November 24, 2023 | David F. Coppedge

Spotted and Striped: Why Many Animals Have Elaborate Patterns

Evolutionists are at a loss to explain
the patterns that adorn many diverse animals


Bird watching and wildlife viewing is satisfying partly because of the beauty seen in animal coats: the stripes, spots, and colorful garb worn by many. Whether on butterflies, birds, tropical fish, reptiles or mammals, life is a kaleidoscope of patterns. Creationists find beauty in these patterns because they believe they were designed by God. Evolutionists look for unguided natural mechanisms that make the patterns without foresight or design. Do they succeed?

How animals get their stripes and spots (Colorado University at Boulder, 8 Nov 2023). The formula “how [something] got its [trait]” warns you that a Kipling-like just-so story is coming.

Biologists have previously shown that many animals evolved to have coat patterns to camouflage themselves or attract mates. While genes encode pattern information like the color of a leopard’s spots, genetics alone do not explain where exactly the spots will develop, for example.

No, biologists have not shown that animals “evolved to have coat patterns.” Any biologist talking like that doesn’t understand evolution. Nothing “evolves to” do something, because the directionality in the phrase suggests foresight and purpose. In Darwinism, stuff happens – that’s all. If something survives, it was due to sheer dumb luck, because random mutations and natural selection couldn’t care less. They are mindless, remember?

The 15-minute hero of the press release, Ankur Gupta, points to an oscillation process, described by Alan Turing, that can account for some repetitive patterns developing in the embryo. But look at the Ornate Boxfish in the article with its purple hexagons and yellow borders and see if any mindless, repetitive law of nature can do that. Programmed systems like ink-jet printers can create ornate patterns, but not unguided ones. Did Gupta pause to consider that the process that created that fish pattern had been programmed? No. Minds design programs, but evolution cannot program anything.

Gupta ran some computer simulations that produced hexagons, proving that it can be done by (his) intelligent design. He extrapolates his meager result to explain the living world of patterns.

The team’s theory suggests that when chemical agents diffuse through tissue as Turing described, they also drag pigment-producing cells with them through diffusiophoresis—just like soap pulls dirt out of laundry. These pigment cells form spots and stripes with a much sharper outline.

Decades after Turing proposed his seminal theory, scientists have used the mechanism to explain many other patterns in biology, such as the arrangement of hair follicles in mice and the ridges in the roof of the mouth of mammals.

Watch this animation of plant phyllotaxis by Cristobal Vila to see that there is much more to pattern formation than diffusion. Take, for instance, the intricate mathematics involved.

Gupta’s paper with help from a colleague was published in Science Advances. As expected, it’s all evolutionary: design without a designer by the Stuff Happens Law. Enamored with Turing’s diffusion theory, he extended it to all of life—by mindless evolution, of course.

For instance, further exploration of biological systems could reveal more instances where diffusiophoresis contributes to pattern formation such as embryo morphogenesis and early life, which could subsequently lead to a better understanding of how these patterns emerge, evolve, and adapt in different species.

Ah yes, understanding: the elusive prize that exists only in the imaginations of Darwinians. They chase after it like snipe hunters in the dark, promising they will bag it someday in futureware.

Prey may safely graze. Wildebeest and zebra, South Africa.

Development shapes the evolutionary diversification of rodent stripe patterns (Staps et al., PNAS, 23 Oct 2023). Princeton Darwinists got into the just-so story business with their own version. Like Gupta’s, it’s all evolutionary, partially understood, and answered only in futureware. They turn up the perhapsimaybecouldness index to facilitate their imaginations (after imbibing some Darwine). Restricting their purview to rodents, they ask,

How and why did diverse animal color patterns evolve? Explanations for pattern diversification typically emphasize the ecological forces that select for color patterns (e.g., camouflage or sexual selection). However, pattern diversification may also critically depend on the developmental mechanisms that provide the substrate for pattern evolution. Here, drawing on empirical advances, we explore theoretically how development shapes rodent pattern diversification. We show that pattern diversification can indeed be partly explained by underlying developmental mechanisms. Specifically, development can both facilitate and constrain pattern evolution by enabling evolutionary changes in stripe number while limiting changes in stripe positioning. Thus, by integrating developmental data, models of pattern formation, and empirical data on pattern diversity, our work helps bridge the gap between pattern evolution and pattern development.

Evolution (mentioned 5 times in this one paragraph) must be remembered as blind, careless, and shortsighted. It is a catch-all term for explanation by chance, which is no explanation at all. This paragraph begins their repetition of evolution 136 times throughout the paper. They effectively toss all understanding of this wonder of nature into Darwin’s miracle bin.

Art Without an Artist

The concluding discussion in the paper leaves much to the imagination.

Positional information—in the form of pre-established morphogen gradients that guide pattern formation—allows the model to recapitulate the high interindividual reproducibility that sets rodents apart from mammals with more variable stripe patterns, such as zebras and tigers. At the same time, reaction–diffusion unlocks the power of self-organization, thereby allowing patterns to diversify evolutionarily through changes in developmental parameters….

How did patterns evolve, then? By “pattern evolution,” stupid. Don’t you get it?

If rodents are equipped with a developmental toolkit that is flexible enough to generate multiple patterns, how can we understand the specific patterns that evolved in individual lineages? The ecological forces driving pattern evolution likely played a critical role, by selecting for patterns that are well-suited for particular environments….

Our findings therefore help illuminate the role of development in pattern evolution at the level of individual lineages, although ultimately more empirical work is needed to explain the evolution of specific patterns.

Keep the funding coming. We’ll figure it out some day.

**Sigh**. The racket goes on and on.

For relief, watch this Illustra short video about peacock tails. Did the environment “select” this work of art? Was Darwin up to the task of explaining it?


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