Whale of a Batty Tale on Sonar Evolution
How did two animals completely different in size and ancestry, living in very different environments, arrive at the same complex sensing mechanism?
Bats and whales are both mammals, but they could hardly be more different. A press release from the University of Southern Denmark describes the extremes,
Sperm whales weigh up to 50 tons, and the smallest bat barely reaches a gram. Nevertheless, the two species share the same success story: They both have developed the ability to use echolocation – a biological sonar – for hunting. Now Danish researchers show that the biosonar of toothed whales and bats share surprisingly many similarities – even though they live in very different environments and vary extremely in size.
The article describes echolocation as “one of Nature’s extremely successful specializations,” then asks, “why have such different animals as whales and bats both developed the same technique?” The answer cannot be relationship, because (according to the evolutionary scenario), their common ancestors diverged 200 million years ago. Both bats and whales “developed the ability” long after they split onto separate branches of the mammalian tree.
And yet the sounds of a tiny bat and a huge whale are “surprisingly similar,” the researchers found. Despite the former flying in air and the latter swimming in water, both use sounds in the 10-200 kHz range for echolocation. In addition, they both employ a similar hunting strategy:
In the last part of the hunting phase, when they approach their prey both toothed whales and bats emit a series of buzzing sounds: Weak and short sound pulses at very short intervals – similar to strobe lights. It is a very complex mechanism that scientists do not yet fully understand. The animals control very carefully when they emit sounds and when they listen for echoes – and they adjust this exactly to their own and the prey’s speed. If they emit the buzzing sounds too fast they do not have time to listen for the echoes. If they do it too slowly they risk hitting obstacles on the fly.
There must be an explanation for the remarkable similarity of biosonar – which coordinates mouth, ears, brain and behavior – in such very different animals. The press release, without hesitation, offered one up:
The answer lies in convergent evolution – when almost identical features or developments happen in different species. Through evolution both bats and toothed whales have developed the same functional characteristics.
What more needs to be said? A bat is a bat and that’s that. A whale is a whale and there’s our tale.
Incidentally, European evolutionists publishing in Nature found pervasive “convergent evolution” in echolocating mammals all the way down to the genes. The Editor’s Summary waffles between confidence and surprise:
Convergent evolution, through which similar traits evolve in unrelated lineages, is a familiar demonstration of the power of natural selection. These traits are usually viewed as representing alternate evolutionary solutions involving different sets of genes, but that view is challenged by a study of echolocating mammals. Analysis of the genomic sequences in 22 echolocating species, including four new bat genomes, reveals that convergence is not a rare process restricted to a handful of loci but is widespread, continuously distributed and commonly driven by natural selection acting on a small number of sites per locus. Convergence is particularly strong in genes linked to hearing or deafness, but surprisingly, also to vision.
The authors used the words “convergence” or “convergent” a shocking 122 times in their paper, ending with more surprise: “the importance of this mode of molecular evolutionary change is relatively underappreciated, and is under-exploited in seeking to understand the genetic basis of complex traits such as echolocation.” If they are still seeking to understand it, it implies they do not understand it.
Batty evolution: Speaking of bats, five European evolutionists presumed to describe their evolutionary relationships. Writing in Current Biology, they admitted in the first paragraph that “the exact evolutionary relationship of bats to their closest mammalian relatives is poorly understood due to their unique morphological features associated with flight, a lack of intermediate forms, and a poor fossil record.” This sounds very similar to what another international team declared in 2005 (1/28/05).
By filling in those gaps with “phylogenetic analyses” (essentially, DNA comparisons), they drew up their tree diagrams showing where bats fit with other mammals, including humans. Boasting about their achievement, they invoked “convergent evolution” again in a rather extraordinary manner:
… this study provides the most concrete evidence to date toward resolving the long-standing debate regarding bat evolutionary history. Our results further emphasize the extraordinary phenotypic convergence seen across echolocating members of the two suborders, including the possible independent origin of laryngeal echolocation itself, a hypothesis supported by several studies of molecular evolution of sensory genes….
They never did mention fossils again. One thing creationist Dr. Duane Gish liked to point out in his hundreds of debates with evolutionists on college campuses is that the first fossil bat was 100% bat (2/16/08).
So there’s your answer. Take it or leave it. Bats and whales “developed” these complex systems by “convergent evolution.” How can evolutionists say such things with a straight face? It’s because their faces are not straight. The straitjackets they wear (100% DODO synthetic) contort their faces into crooked shapes that cause them to emit strange buzzes and squeaks as they try to say “Hail Darwin!”. The squeaks bounce off the walls of the Darwin echo chamber in which they imprison themselves. The sounds reinforce one another as they re-enter the ears, amplifying the illusions of understanding for which they hunt – a demonstration of convergent evillusion.