F Rosa Rubicondior: August 2023

Thursday 31 August 2023

Creationism in Crisis - Scientists Use Algae to Work Out How Plants Evolved in 600 Million Years

Mesotaenium endlicherianum
Closest to the first algae to colonize the land
Press release: Algae provide clues about 600 million years of plant evolution

No doubt to the discomfort of creationists, a team of researchers led by Professor Jan de Vries of the University of Göttingen, Germany, have worked out how terrestrial plants have evolved in the 600 million years since the first marine algae colonize the land. This colonization is believed to have occurred just once, so all terrestrial plants are descended from that single colonizing species.

Note the question was not whether, but how this evolutionary process occurred. There was never a shadow of doubt that it was an evolutionary process in which there was no evidence of magic or supernatural interference with chemistry and physics.

Using the results of a series of experiments that have been running in the research lab in Gottingen for over 25 years, the team were able to identify key evolutionary changes that occurred as a prequel to land colonization and which are still to be found in terrestrial plants after 600 million years of evolutionary diversification.

Creationists must now draw on their repertoire of rehearsed dismissals of the science to cope with these finding and maintain the myth that land plants were created as is in one day about 8000 years ago, and have not evolved since:
  • Redefine evolution ("They're still plants!").
  • The dates are wrong ("Radiometric dating is flawed; it wasn’t hundreds of millions; it was just hundreds of years!").
  • The scientists are lying ("It's a Satanic conspiracy to turn people away from Jesus!")

First a little AI background on marine algae and when the transition to terrestrial living occurred:

Wednesday 30 August 2023

Creationism in Crisis - 520 Million-Year-Old Common Ancestor of Crustaceans and Insects Found in the Fossil Record

Artists impression of Kylinxia zhangi in life
X. Wang
Three-eyed distant relative of insects and crustaceans reveals amazing detail of early animal evolution | News | University of Leicester

A team from the University of Leicester, Yunnan Key Laboratory for Palaeobiology and the Institute of Palaeontology at Yunnan University, Chengjiang Fossil Museum, and the Natural History Museum in London, have redescribed a unique fossil animal from rocks nearly 520 million years old that fills in a gap in our understanding of the evolution of animals known as arthropods.

The animal, Kylinxia zhangi, simply shouldn’t be there if creationists claims were true. It is from almost 520 million years before Earth and the life on it was created and its one of those 'transitional' species showing characteristics of not just two different species, but two entire classes of the arthropod phylum. As such, of course, they are evidence of the evolutionary common origin of those two classes within the major taxon.

They're the sort of species that would have any creationist scratching their heads and declaring, "But they're still er... insects.... er... crustaceans"! before hurriedly redefining 'kind' as a major taxonomic class that includes hundreds of thousands of disparate species with different appendages and body plans of the sort that the same creationist will assure you can't have evolved because 'macro-evolution', i.e., evolving new appendages, body plans, etc., is impossible, while 'micro-evolution, i.e., evolution within the same 'kind' is now perfectly possible. 25 years ago, it was impossible until they realised no Ark could be big enough to contain 2 (or 7)of each known and extinct species.

So, the standard knee-jerk response will be necessary: the scientists lied; the scientists got the dates wrong; the dating techniques are flawed; the scientists are part of a world-wide satanic conspiracy to turn people away from Jesus - even the Chines scientists for whom Jesus and Satan are as mythical as are the Chinese Taoist gods to an American Christian fundamentalist.

But, leaving aside the arrogant cultural chauvinism in assuming the locally popular god in America is the only real one, I wonder how many creationists can explain why the dating methods used were wrong by many orders of magnitude, returning dates in the hundreds of millions of years when the real date should have been about 4,000 years.

The find and its significance is explained in a University of Leicester news release:

Tuesday 29 August 2023

Creationism in Crisis - New Zealand Fossil Hoard From 3 million years Before Creationists Believe Life was Created

Shell fossils from the Māngere Shellbed fossil fauna.
Auckland wastewater pipe dig reveals 'fossil treasure trove' - Taylor & Francis Newsroom

Not only is the age of these marine fossils a problem for creationism, so is the composition. It's a central dogma of creationism that all fossil deposits and rock strata are the result of a single genocidal flood in which 'all living substance' was destroyed - including and especially terrestrial animals, so any deposit of fossils resulting from that alleged flood should contain terrestrial species and plants. Not only that, but they should be from all over the globe, not just the local fauna because in a global flood there would be no barriers and dead animals would be free to float anywhere.

And yet here we have a fossil deposit consisting wholly of marine species from a particular time, found in a narrow range of habitats local to New Zealand at that time. There are no Eurasian, African or American species and not even any Australian species - from just a short float away.

The fossils were found by workers laying a new wastewater pipeline in a major civil engineering project. The find and its significance is described in research paper in the Taylor & Francis journal New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics and an accompanying news release by Taylor & Francis:

Saturday 26 August 2023

Unintelligent Design News - How the Human Y Chromosome Evolved

The 'weird' male Y chromosome has finally been fully sequenced. Can we now understand how it works, and how it evolved?

