February 3, 2016 | David F. Coppedge

Insects that Defy Darwin

Stasis and convergence are not what Darwin had in mind, but that’s what new fossils show.

Jurassic lacewing butterfly mimic: PhysOrg reports the discovery of a butterfly-like lacewing in the deep Mesozoic. The well-preserved fossils from Kazakhstan and China are dated 50 to 60 million years before the arrival of butterflies, but these members of Order Neuroptera have surprising affinities with Order Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), including a long, tubular nectar-feeding proboscis, wing scales, and prominent eye spots on its wings that resemble those of the owl butterfly. The details, with photographs, are in an open-access paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The fossil is so well-preserved, the researchers were able to detect carbon in the insect’s proboscis instead of iron, leading them to believe it fed on nectar, not blood. Since there were not supposed to be any flowering plants when this insect lived, the authors propose that it sipped on the nectar of gymnosperms, although they acknowledge that an “understanding of the ecology in mid-Mesozoic insect clades is sparse”.

How is this to be explained in the evolutionary worldview? Co-author David Dilcher of Indiana University says in Science Daily, “we’ve unraveled a surprisingly wide array of physical and ecological similarities between the fossil species and modern butterflies, which shared a common ancestor 320 million years ago.” PhysOrg adds, “Their findings represent a striking example of convergent evolution between these two unrelated lineages, in which the two distinct groups of organisms evolve similar traits as they interact to similar features in their environments.” He personified the blind process of evolution in a joking manner:

BM-DarwinBaloney-smEvolution is a great innovator, Dilcher said. But at the same time: “if it worked once, why not try it again.”

Stasis in diversity: Another headline on PhysOrg announces, “Unbiased statistical analysis of insect fossil records finds diversity unchanged over the past 125 million years.” This contradicts evolutionary expectations, the article says:

Insects are astonishingly diverse, accounting for nearly three-quarters of all named animal species living today, and their diversity is widely thought to have increased steadily over evolutionary time. A new study, however, finds that insect diversity actually has not changed much over the past 125 million years.

Insects were “extremely diverse in the past as well,” one evolutionist said, even though the rise of flowering plants was thought to stimulate insect diversity:

A lot of modern insect groups have close ecological and evolutionary relationships with flowering plants, and the evolution of flowering plants is thought to have spurred rapid diversification of insects. But the new analysis found that the evolution of flowering plants did not make a big difference in insect diversity overall. Presumably, there were many insects that had coevolved with the plants that were dominant before flowering plants came on the scene, and those insect groups would have declined along with the plants they depended on.

Knowing that insects don’t usually fossilize well, the team under Matthew Clapham (UC Santa Cruz) tried to avoid preservation bias by building a database of 39,000 insect fossils from about 25,000 species, then analyzing it with statistical methods.

Using their own assumptions, evolutionists defeat evolutionary expectations in these two cases. They found similarity where it shouldn’t be. They found stable diversity where they expected an increase. Did you notice that the oft-repeated phrase “was thought” is in past tense? This happens all the time in evolutionary studies; what “was thought” is wrong. So will they modify their thoughts, so that what they are thinking now will influence future thought? Unlikely. So ingrained is evolutionary thinking, what was thought will continue to be thought regardless of the evidence.

Convergence should repudiate evolution. It’s hard enough to imagine getting one family of insects by chance with nectar-feeding tools and mouthparts and scale-covered wings with eyespots (see Metamorphosis), let alone two families on completely different lineages. See Brett Miller’s discussion “The Convergence Concoction” to show the extent of similarities where they shouldn’t be according to evolution. But evolutionists are clever storytellers. They turn around and say that the similarities are due to “similar selective pressures.” You can’t win a scientific debate with a storyteller who thinks his imagination is equivalent to scientific evidence.

 

Comments

Leave a Reply