Hear Ye: Another Darwinian Prediction Falsified by Fossils

Posted on January 3, 2012 in Biology, Darwin and Evolution, Fossils, Mammals, Origins, Terrestrial Zoology

In a classic test of evolutionary “post-diction” (predicting what should be found in the fossil record), scientists made a bold prediction of what insect ears would look like before the evolution of bats.  Believing that the presence of bats, a new predator with sonar, would spur the evolution of insect ears, the scientists predicted that earlier insects would have less-developed ears, or none at all.  Then they found exceptionally-preserved insect fossils from the Green River formation in Wyoming, and compared the fossil evidence with their prediction.  What was found?

PhysOrg summarized the results that were published in the Journal of Paleontology.1 The abstract of the paper unveils the falsification of Darwinian expectations:

Tympanal ears in insects are important for both intraspecific communication and for the detection of nocturnal predators. Ears are thought, based on modern forms, to have originated independently multiple times within insects and can be found on multiple regions of the body. Here we describe and document the exceptionally well preserved tympanal ears found in crickets and katydids from the Eocene Green River Formation of Colorado, which are virtually identical to those seen in modern representatives of these groups. These specimens are among the best preserved insect ears in the fossil record and establish the presence of ears in two major clades of Orthoptera 50 million years ago. Also discussed and evaluated are previously described insect ears from the Mesozoic and the implications of the findings of the present study for studying the evolution of ears within insects.

PhysOrg dressed up the story in progressive language: “50 million year old cricket and katydid fossils hint at the origins of insect hearing.”  But further down, the article admitted, “The fossil ears measured half a millimeter in length, and were virtually identical in size, shape, and position to their modern counterparts.” Yet earlier, the article quoted lead author Roy Plotnick (U of Illinois) clearly stating that they expected the opposite:

The big evolutionary trigger for the appearance of hearing in many insects is thought to be the appearance of bats,” Plotnick said. “Prior to the evolution of bats we would expect to find ears in relatively few insects, but after that we should see ears in more insect groups,” he explained.

How can such a falsification of expectations be spun into a “hint at the origins of insect hearing?”  The only hint would seem to be abrupt appearance, or stasis at least, if not intelligent design.  The press release did its best: “The findings suggest that this group of insects evolved their supersensitive hearing long before bat predators came to be, the researchers say.”  Dena Smith (U of Colorado), co-author of the paper, used her imagination: “Their bat-detecting abilities may have simply become apparent later.

PhysOrg stated that the paleontologists were working for the National Evolution Synthesis Center (NESCent), a “nonprofit science center dedicated to cross-disciplinary research in evolution,” sponsored by the National Science Foundation.  The Center “promotes the synthesis of information, concepts and knowledge to address significant, emerging, or novel questions in evolutionary science and its applications,” according to its mission statement.  “NESCent achieves this by supporting research and education across disciplinary, institutional, geographic, and demographic boundaries.”

1. Roy E. Plotnick and Dena M. Smith (2012) Exceptionally Preserved Fossil Insect Ears from the Eocene Green River Formation of Colorado. Journal of Paleontology: January 2012, Vol. 86, No. 1, pp. 19–24.

Well, the NSF needs to close up shop at the NESCent, now that Darwinism has been falsified (again).  Two paleontologists went hunting, but returned wanting.  The insect ears are identical to modern ones on live insects, they found, despite having 50 million years (in their timeline) to do the Darwin thing.  Not only were those ears working just fine long before bats “came to be” (did you catch that cute little miracle phrase?), but they want us to believe that “Insects have evolved ears at least 17 times in different lineages.”  Let’s see what this means.  If one miracle has the probability of 1 in 10150, then 17 different miracles occurring by evolution should have one chance in (10150)17.

Plotnick wrote with a straight face about the “appearance of hearing” and the “appearance of bats.”  Tell us, Dr. Science, how did they appear?  Out of a magic hat?  To evolutionists, saying that something “evolved” is synonymous with saying it “appeared.”  No evidence is necessary.  Evidence can even contradict it, but Darwin marches on, working miracles out of thin imagination.  Stephanie Pappas at Live Science (the same reporter who got all bent out of shape on New Year’s Day reporting that school boards want to expose students to the flaws in Darwinism, see Live Science) told her readers this wondrous fairy tale: “Now, a new examination of 50-million-year-old cricket and katydid fossils finds that these odd ears evolved before even the appearance of the predators that these ears can hear.”  Let’s try to understand this sentence.  Darwinism has no foresight, no plan, and no ability to even get one mutation right, but it was able to equip insects with complex organs they would need millions of years later.  What did the bugs  listen to in the meantime?  The bee gees?

Another thing you should notice about the story is the amazing preservation of detail in these fossils.  “You can see every tiny feature down to the veins in their wings and the hairs on their legs,” Smith said.  Try this experiment: drop a cricket in mud, wait 50 million years, and see how much detail remains. Odds are, grasshoppa, after the winter rains, you would find nary a hair, even if you were knee high to a cricket.

One Comment

socko January 3, 2012

Bee Gees. Ha ! Brilliant

Leave a Reply