An international team of scientists led by researchers from the National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA, together with colleagues from the University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, USA, the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA, have finally completed the task of sequencing the entire human Y chromosome from end to end or T2T (Telomere-to-Telomere). This completes the entire human genome now sequenced T2T.

Unsurprisingly, they found that most of the DNA was non-functional junk, containing the remnants of ancient retroviruses and duplicated genes that had then mutated.

The X and Y chromosomes, or sex chromosomes, are how gender is determined in humans and other mammals. Females have two copies of the X chromosome while males have one of each. Males inherit their Y chromosome from their father.

The significance of the research, and how it informs our understanding of the evolution of the Y chromosome from one of the two X chromosomes that females carry is the subject of an article in The Conversation by Professor Jenny Graves Jenny Graves, La Trobe University, Australia. Her article is reprinted here under a Creative Commons Licence, reformatted for stylistic consistency:

Friday 25 August 2023

Creationism in Crisis - Science is Revising Its Thinking About Human Origins - But It's No Comfort For Creationists

Graecopithecus freybergi, possibly a contemporary of Andoluvius turkae, lived 7.2 million years ago in the dust-laden savannah of the Athens Basin. (Artist's impression)

Image credit: Velizar Simeonovski.
New ancient ape from Türkiye challenges the story of human origins | Faculty of Arts & Science

Science might have the human evolutionary story wrong. But before creationists get over-excited, no-one is suggesting it was all done by magic without any ancestors just a few thousand years ago. The new thinking is over the where, not the how of evolution. That humans and the other apes evolved from a common ancestor is not in any doubt. The question is only where that common ancestor lived - Eurasia or Africa?

This discovery in Turkey adds support to the idea that the African apes, including humans, evolved from an ancestor that migrated into Africa from Eurasia via the Eastern Mediterranean, between 9 and 7 million years ago, having evolved in Western Europe and lived there for some 5 million years.

The news release from the University of Toronto, where the leader of an international team, Professor David Begun, is based, explains the find and its significance for the human evolution story:

Unintelligent Design - A Ludicrously Complex Method for A Parasitic Orchid to Get Its Flowers Pollinated

The non-photosynthetic, parasitic orchid, Gastrodia foetida
Fungi-eating plants and flies team up for reproduction | Research at Kobe

A characteristic of evolved systems is that they tend towards increasing complexity, the antithesis of an intelligently designed system, which should be minimally complex for the simple reason that complexity is expensive in terms of energy and resource, and more likely to go wrong.

Unnecessary complexity and prolific waste, which are normal components of evolved systems, are the strongest arguments against intelligent design and for a mindless, utilitarian, near-enough-is-good-enough, process such as evolution by natural selection.

And just such a case of quite ludicrous complexity has been revealed by Kenji Suetsugu of Kobe University Graduate School of Science, Kobe, Japan.

Sadly, the paper in Ecology is behind a paywall, however the research and its significance is the subject of Kobe University press release:

Thursday 24 August 2023

Creationism in Crisis - Another 'Uniquely Human' Trait is Also Present in Bonobos

Bonobo, Pan Paniscus Shares 'uniquely human' trait

Photo: Leon Harberkorn
Deutsches Primatenzentrum: Bonobos grow similarly to humans

The problem creationists have with trying to maintain the myth that humans are a special creation by citing uniquely human traits, is that science keeps on showing that these are not unique after all, and in fact support the idea of common origins.

One such 'uniquely human' trait was thought to be the adolescent growth spurt where children have a rapid increase in height soon after puberty. Now researchers led by Dr. Verena Behringe of the Endocrinology lab at the German Primate Center (DPZ), Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Göttingen, Germany, have shown that our closest relatives, bonobos, Pan paniscus, have a similar growth spurt at a similar stage in the development and that other primates may also have similar growth spurts.

The research is explained in a DPZ News release:

Creationism in Crisis - Cave Art in Borneo From 35,000 Years Before Earth Existed (According to Creationists)

Gua Sireh, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia
This cave on Borneo has been used for 20,000 years – and we’ve now dated rock art showing colonial resistance 400 years ago

According to creationists, about 8-10,000 years ago a god made of nothing made everything in the Universe out of nothing using nothing more than magic words. It also created humans and all the other animals a few days later. Then, in a fit of anger because its creation hadn't turned out the way it had designed it, it killed almost all of it in a genocidal flood, reducing the human population of Earth to just 8 related people.

While all that was happening, there were people using a large cave in Sarawak on the island of Borneo, in Malaysia from 35-43,000 years before Earth existed and up until and including European colonisation about 400 years ago. These people left a record of their existence and cultural history in the form of drawings on the cave wall. There is no record of a genocidal flood, and nothing about a god creating other people about 10,000 years ago.
But, according to creationists, just a few thousand years ago the island of Borneo was repopulated by people from the Middle East, who, although all descended from 8 related individuals of Middle Eastern origin, mysteriously adopted the same artistic style as the antediluvian population, forgot all about the genocidal flood and the god who caused it, invented their own gods and continued as though nothing unusual had happened.

