F Rosa Rubicondior: Neanderthals and Mammoths Refute Creationism Again

Tuesday 9 April 2019

Neanderthals and Mammoths Refute Creationism Again

News Page (Archaeology) - American Friends of Tel Aviv University

The news from science is never good news for creationism, but that's the problem with having opinions which are not based on reality.

This little item from Tel Aviv University, for example, shatters several creationist myths. It shows the fallacy behind the claim that all mutations are harmful and result in degradation (or 'increased entropy') in the genome. It shows common ancestry between two distantly related mammals; it shows how environmental change drives evolution and it shows how mutation does not inevitably lead to a loss of function.

The discovery by Ran Barkai and Meidad Kislev of TAU's Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures is that woolly mammoths and Neanderthals, whose ancestors were both African species, share similar genetic adaptation to cold environments. Neanderthals evolved in Eurasia about 400,000 years ago and woolly mammoths evolved about 600,000 years ago in northern Eurasia.

The researchers, whose results were published yesterday in the Human Biology, regrettably behind a paywall, reviewed three case studies of relevant gene variants and alleles associated with cold climate adaptation. The first was the LEPR gene, involved in thermoregulation and distribution of fatty tissues and fat storage; the second was of genes related to keratin production; the third to skin and hair pigmentation variants in the genes MC1R and SLC7A11.

Their results show a remarkable convergence in these three areas with similar adaptive changes seen in both species. In addition to these adaptations to a colder environment than that in which their ancestors lived, the team also point to other areas of similarity between the two species:
  • Both species have large brains.
  • Both have relatively long lives.
  • Both have complex social system.

It is likely then that other similar species with similar shared characteristics will also show similar convergence.

The fact of similar adaptations of the same genes to the same environmental factors shows the role of the environment in selecting from changes in the same genes, present in both species because of shared ancestry as mammals. Selection from amongst variants is only possible due to mutation to produce these variants in the first place, and, manifestly since the environment selected similar variants across two different species, these mutations cannot plausibly be described as detrimental or involving any loss of function.

Once again creationism is refuted by scientists simply revealing the facts. Once Again, creationists will have to ignore the truth.

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