme constraints on time for any evolutionary story of the origin of platypuses and their electrolocation device. We appear to have a situation where intelligent design is demanded by the evidence of short timescales and the complexity of the "implausible" electrosensory system.
Jaw Shows Platypus Goes Way Back
Science 318, 23 November 2007: 1237.
When scientists first laid eyes on the duckbilled platypus and the echidnas in the late 18th century, they were so baffled by these bizarre egg-laying mammals that some considered the specimens a hoax. Modern researchers have uncovered other implausible features, including 40,000 tiny glands in the broad bill that sense electric currents, which may help the platypus catch prey underwater. [snip]
|<< <||> >>|
Evolution has become a favorite topic of the news media recently, but for some reason, they never seem to get the story straight. The staff at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture started this Blog to set the record straight and make sure you knew "the rest of the story".
A blogger from New England offers his intelligent reasoning.
We are a group of individuals, coming from diverse backgrounds and not speaking for any organization, who have found common ground around teleological concepts, including intelligent design. We think these concepts have real potential to generate insights about our reality that are being drowned out by political advocacy from both sides. We hope this blog will provide a small voice that helps rectify this situation.
Website dedicated to comparing scenes from the "Inherit the Wind" movie with factual information from actual Scopes Trial. View 37 clips from the movie and decide for yourself if this movie is more fact or fiction.
Don Cicchetti blogs on: Culture, Music, Faith, Intelligent Design, Guitar, Audio
Australian biologist Stephen E. Jones maintains one of the best origins "quote" databases around. He is meticulous about accuracy and working from original sources.
Most guys going through midlife crisis buy a convertible. Austrialian Stephen E. Jones went back to college to get a biology degree and is now a proponent of ID and common ancestry.
Complete zipped downloadable pdf copy of David Stove's devastating, and yet hard-to-find, critique of neo-Darwinism entitled "Darwinian Fairytales"
Intelligent Design The Future is a multiple contributor weblog whose participants include the nation's leading design scientists and theorists: biochemist Michael Behe, mathematician William Dembski, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, philosophers of science Stephen Meyer, and Jay Richards, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson, molecular biologist Jonathan Wells, and science writer Jonathan Witt. Posts will focus primarily on the intellectual issues at stake in the debate over intelligent design, rather than its implications for education or public policy.
A Philosopher's Journey: Political and cultural reflections of John Mark N. Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds is Director of the Torrey Honors Institute at