That is the sort of mental gymnastics a creationist needs to perform to avoid the dreadful prospect of wondering if they could be wrong.

First, a little about the caves in Sarawak and the art and artifacts found in them:

Wednesday 23 August 2023

Creationism in Crisis - How a Deleterious Gene Can Survive in a Population

Coyote tobacco, Nicotiana attenuata

It all depends on the genetic diversity | Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

Mutations in genes that are essential for defence against predator attack are usually deleterious and would be expected to be quickly eliminated from a population, however, occasionally, the same mutation can convey an advantage which it is able to assert in conditions where predator populations are low, and this is especially true if wide genetic diversity within the population makes it more likely that the mutation can operate synergistically with other genes.

This can lead to a dynamic situation in which, in periods of low predation, the mutation can increase, or at least remain at a stable level in the population, and, in periods of high predation, it can be reduced. This dynamic can result in deleterious genes being retained in a population for much longer than would be expected if they were wholly deleterious.

An example of this was found recently by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany, in a wild member of the tobacco family, Nicotiana attenuata. Their finding is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS)

The research and its significance are explained in a press release:

How Science Works (And Why Creationism Doesn't) - The Peer Review Process Explained

10 Stages of the Peer Review Process: A Step-by-Step Guide for Authors | The International journal of Innovative Research & Development

Creationist frauds tell their dupes that the scientific process of peer review, is a device to ensure conformity to scientific dogma and to prevent unorthodox (i.e., creationist) opinions from being published in respected journals.

This helps maintain the delusion that there is real scientific support for creationism and that many more scientists are really creationists than is apparent from the scientific literature.

It also plays to conspiracism, which is a normal component of creationism, caused by the same childish teleological thinking defect in an adult, by helping to maintain the delusion that scientists and publishers of scientific journals, periodicals and books, and their staff, are all part of a gigantic international Satanic conspiracy to turn people away from God and destroy people's trust in the church and the Bible.

The truth is that peer review is simply a device to ensure the research was conducted with sufficient rigor and proper controls, that the authors have provided the required standard of evidence to support their claims and that their conclusions are indeed supported by the evidence. It also helps insure against plagiarism since the expert reviewers will very likely be aware of the work of others in their field of expertise.

Here, for example is the peer-review process as outlined in a blog by the International Journal of Innovative Research and Development (IJIRD):

Tuesday 22 August 2023

Creationism in Crisis - Urban Great Tits Have Beome Paler Than Their Rural Relatives

European great tit, Parus major.
Urban great tits have paler plumage than their forest-living relatives | Lund University

In an example of how the environment, and in this case probably the availability of different food items, can cause changes on which natural selection can act, a study by an international team or reserchers led by Pablo Salmón of Lund University, Sweden, has shown that great tits, Parus major living in an urban environment have paler breasts than those living in a forest environment.

Although this is probably not an evolutionary change, i.e., a change in the frequency of alleles in the population gene pools, as the cause is probably dietary difference, it illustrates how an environmental change can produce changes in features on which natural selection can act to bring about true evolutionary changes, and so begin the process of allopatric speciation.

Of course, there will be creationists who will misrepresent the scientific fact of evolution, either deliberately, or mendaciously in order to mislead others, who will dismiss this as "not evolution", not for the reason given above but because "they're still great tits/still birds" and haven't grown a new structure or turned into an unrelated taxon.

The research is explained in a Lund University press release:

Sunday 20 August 2023

Creationism in Crisis - Why Our Ancestors Evolved to Walk Upright - 21 Million Years Before Creationists Believe Earth Existed

Morotopithecus bishopii
Wooded grasslands flourished in Africa 21 million years ago – new research forces a rethink of ape evolution

Scientists are changing their mind about when and why the ancestors of hominins evolved to walk upright - but it's no comfort for creationists, as it all happened 21 million years before they believe Earth existed and only needs the standard Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection to explain it.

There is no doubt about how it evolved. Needless to say, as always, the paleoanthropologists found nothing that needed magic or a supernatural deity to explain it.

The scientists have published their findings in two papers in Science, one by a team led by Daniel Peppe, Associate Professor, Department of Geosciences, Baylor University, and the second led by Laura M. MacLatchy, Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan.

Three of Laura MacLatchy's team have written about their research in The Conversation. Their article is reprinted here under a Creative Commons license, reformatted for stylistic consistency:

Saturday 19 August 2023

Creationism in Crisis - Fijian Folk Tale Has Nothing About a Global Flood or The God Who Allegedly Caused It!

Nabukelevu, Kadav, Fiji.
Eruption remembered in riddles and fantastical oral traditions.
A dramatic volcano eruption changed lives in Fiji 2,500 years ago. 100 generations have kept the story alive

2,500 years ago, just 1,500 years after creationists believe the human population of the world had been reduced to just 8 people in a genocidal flood, there was a volcanic eruption on one end of the island of Kadavu in the south of the group of Pacific islands now known as the Fijian Islands.

