July 13, 2013 | David F. Coppedge

Muscle Power Is Designed, Not Evolutionary

The wonder of muscle inspires both awe at its design and opportunities for evolutionary storytelling.

Fifty years of assumptions about how muscle fibers work is being set aside, reported PhysOrg, with the discovery that its components don’t just slide in one axis, but bulge out in 3-D.   The article, titled “Biceps bulge, calves curve, 50-year-old assumptions muscled aside,” states:

The basics of how a muscle generates power remain the same: Filaments of myosin tugging on filaments of actin shorten, or contract, the muscle – but the power doesn’t just come from what’s happening straight up and down the length of the muscle, as has been assumed for 50 years.

Instead, University of Washington-led research shows that as muscles bulge, the filaments are drawn apart from each other, the myosin tugs at sharper angles over greater distances, and it’s that action that deserves credit for half the change in muscle force scientists have been measuring.

It makes sense; if fibers stretched in only one direction, why would biceps bulge outward?  The fact that muscle fibers don’t simply slide past each other but buckle, generating forces in multiple dimensions, adds to the wonder of its design.

Fish Muscle Evolution

Humans are not the only animals with muscle, of course; fish use muscles, too.  Muscle imprints from extinct fossil fish provided a backdrop for evolutionists from Australia to manufacture “A Muscular Perspective on Vertebrate Evolution,” Shigeru Kuratani wrote in Science about their paper in the same issue, “Fossil Musculature of the Most Primitive Jawed Vertebrates.”  The amazing design of muscle was less important to these evolutionists than whether or not certain fossils can be placed into an ancestral sequence.  The puzzle of how soft muscle imprints could be preserved for 400 million years was less important to them than divining phylogenetic trees from the data.

Although they assumed the evolution of fish, the paper’s authors actually had little to say about evolution.  “Their evolutionary importance hinges on whether eubrachythoracid musculature is specialized or primitive relative to that of sharks” is one example of a reserved statement; another, “Hypothetical reconstructions are not able to recover the full complexity of this musculature, either on the basis of biomechanical analysis or phylogenetic bracketing, and are thus liable to give a false picture of muscular evolution at the origin of gnathostomes.”  In the end, they could only hope that future studies of “exceptionally preserved fossils will continue to provide essential data for the reconstruction of vertebrate soft anatomy, particularly in groups with no close living relatives.”

Kuratani, though, couldn’t get enough evolution into his Perspective article.  In every case, though, he merely assumed evolution, without showing how the fossil actually helps establish a sequential list of lucky mutations leading to muscular fish:

On page 160 this issue, Trinajstic et al. systematically describe the muscle anatomy of three fossil animals from the earliest jawed vertebrate group, the placoderms, which evolved soon after the acquisition of the jaw.

  • Knowledge of the morphology of these earliest jawed vertebrates, especially with respect to soft tissues such as muscles, is necessary for understanding how vertebrates evolved.
  • How vertebrates evolved:  This hypothetical scenario of neck and cucullaris muscle evolution builds on the data presented by Trinajstic et al. and uses a simplified vertebrate phylogeny.
  • The primitive shoulder girdle in placoderms, as suggested by Trinajstic et al., may be an intermediate state of neck evolution that simultaneously reveals the beginnings of a jawed vertebrate novelty, the cucullaris.

At one point, though, Kuratani was stumped.  A complex feature was found in the primitive ancestor.  His response?  He just swept aside the concern, and proceeded on with his “hypothetical scenario” –

The presence of the transverse abdominal muscles in placoderms is another mysterious finding of Trinajstic et al., because this muscle has been thought to be present only in tetrapods. Phylogenetic importance or homology aside, this muscle is potentially similar to a component of the trunk muscle in tetrapods, the abaxial muscle, which also develops as the result of myoblast migration and interactions between myoblasts and the embryonic mesenchymal environment of the lateral body wall.

If the muscle patterns reported by Trinajstic et al. are found to reflect the general morphology of the placoderms, it would suggest that the developmental bases for the muscle anatomy of modern jawed vertebrates were present, in primitive form, around the time of the appearance of the functional jaw. This would stimulate even greater curiosity about the anatomy of more ancient stem gnathostomes such as ostracoderms, because the beginning of the jawed vertebrate body plan is likely to be buried in the anatomy of these animals.

Can “phylogenetic importance or homology” be cast aside so whimsically by an evolutionist?  Wouldn’t casting aside those matters undermine evolution itself?

This exposè has been brought to you by Creation-Evolution Headlines, just the latest in its 12-year arsenal of similar examples of handwaving and pseudoscientific fabling about evolution in major scientific journals.  They can’t hide their dumbfloundering confabulations any more.  We are showing them to the world.  Flex your muscle and take up the fight to restore the truth of design to science, which these DODO dogmatists twist into mythoids about evillusion.  (For definitions of these terms, see our Darwin Dictionary.)

Enjoy your muscles today.  It’s uncanny how we can order muscles to do things.  Our general orders, like orders from a general, set the armies of actin and myosin molecules in motion in ways we can’t begin to fathom from our command perspective.  Your muscles deserve good treatment.  Feed them well and give them some good healthy work to do every day, then enjoy how good they can make you look.  Finish it with sincere thanks to your Creator who granted us these wonderful systems.

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