Tuatara Genes Are Running in Place
One would expect a living fossil to show extreme stasis at the genetic level. Not so for the tuatara, a New Zealand reptile, reported EurekAlert: researchers found that “although tuatara have remained largely physically unchanged over very long periods of evolution, they are evolving – at a DNA level – faster than any other animal yet examined.”
The tuatara is said to be the lone survivor of a class of beak-headed reptiles that co-existed with the dinosaurs 200 million years ago (see Live Science for picture). The rate of molecular evolution of this lizard-like animal, the researchers said, is much faster than that of cave bears, lions, oxen and horses, which supposedly evolved from primitive mammals in far less time.
Based on this study, the authors are claiming that molecular evolution and morphological evolution have nothing to do with each other: “Many scientists have thought that molecular evolution would be fastest in animals whose physical form, or morphology, also evolved swiftly,” the article says. “The tuatara finding suggests otherwise, that there is no relationship between the two rates.” But if evolution does not cause fitness changes at the genetic level that translate into body changes, where did elephants and giraffes come from?
See also the discussion of this paper by David Tyler on Access Research Network, and the 03/31/2002 entry about tuatara resilience to climate change.
Molecular changes is not evolution in the sense of creating new organs and functions. That is clear from the fact that the tuatara is unchanged from its fossil counterparts. The tuatara was already a complete embarrassment for the Darwinists – as are all living fossils. This counter-intuitive result should make them consider the possibility that something is completely wrong with their assumptions. The first one that should go on the chopping block is the assumption of millions of years.