The people who were already living there, having presumably migrated there from the Middle East in just 1,500 years, remembered the details of the eruption and passed them on, complete with the local gods to whom they attributed the events, not in writing, but encoded in riddles and a symbolic oral tradition which "included fantastic beings flying through the sky, fighting each another furiously and noisily, drinking the ocean dry, and throwing giant spears with force enough to leave massive holes in rocky headlands", according to research by a group of scientists including Professor Patrick Nunn of the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia.

Curiously, if the Bible tales of a global flood had been true, people to whom a local volcanic eruption was such an important event in their history that they remembered it in such an elaborate way, regarded a genocidal global flood as not worth a mention, and the god who allegedly caused it as unworthy of inclusion in their pantheon.

This is the ludicrously unlikely scenario that creationists have to try to rationalise in order to avoid considering that their favourite Bronze Age fairy tales are anything other than literal truths.

The research which has decoded the Fijian oral traditions is the subject of an article by Professor Nunn in The Conversation. His article is reprinted here under a Creative Commons licence, reformatted for stylistic consistency:

Creationism in Crisis - A Mass Extinction in Southern California, 7000 Years Before Creationists Think Earth Was Created!

Illustration depicting the hunting behavior of La Brea carnivores, including saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, and coyotes.

Credit: Mauricio Antón
Scientists Zero In On Timing, Causes Of Ice Age Mammal Extinctions In Southern California - Texas A&M Today

It’s hardly surprising anymore because all but the most recent history of Earth took place millions, even billions of years before Earth was created, according to Creationists’ literal reading of the Bronze Age creation myth recorded in the Bible, but here we have evidence of a sudden mass extinction in Southern California, not by a genocidal global flood, but by rapid climate change, human activity and devastating regional fires.

This is the conclusion of a detailed study by a team of scientists that included Texas A&M University archaeologist, Dr. Michael Waters. The team focused on the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits.

First a little AI information about the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits:
The Rancho La Brea Tar Pits

The Rancho La Brea Tar Pits, also known as the La Brea Tar Pits, is a famous fossil excavation site located in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles, California, USA. It is one of the most significant paleontological sites in the world and has provided an incredible wealth of information about the prehistoric life that existed in the region during the Pleistocene epoch. Here are some key points about the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits:
  1. Formation: The tar pits were formed as a result of crude oil seeping to the surface from underground deposits. The oil would bubble up to the surface, forming pools of sticky asphalt or tar. These pools were often covered by water, leaves, and other debris, which attracted animals that became trapped in the tar.
  2. Fossil Preservation: The unique conditions of the tar pits resulted in excellent preservation of the trapped animals. The tar's stickiness trapped animals, and the lack of oxygen and bacteria in the tar slowed down decomposition. Over time, bones and other remains of animals accumulated in the pits.
  3. Prehistoric Fauna: The tar pits contain a wide variety of fossils, including those of mammals, birds, reptiles, and plants. Some of the most common animals found in the pits include dire wolves, saber-toothed cats, mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths, and various species of birds.
  4. Research and Discoveries: Excavations at the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits began in the early 20th century. The first scientific excavations took place in the early 1900s, and since then, thousands of fossils have been recovered. These fossils have provided invaluable insights into the animals that lived in the Los Angeles area during the Pleistocene epoch, which occurred approximately 10,000 to 40,000 years ago.
  5. Page Museum: The George C. Page Museum, now known as the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, was established in 1977 near the tar pits. It houses a vast collection of fossils and artifacts recovered from the site. The museum also includes exhibits that provide information about the history of the tar pits, the animals that were trapped there, and the science of paleontology.
  6. Active Excavations: Despite decades of research and excavation, the tar pits are still actively studied and excavated. New discoveries continue to shed light on the ancient ecosystem of the region.
  7. Public Engagement: The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum offers educational programs, guided tours, and interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages. It's a popular destination for tourists, students, and researchers interested in paleontology and natural history.
The Rancho La Brea Tar Pits are a unique and invaluable resource for understanding the ancient history of Southern California and the diverse range of life that once inhabited the region. The site's ongoing excavations and research contribute to our understanding of prehistoric ecosystems and the interactions between humans and the environment during that time.

ChatGPT3.5 "Tell me all about the Rancho La Brea tarpit" [Response to user request]
Retrieved from https://chat.openai.com/
The work of the scientists is explained in a news release from Texas A&M:

Creationism in Crisis - Finish Scientists Have Worked out How Modern Elephant Teeth Evolved - It Was Darwininian Natural Selection, Obviously!

Elephant ancestors´ teeth evolved in response to long term changes in diet and climate in Africa | University of Helsinki

In marked contrast to the childish creationists superstition that a magic supernatural man in the sky created everything as is, including Earth itself, about 8-10,000 years ago, two research palaeontologists at the University of Helsinki, Finland, have shown that the proboscideans, which includes modern elephants, their ancestors, and ancient relatives, evolved their teeth in response to environmental changes in East Africa over a period of between 20 and 7 million years ago.

They have published their findings, open access in the Journal, Nature Ecology & Evolution.

