Necking in the Dark: Evolutionists Clueless about Giraffes
Evolutionary storytelling about giraffes’ long necks goes back before Darwin, but all the tales have one thing in common: they don’t work. Doesn’t matter. Evolution marches on.
Nature‘s Editorial this week should have been a supreme embarrassment. But when only evolutionary explanations are tolerated, those in power have no fear of shame. They can toss out various ‘narratives’ and ‘scenarios’ with alacrity, never needing to submit any of them to serious testing or debate. This editorial is a case in point: “Giraffes could have evolved long necks to keep cool,” the headline reads. “Another explanation offered for one of animal kingdom’s most distinctive features.”
How did the giraffe get its long neck? The obvious answer — and some of you are probably shouting it at the page or screen right now — is that it evolved as a benefit that allowed the animals to reach and eat higher leaves. Perhaps. Probably, even. That was certainly Charles Darwin’s explanation. But it’s not certain, and other possible origins for one of the animal kingdom’s most distinctive features are still a topic of debate among zoologists and evolutionary biologists alike.
So here in 2017, over 150 years since Darwin, evolutionists are still debating the neck of the giraffe. Further reading shows that no evolutionary theory works. Lamarck’s theory was wrong (that adults stretch their necks to reach higher leaves). Darwin’s theory was wrong (that necks evolved to be long first, then were found to be adaptive). Chapman Pincher’s 1948 theory was wrong (that the neck evolved so giraffes could reach water past their long legs; the authors claim that giraffe ancestors “had managed perfectly well with long legs and short necks for millions of years”). Sexual selection theories come and go (that females like long necks, or that males use them to battle for females).
Surprisingly, the Editors have something nice to say about Lamarck’s defunct theory: “The French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck suggested that giraffes’ necks became stretched as they constantly reached for foliage (an idea very much ahead of its time but for which he is sometimes unfairly ridiculed).” Maybe they refer to the fact that Darwin evolved to become more Lamarckian in later editions of the Origin. They wouldn’t want to indirectly disparage the hero of evolution.
The latest story getting the Editors’ vote is that giraffes keep cool with longer necks in arid environments.
And then there is thermoregulation. Originally, the suggestion was that long necks (and legs) significantly tilted the balance between volume and surface area that determines how quickly animals (and other bodies) gain and lose heat. Giraffes might look as if they have a larger than usual surface area compared with barrel shaped rhinos, elephants and others — but do they? It turns out that few people have tried to measure the surface area of enough giraffes to be sure. That’s what the scientists do in the latest study.
They looked at measurements made for dozens of giraffes culled in Zimbabwe. They found that, pound for pound, the surface area of a giraffe is actually no larger than would be expected for any other animal of the same mass. And the creatures are no better at keeping cool, until, the scientists go on to suggest, they turn to face the Sun — as many giraffes are seen to do on hot days.
That’s it. That’s the end of the Editorial. Sound convincing? What evolved, a behavior (turning to face the sun), or the neck? If this were a law of nature, every mammal in the same environment should either evolve a long neck, or learn to face the sun, or both. Why not just face the sun with a short neck? Why not just evolve to prefer shade? Why not evolve sunscreen, like the short-necked, fat hippos do? Why not evolve to live in the water, like the hippos? Why not evolve big ears to shed excess heat, like the elephants? Why not evolve to burrow underground? Why not become nocturnal? So many easier options exist for thermoregulation; why the long neck?
The Editors fail to list the numerous random mutations that would have had to occur to evolve a long neck. The heart would have to get much stronger. The vertebrae would have to expand. The skull would need an absorbent tissue to prevent the giraffe’s brains from exploding every time it bent over for a drink. Valves in the veins would have to check rapid downward flow when bending over. A giraffe with a long neck but none of these engineering changes existing simultaneously would die.
In the Journal of Creation last year, Jean K. Lightner compared neck vertebrae of okapi, giraffe and alleged intermediate fossil form Samotherium from a design perspective.
Update 9/20/17: A new paper in PLoS One announces new post-cranial bones (ossicone, astragalus and metatarsal) of members of the giraffe family. The bones, found in Pakistan, they claim cover 1.3 million years of the Miocene epoch. The paper, “The earliest ossicone and post-cranial record of Giraffa,” contains a surprise (but not to creationists). Has the giraffe evolved? No; the fossils “demonstrate that the genus has been morphologically consistent over 9 million years.” The paper has nothing to say about evolution, Darwin, Lamarck or natural selection. Their last sentence affirms this was a surprise: “The described specimens are the first and only Miocene non dental material of Giraffa known, and are pivotal in our understanding of the ever-surprising genus.”
The Nature editorial is so inane, it almost seems like the Editors are asking for spitballs and tomatoes. But nobody will shoot their ideas down, because they live behind impregnable walls that skeptical volleys cannot penetrate. Having outlawed all voices from intelligent design or creation scientists, the Darwin guards can just tell stories all they want, laugh, and get away with it. The lapdog media will be sure to honor them appropriately for their wisdom and scientific insight.
Like Dr Bergman wrote yesterday, criticism of Darwinism is forbidden because it is politically incorrect. King Charlie’s domain is a totalitarian regime, where non-cooperators are Expelled to fend for themselves outside the walls of the castle. DODOs laugh among themselves, but never take a hit for their silly, unscientific stories. Do they hate creationists all the time? No, because they never hear them. How can you hate a non-entity?
In Darwin Fantasyland, giraffes evolved long necks for one materialistic, unguided reason or another. How doesn’t matter. Stuff happens.