Sunday, 9 March 2014

Edible Frogs and Unintelligent Design.

Pelophylax kl. esculentus. Image: Grand-Duc, Wikipedia.
Here's a puzzle for the 'Intelligent Design' movement. All you have to do is explain the intelligence behind the design and say why ID is a better explanation than that offered by evolution theory.

Here are the facts (I hope that word hasn't put the IDiots off!):

The Edible Frog (Pelophylax kl. esculentus) is a name for a common European frog, also known as the Common Water Frog or Green Frog (however, this latter term is also used for the North American species Rana clamitans). It is used for food, particularly in France for the delicacy frog legs...

P. esculentus is endemic to Europe. It naturally occurs from the northern half of France to western Russia, and from Estonia and Denmark to Bulgaria and northern Italy. It is introduced in Spain and the United Kingdom. The natural range is nearly identical to that of P. lessonae...

Pelophylax kl. esculentus is the fertile hybrid of the Pool Frog (Pelophylax lessonae) and the Marsh Frog (Pelophylax ridibundus), hence the addition of the "kl." (for klepton) in the species name.

During the ice ages, the population of the common ancestor of both species was split into two. These populations diverged, but remained genetically close enough to be able to create fertile hybrids. However, when edible frogs mate with each other, their offspring are often malformed, so there are no pure populations of edible frogs.

The hybrid populations are propagated predominantly by female edible frogs mating with males of one of the parental species (P. kl. esculentus × P. lessonae or rarely × P. ridibundus).

Hybridogenesis implies that gametes of hybrids don't contain mixed parental genomes, as normally occurs by independent chromosome segregation and crossover in meiosis (see also second Mendel's law, recombination), but intact one of them or two. Usually because one entire genome of the parental species is excluded prior to meiosis during gametogenesis.

P. lessonae. Image:Piet Spaans.
P. ridibundus. Image: © Marie-Lan Nguyen.
Typical hybridization between pool frog (P. lessonae), marsh frog (P. ridibundus)
and their hybrid - edible frog (P. kl. esculentus, P. lessonae x P. ridibundus) in a
native LE (lessonae-esculentus) hybridogenetic population invaded additionally by
P. ridibundus. Predominant matings are P. kl. esculentus females x P. lessonae
males and P. ridibundus females x P. lessonae males. P. kl. esculentus x P. kl.
esculentus
crossings result in inviable P. ridibundus tadpoles and are not shown here.
Large circles - adult frogs, small circles - gametes.,
x - lack of gametes containing genome of one of parental species.
On a technical note, some authorities dispute the statement that there are no pure populations of P. esculentus because triploid P. esculentus individuals are common and can produce fertile offspring and so form pure populations, however these populations tend to be short-lived.

The reason this 'green frog complex' has arisen during the course of evolution is because during the production of gametes the frogs chromosomes do not exchange genes and so mix up their genomes. In P. esculentus there is one complete P. ridibundus set and one complete P. lessonae set. In a triploid form there will be two sets of one and one of the other. So, when they mate with one or the other parent species, they can produce offspring with the complete genome of eitherP. ridibundus or P. lessonae, or more P. esculentus.

Okay, so that's all straightforward so far. Nothing there that can't be explained in terms of evolution and perfectly natural things with no magic required. So, the question for creationists then is, why would an intelligent designer create edible frogs in such a bizarre and unorthodox fashion when it had designed a perfectly sensible way to produce other species with perfectly normal sexual reproduction? The supplementary question of course, is how is whatever explanation you manage to come up with better than the scientific one and what does it explain that the scientific one doesn't?

Incase you're wondering, I have eaten frog's legs. I found them slightly unpleasant tasting. Maybe I was unfortunate but I probably won't be eating them again through choice.

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1 comment :

  1. Reminds me of this saying: Why choose an easy and logical solution if you can have a more complicated and illocgical one?

    That's how God works IMHO.

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