As we have come to expect, there is not a hint in their research that elephant teeth are the result of anything other than an evolutionary process, driven, as the Theory of Evolution predicts, by environmental change. There is never a hint that magic played any part in the process.

As the University of Helsinki news release explains:

Friday 18 August 2023

Creationism in Crisis - How Albatross' Beaks Evolved To Match Their Prey. No Magic Required

Wandering albatross, Diomedea exulans, widest wing-span of any bird

Image: picture-alliance/blickwinkel/K. Wothe
Thick ones, pointy ones – how albatross beaks evolved to match their prey

Just as Darwin's finch’s beaks did, albatross’ beaks have diversified as the different species diversified from a common ancestor, and the driving force is again the food they eat.

This is the finding of three biologists, Josh Tyler, a Postgraduate Research Student in the Department of Life Sciences, University of Bath, UK, Jane Younger, Lecturer, Southern Ocean Vertebrate Ecology, University of Tasmania, Australia and David Hocking, Adjunct Research Associate, Monash University, Australia.

And of course, it's bad news for creationists who have been fooled into thinking biologists are abandoning the Theory of Evolution in favour of their childish superstition with its belief in magic and supernatural deities.

The scientists have published their findings, open access in the journal Royal Society Open Science and have written about their research in The Conversation. Their article is reprinted here under a Creative Commons licence, reformatted for stylistic consistency:

Thursday 17 August 2023

Creationism in Crisis - In Just 2000 Years Humans In Central Asia Had Diverged into Multiple Cultures Each with Distinctive DNA, If Creationists Are to be Believed

Multiethnic structure of Mongolia’s first nomadic empire | Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
The Xiongnu Empire, from 300BC, had a significant impact on the political economies of Central, Inner and East Asia and created extensive trade networks.
Photo: Weibo
Following the news that Ötzi the Iceman, who died just 700 years after creationists believe the human population of the world was reduced to 8 related individuals, was a brown-skinned 'outsider' in Europe, descended from people who had migrated from Anatolia a couple of thousand years earlier, comes news that an early empire in Central Asia, the Xiongnu Empire, had a multi-ethnic origin.

Each of these pieces of news give the lie to creationist claims of a genocidal flood just 4000 years ago because there would simply not be enough time for the human populations of Europe or Asia to diversify to the extent that different genetic populations would be identifiable.

Taken together, they mean even the traditional claim that the scientists knowingly used inaccurate radiometric dating is redundant. Ötzi was dated partly by dendrochronology, which is not a radiometric dating technique, and the dates of the Xiongnu Empire are from contemporaneous records kept by their neighbours in China.

First a little background, courtesy of the AI source, ChatGPT3.5:
The Xiongnu were a significant nomadic confederation that originated in Central Asia, particularly in the regions of modern-day Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and northern China. They played a crucial role in shaping the history and dynamics of the ancient Eurasian steppe region. Here are some key points about the Xiongnu:
  1. Origin and Expansion: The Xiongnu are believed to have emerged around the 3rd century BCE and quickly established themselves as a dominant power in the steppe region. They were known for their skilled horsemanship and nomadic lifestyle, which allowed them to traverse vast distances and exert control over large areas.
  2. Society and Culture: Xiongnu society was organized along tribal lines, with a hierarchical structure. They had a chieftain or "shanyu" at the top, followed by subordinate tribal leaders. Their culture was heavily influenced by steppe traditions, including horse riding, pastoralism, and archery. They were also known for their use of mounted warriors and chariots in warfare.
  3. Conflict with China: One of the most significant aspects of Xiongnu history is their interaction with the Chinese dynasties, particularly the Han Dynasty. The Xiongnu frequently raided northern Chinese territories and established a tense relationship with the Han rulers. The Chinese even built the Great Wall as a defense against Xiongnu incursions.
  4. Diplomacy and Alliances: Throughout their history, the Xiongnu engaged in both military conflicts and diplomatic negotiations with China. At times, they formed alliances or signed treaties with the Chinese in exchange for tribute or gifts. These interactions were often marked by a delicate balance of power and a mutual understanding of the benefits of maintaining stable relations.
  5. Decline and Disintegration: By the 2nd century CE, the Xiongnu confederation began to weaken due to internal conflicts, external pressures, and changes in the geopolitical landscape. The rise of other nomadic groups, such as the Xianbei and the Huns, also contributed to their decline. Eventually, the Xiongnu fragmented into smaller groups, some of which merged with neighboring societies, while others faded into history.
  6. Legacy: The Xiongnu left a lasting impact on the cultural and historical development of Central Asia and the surrounding regions. Their interactions with China influenced Chinese policies, military strategies, and diplomatic approaches. Additionally, the Xiongnu's nomadic lifestyle and military techniques contributed to the broader cultural and societal dynamics of the Eurasian steppe.
  7. Historical Sources: Much of what is known about the Xiongnu comes from Chinese historical records and archaeological findings. Ancient Chinese texts, such as the "Records of the Grand Historian" by Sima Qian, provide valuable insights into the interactions between the Xiongnu and China.
Overall, the Xiongnu were a significant force in the ancient world, shaping the geopolitical landscape of Central Asia and leaving a lasting mark on the history of the region.
An interesting finding from the study is that genetic diversity was widest amongst the lower status individuals and much lower amongst the social elite, suggesting that a culture had developed where a narrow ethnic group had gained control of diverse populations.

