January 8, 2018 | David F. Coppedge

Animals Don’t Respect Darwin

Living things owe no obligation to Darwin. They will break his laws with reckless abandon.

Is it a law of nature if there are more exceptions than rules? Evolutionists since Darwin took his bait and ran with it, inventing corollaries to his ‘law’ of natural selection and making predictions. Animals aren’t listening. They have laws of their own.

Study shows treeshrews break evolutionary ‘rules’ (Phys.org). The tree shrews of southeast Asia never heard of Bergmann’s rule, and don’t care to. Neither do they care about the evolutionary ‘island rule’ that predicts how animal sizes will evolve on islands. Here’s what these evolutionary rules predict:

The island rule predicts that populations of small mammals evolve larger body size on islands than on the mainland, whereas island-bound large mammals evolve smaller body size than their mainland counterparts. Bergmann’s rule holds that populations of a species in colder climates—generally located at higher latitudes—have larger body sizes than populations in warmer climates, which are usually at lower latitudes.

So what did researchers find out about tree shrews? Looking at 260 specimens collected on offshore islands near the Malay Peninsula over 120 years, they found the animals breaking the law:

They found that the island rule and Bergmann’s rule, which are rarely tested together, do not apply to common treeshrews.

The study revealed no size difference between mainland and island populations. It also revealed that treeshrews invert Bergmann’s rule: individuals from lower latitudes tended to be larger than those located at higher latitudes.

And yet the researchers still believe that their work is critical for “understanding underlying mechanisms of evolutionary patterns.”

The locomotion of hominins in the Pleistocene was just as efficient as that of current humans (Science Daily). Who could forget the iconic “march of man” from the apes? An evolutionary prediction seems to jump out of the sequence: locomotion should be getting better as primates evolve. Not. They walked just fine, this study finds.

Traditionally, it was thought that the leaner skeletons of modern humans reflected biomechanical advantages which made locomotion a more efficient activity. The slimmer pelvis of our species entails greater difficulty for childbirth, but it reduces the force the abductor muscles of the hip have to exert to maintain the stability of the pelvis while walking.

Nevertheless, as Marco Vidal Cordasco, lead author of this article, entitled Energetic cost of walking in fossil hominins, explains: “That doesn’t imply that the hominins with wider pelvises expend more energy walking. In fact, the results obtained show that wider pelvises, at the height of the iliac crest, allow the energy cost of locomotion to be significantly lower.

Is the iconic march heading the wrong way? The lesson seems to be that we would be better off doing the hominin walk.

A classic Darwinian ecological hypothesis holds up — with a twist (Science Daily). This headline needs translation from Darwinese, which tends to make Charlie look good. A better translation might be, “A twist on a classic Darwinian ecological hypothesis turns it sideways.” The leading paragraphs also need translation:

New University of Colorado Boulder-led research shows that a long-held hypothesis about the factors that govern species ranges largely holds true, but may be the result of a previously underappreciated ecological mechanism.

The prediction, first iterated by Charles Darwin in 1859, holds that climate factors will limit species expansion in more stressful environments (such as cold or dry regions), but that interactions with other species, like competition and pollination, will limit a species range in less stressful environments, where the climate is more temperate.

It’s a prediction fluid enough to be confirmed by anything, and that’s what the researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder found: “there is a nuance to the commonly held model,” which means that the model is flawed. The research lead says, “Darwin and others have said that what drives this pattern is gradients in density or diversity of interacting species, but instead it seems to be effects of stress on growth, survival, reproduction and germination of the plant species.” If you look at the reported results, Darwin’s prediction works, except when it doesn’t. Quick! Distract the reader with talk of climate change!

The Stuff Happens Law (natural selection) is flexible enough to absorb any blow to the Darwinian web of belief. No matter the anomaly, Darwinism always survives the blows. The Darwinians never lose faith. They just say that the latest research helps increase their “understanding” of evolutionary processes. We ought to ask whether they understand anything. Remember the fallacy of confirmation bias? That, too, works—except when it doesn’t.

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