March 6, 2015 | David F. Coppedge

Whale Secrets

Whales possess some remarkable traits that are the envy of engineers, and the dismay of evolutionists.

Flipper electricity:  Researchers mentioned in a press release from the University of Alabama aren’t concerned about evolution; they are looking at design–specifically, fin structure in the humpback whale. “How can a humpback whale and a device that works on the same principle as the clicker that starts your gas grill help an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) fly longer and with more stability?” the article teases. The secret is in the tubercles, the rounded bumps lining the edge of the large flippers. The ungainly bumps might strike the casual viewer as mistakes, but they’re not. They have an outstanding function:

“For anything under the action of fluid, two forces are created – a lift force and a drag force,” Ewere says. “For the humpback whale, these tubercles increase the lift and reduce the drag as it moves through the water. They are what enables it to breech [sic] the surface of the water.”

The university team is applying this “biologically inspired concept” to design new flow sensors and power supplies for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). “A regular flow sensor will just tell you the magnitude of the wind, but this also shows you the direction.” Therefore, “Borrowing from the whales, the new device is used to harvest energy and can be employed as an airflow or fluid speed and direction-sensing device.”

Live long and prosper: Guess what the longest-living mammal is. It’s a big animal in an unlikely place. The champion is the bowhead whale, that lives in frigid Arctic waters. Science Magazine says that this species can live over 200 years, even longer than other whale species.  Their answer is, as expected, that they “have evolved some special natural mechanisms that protect them against cancer and aging.” Accordingly, the bowhead genome was recently sequenced and compared with other mammal genomes. The results were published in Cell Reports, which says, in brief, “Changes in bowhead genes related to cell cycle, DNA repair, cancer, and aging suggest alterations that may be biologically relevant.” This is the first time a large cetacean (whale) has had its genome sequenced. Perhaps someday humans can benefit from genetic engineering for longer life.

Cope’s Rule and Cole’s Law: Of the few “laws” of nature that Darwinian evolution can claim, one, “Cope’s Rule,” was in the news recently. Stanford researchers, publishing in Science Magazine, claim that marine animals follow this rule by getting larger over time. The paper does not mention whales, and did not include marine mammals in the survey. The BBC News posted a photo of a whale in its coverage, though, saying “Evolution favors ‘bigger sea creatures’” as if it applies universally. There are so many exceptions to the Cope’s Rule (e.g., reptiles, birds), that the rule has about as much scientific applicability as Cole’s Law (thinly sliced cabbage).

Repurposing without purpose: Over at The Conversation, Diego Villar Lozano asks, “We’re all mammals – so why do we look so different?” His simplistic answer is that evolution alters the regulatory sequences more than the DNA. Evolution takes things and “repurposes” them for all the environments mammals inhabit, including marine environments, he says: “Our findings suggest that, rather than acquiring wholly new DNA sequences that regulate genes, mammals derive most regulatory innovations from existing DNA – sequences shared to some extent by all mammals today and likely present in the ancestral species from which they evolved – but repurposed in a particular species.” He has just shot his theory in the foot by mentioning purpose for the porpoise without a purposing agent.

Bringing whales to life: Enough about Darwinism. Illustra Media is completing a documentary on marine biology that will feature dramatic footage of whales, and reveal incredible design features in both whales and dolphins—some of it not widely known. The film, tentatively called Living Waters, is expected to hit markets in July on DVD. You can watch the trailer on the home page, and subscribe to Illustra’s Facebook page for news.

Whale Serengeti:  Southern Californians may not be aware that the largest concentration of dolphins and other marine mammals in the world is right off Los Angeles beaches. Several species of dolphins, as well as killer whales, humpback whales, gray whales and the giant blue whales roam the coastline, sometimes in huge “pods” or groups. One of the finest whale-watching operations is Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale-Watching Safari, operating out of Dana Point Harbor with trips year round. Dave Anderson, the founder, will be featured in the upcoming Illustra film. He also has a lively Facebook page and YouTube channel, where you can find some of his amazing drone videos that have gone viral, captivating millions of viewers.

The number of cooperative mutations that would have had to occur to convert a four-legged land animal into a whale is totally out of the question for Darwinism. This will be explained in Illustra’s new film. With so many traits to change (legs to flippers, nose to blowhole, male testes inside, and much more) the transformation could never occur in a thousand times the maximum time evolutionists believe it occurred (9 million years). That’s a negative argument against evolution, but there are numerous positive arguments for design that are even more convincing. Living Waters will be an exceptional documentary that will match or exceed the beauty of the earlier two, Metamorphosis and Flight, making for an outstanding trilogy that showcases intelligent design in different phyla of biology. Plan now to schedule showings for your group.

 

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