And all this diversity in the two thousand years following the genocidal flood, is the Bible and its creationist advocates are to be believed. Clearly a preposterous proposition.

As with the genetic analysis of Ötzi the Iceman, the research into the origins of the per-Mongolian Xiongnu included scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany. As the Max Planck Institute’s newsletter explains:

Creationism in Crisis - Ötzi The Iceman Had Anatolian Ancestors

A facial reconstruction of Ötzi the Iceman. New evidence suggests he had male-pattern balding and was brown-skinned.

Image credit: Reconstruction by Kennis © South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, Foto Ochsenreiter
Dark skin, bald head, Anatolian ancestry | Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

In about 3,300 BCE, some 700 years after Bible literalist creationists believe the human population was reduced to just 8 survivors of a genocidal flood inflicted on the world by their 'loving' God, a brown-skinned man, possibly being pursued over the Alps north of Italy, fell into a glacier. He may have died before he fell or he may have died of his injuries from the fall, but a fresh arrow wound in his shoulder may have contributed to his death.

The significance of his genome is that is shows how far the human population of Europe had diversified into distinct groups each with a characteristic DNA signature - something that would not have been possible if the entire human population of the world had evolved from such a narrow genetic bottleneck. Not only had they diversified but had developed distinct cultures and life-styles.

Another significance of this research is that it shows how science is never certain, but constantly reassesses the evidence and revises its collective opinion when the evidence demands it.
Ötzi the Iceman

Ötzi, also known as the Iceman, is a well-preserved mummy of a man who lived during the Copper Age, around 3300 BCE. He was discovered in the Ötztal Alps, hence the name "Ötzi," by German tourists on September 19, 1991, near the border between Austria and Italy. The mummy was found at an altitude of around 3,210 meters (10,530 feet) in the Schnalstal Glacier. Here are some key facts and details about Ötzi the Iceman:
  1. Discovery and Preservation: Ötzi's mummy was preserved due to the unique conditions of the glacier, which acted as a natural freezer. His body was naturally mummified over the centuries, allowing researchers to gain insights into his life and the environment he lived in.
  2. Age and Appearance: Ötzi was estimated to be around 45 years old at the time of his death. He stood about 1.6 meters (5 feet 3 inches) tall and had a stocky build. He had brown eyes, wore a beard, and had tattoos on various parts of his body, likely created by making small incisions and rubbing charcoal or other pigments into them.
  3. Clothing and Equipment: Ötzi's clothing included a coat made of woven grass and leather, a loincloth, leggings, a belt, and a hat. He also wore shoes made of grass and leather. He carried a variety of tools and equipment, including a copper-bladed axe, a flint knife, a quiver with arrows, a backpack, a birch bark container, and a wooden bow.
  4. Diet and Lifestyle: Examination of Ötzi's stomach contents and isotopic analysis of his teeth and bones provided insights into his diet. He primarily consumed a diet of meat (from ibex and red deer) and various grains and plants, including einkorn wheat. This indicates a diet typical of the time, as well as evidence of mobility in the alpine region.
  5. Health and Injuries: Ötzi's body revealed evidence of several injuries and health conditions. He had a number of broken ribs, possibly indicating a fall or accident. He also had wear-and-tear on his joints, suggesting a physically demanding lifestyle. Additionally, Ötzi had an arrow wound on his left shoulder that likely contributed to his death, as well as signs of head trauma.
  6. Copper Axe: One of Ötzi's most significant possessions was a copper-bladed axe, which is one of the earliest examples of metal use in human history. This suggests a level of sophistication in his society's technology and craftsmanship.
  7. Genetic Analysis: Ötzi's DNA has been extensively studied, providing insights into his ancestry and genetic traits. This analysis revealed that he had a genetic predisposition for cardiovascular disease, lactose intolerance, and a higher risk of certain autoimmune disorders.
  8. Cultural and Historical Significance: Ötzi's discovery has offered a unique window into the life of an individual from the distant past. Researchers have gained valuable information about ancient diets, clothing, tools, and health conditions. Ötzi has also helped to reconstruct aspects of Copper Age society, including trade routes and cultural practices.
  9. Exhibition and Research: Ötzi's mummy is preserved and displayed at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy. Researchers continue to study his remains using various advanced techniques to uncover more information about his life, death, and the world he lived in.
Overall, Ötzi the Iceman is a remarkable archaeological discovery that has provided invaluable insights into the lives of our ancient ancestors and their interactions with the environment and technology of their time.

"Tell me all you know about the 'Iceman' known as Ötzi’s." [Response to user request]
Retrieved from https://chat.openai.com/

Wednesday 16 August 2023

Unintelligent Design - What on Earth are Tardigrades For and Why Design so Many of Them?

