Saturday, 17 April 2021

Evolution News - The Origin of the Amazonian River Stingrays Explained

A selection of Amazonian freshwater sting rays (Potamotrygoninae)
Stingrays in the Amazon were stranded there by the Caribbean Sea | New Scientist

An article in New Scientist, based on research by a team led by João Pedro Fontenelle of the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, explains the evolution of the 38 different species of freshwater stingray found in the Amazon river system.

The news poses serious problems for Creationists who believe Evolution by natural selection is impossible and special creation by magic is a better explanation for this sort of biodiversity.

These stingrays are unique in that they inhabit fresh water and are only found in South America. Theya re clearly related to the saltwater stingrays which are themselves related to the rays and sharks. They range in size from 25 centimetres to a metre across.

By analysing the genomes of 350 individuals across 35 of the 38 species to compare genetic differences between the different species, the team showed that they diverged from their saltwater relatives some 26 million years ago between the Oligocene and Miocene epochs. This coincides with a period during which the sea level was higher and this area of South America was a coastal swamp, with the Caribbean Sea intruding far inland. The Andese mountain range was slso lower, creating a wide lowland area west of the Amazon into which the sea could intrude, known to science as the Pabas Wetlands. The result was a mixture of freshwater, saltwater and brakish lagoons with a series of salt gradients, making it easy for marine species washed into these lagoons to adapt to fresh water.

Later, as see levels fell as water became locked up in the polar icecaps, and the Pabas receded, populations of stingrays would have become isolated, making it possible for these populations to diversify due to natural selection by local environments, and genetic drift.

The result is the 38 different species we see today, the inevitable result of these natural processes.

The problem for Creationists is that this is all very understandable in terms of evolutionary theory, and meshes neatly into what is known from other strands of science about sea level change and the environment in that place at that time, giving a perfectly rational, coherent explanation of what we see today. By contrast, there appears to be no reason why a magic creator, even if the existence of such an entity had a rational explanation, would create these species with genomes that just happened to look like they had diversified from a common marine ancestor some 26 million years ago and arranged the geology so it just happened to look like the conditions for this diversity had a consistent, scientific explanation which does not require magic or the existence of a magic creative entity.

The team's findings were published last March in the Journal of Biogeography, sadly behind a paywall.


If you're a Creationists and are beginning to have some doubts because of this tsunami of scientific evidence for evolution and none at all for Creationism, then you might benefit from reading these two books, that should help you understand the realities of nature and dispense with the fantasies and disinformation you've been fooled with by frauds with a political and financial agenda.

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