Big Whale and Bigger Evolutionary Tale
Scientists aren’t sure what they are looking at
but evolutionary theory isn’t helping
Any announcement claiming that the “biggest animal of all time” has been discovered deserves some news coverage. Nature and popular science websites are talking about a whale fossil from Peru that could fit that description. The “biggest animal” award depends on interpretation of bones, but Darwinism isn’t helping.
A really big fossil whale (Nature News, 2 Aug 2023). The subtitle will tell readers if Darwinism is helping the paleontologists figure out what they uncovered.
A newly discovered fossil of an extinct whale from Peru indicates that the animal’s skeleton was unexpectedly enormous. This finding challenges our understanding of body-size evolution.
Could this ancient whale be the heaviest animal ever? (Nature News, 2 Aug 2023). Emma Maris reports on the find, clarifying that the beast may have been the heaviest animal ever, but maybe not the longest.
It is a big news day for palaeontologists, as well as for kids who memorize science facts. The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is no longer indisputably the heaviest animal to have ever lived. A newly described fossilized whale named Perucetus colossus, dating to roughly 38 million years ago, might have been heavier than a blue whale, even if it was not as long.
Her article includes artwork of the beast with imaginary front legs. Notice what bones were actually found:
Blue whales, which are endangered, weigh about 100 to 150 tonnes, although some might be as heavy as 200 tonnes. Perucetus colossus was between 85 and 340 tonnes, according to the scientists who found and described the remains: 13 vertebrae, 4 ribs and a bit of pelvis … Their best-guess estimate is that the whale was around 180 tonnes. This mind-boggling mass is the result of its bones, which were big and dense — an evolutionary adaptation that helped it to dive. The researchers report the find today in Nature.
Ancient whale might have been the heaviest animal that ever lived (New Scientist, 2 Aug 2023). Reporter Chen Ly also uses the artwork in her report. The bones were first noticed in 2010 sticking out of a hillside in Peru, she says. She must be in error about the estimated date of the fossil, though. saying, “From carbon dating of the surrounding sediment, the team estimates that the specimen is around 39 million years old.” Radiocarbon cannot last beyond 100,000 years if its decay rate has been constant.
The density of the bones gave the scientists their clue as to the whale’s weight, but other scientists admit that it’s hard to infer body weight and size from bones alone.
The team reconstructed a model of what the complete skeleton might have looked like by comparing the bones with those of similar species that lived at the time. The researchers then determined that the fossil belonged to a new species of whale, which they named Perucetus colossus. Based on the closely related ancient whale Cynthiacetus peruvianus, they suggest it had a small head relative to its massive body.
Latin names are funny; the scientific name only means “colossal Peruvian whale.” The other name is “Peruvian whale from Cynthia,” the name of a town in Missouri where the type specimen was found. That one had a large skull and big teeth. Both are classified as basilosaurids, a group of extinct whales that were fully aquatic. The latter had intact front limbs (source).
Darwin Has No Idea
The unhelpfulness of evolution is shown by the following paragraph. See that Darwin’s Stuff Happens Law did not predict any of the features of the whale, but only assumes they evolved, and tries to paint a Darwinian story onto the observations after the fact.
Deep-diving whales have evolved the ability to completely empty their lungs when plunging into the abyss, but P. colossus probably lived in shallow coastal areas, based in part on what scientists know about ancient oceans. This means that it would have dived with air in its lungs — typical behaviour for shallow divers, the researchers say. For P. colossus, however, having all that air in its body would have made it difficult to stay at the bottom of the sea floor without some ballast, which is why it might have evolved such heavy bones. During the Eocene epoch, most marine resources would have been at the bottom of the ocean, says co-author Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi, a palaeontologist at Cayetano Heredia University in Lima. But whether the ancient whale ate seagrass, molluscs, the carcasses of other animals or something else entirely remains a mystery.
The paragraph misunderstands evolution. The creature did not say to itself, ‘I need some ballast to stay at the bottom of the sea floor. I think I’ll evolve some heavy bones.’ There is no purpose or guidance in Darwin’s theory.
Paper: Bianucci et al., A heavyweight early whale pushes the boundaries of vertebrate morphology. (Nature, 2 Aug 2023). The Abstract reveals that the size of this whale was not predicted by evolution.
Although an elongate body was acquired early in cetacean evolution, the maximum body mass of baleen whales reflects a recent diversification that culminated in the blue whale. More generally, hitherto known gigantism among aquatic tetrapods evolved within pelagic, active swimmers.
No matter what the size of a creature, it evolved. No matter if it swam shallow or deep, it evolved. Even if he is clueless, Darwin can’t lose.
Extinction is not evolution. God created many more creatures in the beginning than are alive today. There was a catastrophic change to the Earth, remember?
For reasons why the evolutionists’ whale of a tale doesn’t hold water, see this video from the “Long Story Short” series.