Tardigrade, or water bear.

Photograph: dottedhippo/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Denmark is crawling with the world's most resilient creature – University of Copenhagen

We don’t know how many species of tardigrade there are in Denmark in all, but we did find 96 unique tardigrade DNA sequences during our study – of which only 13 are known species. And there are probably more, so their diversity is apparently huge.

Associate Professor Nadja Møbjerg
Department of Biology University of Copenhagen.
Researchers from the Department of Biology, the Globe Institute and the University of Copenhagen’s Natural History Museum of Denmark have discovered that there are at least 96 species of tardigrade, of which only 13 were previously known to science. There are currently some 1,300 known species worldwide, although the Copenhagen research suggests that may be a vast under-estimate. This figure of 96 species in Denmark alone, was arrived at by analysing environmental DNA, known as eDNA, in soil samples from around Denmark. The technique can trace DNA from all living organisms in soil, water and air.

First a little background supplied by ChatGPT3:
Tardigrades: The Resilient Microscopic Marvels

Tardigrades, often referred to as "water bears" or "moss piglets," are microscopic, water-dwelling animals that belong to the phylum Tardigrada. They have captured the interest of scientists and the public alike due to their remarkable ability to survive extreme conditions that would be lethal to most other forms of life. Tardigrades were first discovered in the late 18th century and have since become subjects of intensive research.

Tardigrades were first described by German zoologist Johann August Ephraim Goeze in 1773. However, it wasn't until the 20th century that they gained significant attention due to advances in microscopy and scientific techniques.

Tardigrades are incredibly small animals, usually ranging from 0.1 to 1.5 millimeters in length. They are found in various environments, including marine, freshwater, and terrestrial habitats, where they often inhabit mosses, lichens, leaf litter, and soil.

One of the most fascinating aspects of tardigrades is their remarkable tolerance to extreme conditions:
  1. Desiccation (Drying Out):
    Tardigrades can survive complete desiccation by entering a state known as cryptobiosis. In this state, they lose most of their water content and essentially shut down their metabolic processes. They curl up into a "tun" shape, forming a protective barrier against the environment. When conditions become favorable again, they rehydrate and return to their active state.
  2. Extreme Temperatures:
    Tardigrades can withstand both high and low temperatures. Some species can survive temperatures close to absolute zero (-273°C) and others can withstand temperatures as high as 150°C.
  3. Radiation:
    Tardigrades can endure high levels of ionizing radiation, including X-rays and gamma rays, which would be lethal to most organisms.
  4. Pressure:
    Certain tardigrades can survive extreme pressure, such as the pressure found in the deep sea.
  5. Toxic Environments:
    Tardigrades can tolerate high concentrations of toxic substances, including heavy metals and strong acids.
Despite their resilience, tardigrades are not invincible. Extreme conditions can still cause damage, and their survival rates vary depending on the specific conditions and species.

ChatGPT3 "Tell me all about tardigrades, their discovery and biology" [Response to user request]
Retrieved from https://chat.openai.com/
The research is explained in a University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science news release:

Monday 14 August 2023

Creationism in Crisis - A Mass Extinction in Europe A Million Years Before Earth Existed - According to Creationists.

Extreme cooling ended the first human occupation of Europe | UCL News - UCL – University College London

A sudden cold snap, 1.1 million years ago, caused by changes in the Atlantic currents, could have made life impossible for archaic humans who had populated Western Europe, including what is now the British Isles. Their extinction cleared the way for later colonisation, first by Neanderthals about 250,000 years ago, followed by anatomically modern Homo sapiens, about 40,000 years ago.

Evidence of this extreme climate change and subsequent mass extinction was found by paleoclimate scientists from UCL, University of Cambridge and CSIC Barcelona who analysed the chemical composition of marine micro-organisms and examined the pollen content in a deep-sea sediment core recovered from off the coast of Portugal. This showed evidence of a sudden cooling with ocean surface temperatures falling to 6oC off Lisbon and semi-desertification of the surrounding area. Parts of the Mediterranean coast would have resembled the Asian steppe.
During the cold snap 1.1 million years ago, the Mediterranean might have looked similar to the Asian steppe.
Image © Panikhin Sergey/Shutterstock.
The research is published in the journal Nature. The press release from UCL explains its significance:

Creationism in Crisis - How Watermelons Evolved, With Gene Loss AND Gene Duplication

Behind the Rind: New Genomic Insights into Watermelon Evolution, Quality, and Resilience - Boyce Thompson Institute
Fig. 6 Fruits types in C. lanatus, C. mucosospermus, C. amarus, and C. colocynthis: a, b C. colocynthis, c C. lanatus subsp. lanatus, d-f C. lanatus subsp. vulgaris, g, h C. mucosospermus, i: Citrullus sp.
Fig. 8 Fruit flesh colour in C. lanatus, C. mucosospermus, C. amarus, and C. colocynthis: a, b C. lanatus subsp. vulgaris, c, d C. mucosospermus, e C. amarus, f C. lanatus
The embarrassment for creationism continues unabated with news that scientists from the Boyce Tompson Institute, Itheca, New York, USA, have worked out how the cultivated watermelon evolved.

This might seem trivial to normal people, but to creationists, it shatters several cherished pieces of dogma and exposes them as bogus.
  1. Firstly, the scientists have shown that the process of domestication from wild ancestors included an incident of gene doubling, so creating new genetic information (and increasing the sweetness of the watermelon). Creationists claim there is no mechanism for increasing the information in the genome without the intervention of a magic man doing magic.
  2. Secondly, the scientists have also discovered that the process of domestication involved the loss of several genes from the cultivated watermelon genome, yet creationist dogma says all genetic loss is fatal and all mutations are deleterious, and yet here we have an improved cultivar, resulting in millions more watermelons than had the mutations not happened.
  3. Thirdly, the Bible claims all life on earth was created by God for its special creation, mankind, and yet here we have evidence that the cultivated watermelon is the result of selective breeding, meaning that, even if we allow for the sake of argument that watermelons were created for mankind, whoever created them didn't do a very good job, or failed to anticipate what humans would require from a watermelon, so we needed to improve on what was provided. Imagine buying an intelligently designed motor car, then finding it needs considerable modification and improvement to make it fit for purpose! Would you buy from that designer again?
That latter point can be made for all domesticated animals, by the way, since very few of them have remained unchanged compared to their wild ancestors.

So, what is the evolutionary history of watermelons?

According to the press release by Aaron Callahan, from the Boyce Thompson Institute :

Saturday 12 August 2023

Malevolent Design News - Parasites From Over 200 Million Years Ago! So, when was 'The Fall', Exactly?

Parasites of morphotype I, found in the vertebrate coprolite.

The vertebrate coprolite with parasites found in the Huai Nam Aun locality (Upper Triassic).

First discovery of parasite eggs in a vertebrate coprolite of the Late Triassic in Thailand | PLOS ONE

Creationists apologists, in a desperate effort to explain why a supposedly omnibenevolent designer would design so many nasty little parasites, whose sole purpose appears to be to increase the suffering in the world, find solace in the Bible myth of 'The Fall' which apparently allowed 'sin', over which their reputedly omnipotent deity is powerless, to enter the world and begin creating parasites.

Forgetting for a moment that several of these parasites have been cited by creationism's favourite 'creation scientist', Michael J Behe, as examples of irreducibly complex (therefore made by God [sic]) organisms. This means that the entire history of parasites must be shoe-horned into the last 8-10 thousand years or so, or however many thousands of years ago the convenience of the argument needs to place this 'Fall'.

And, of course, since 'The Fall' involved a parentless couple, there could not have been parasites before there were humans on Earth - so the logic of the argument dictates.

It must set up some awful cognitive dissonance in creation cult victims to discover, not only that Triassic animals suffer from parasites, but parasitic nematodes and probably other intestinal parasites existed some 200 million years before they think Earth and humans were created.

Of course, this is just another example of the yawning gap between what the creation cult teaches its scientifically illiterate dupes, and the real history of the Universe and life on Earth.

The discovery of the eggs of parasitic nematodes in the fossil remains of ancient faeces or coprolite, was made by Thanit Nonsrirach of Mahasarakham University, Thailand, and colleagues. The coprolite is from the Upper Triassic Huai Hin Lat Formation in Northern Thailand, which formed in shallow, low-energy brackish or fresh water about 200 million years ago.

The team's findings are published, open access, in PLOS ONE.

Thursday 10 August 2023

Unintelligent Design - When Black Ants Fly To Get The Best Mate

Black garden ant alates, Lasius niger
Female (left) and male (right).

Ant Ark
©Brian Valentine
Still suffering from COVID-19, we ventured out yesterday, suitable face-covered and social distanced. It was a warm, humid August day with a high-pressure system dominating the UK weather. There had been over-night rain. Almost everywhere we looked we could see winged black ants climbing to the tops of grass and taking flight - some large, some small, or fat, wingless females crawling about on the footpaths, in the open-air carpark.

It was a local 'flying ant day'. The conditions of temperature, humidity and barometric pressure were exactly right, and this triggered a nuptial or dispersal flight in the local area.

But why is this nuptial flight performed?

Wednesday 9 August 2023

Abiogenesis News - Self Organising Organic Molecules Add Another Possibility to The Theory of Abiogenesis

Fig. 4: Oscillatory dynamics for an odd number of species with chasing cross-interactions.
A schematic representation of the oscillatory dynamics (left), snapshots of molecular dynamics simulations (middle, see also Supplementary Movie 8), and a diagram of the corresponding species interactions and pairing (right) are shown side by side. Here, dashed and dotted lines represent respectively the pairs on the left and right of the schematic representation. The eigenvalues of the system are as in Fig. 3b, but now Re(λ)<Im(λ) for the most unstable conjugate pair, so that the dynamics of the system are oscillatory.

Exploring the origins of life | Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization

Creationists would have us believe that science can't explain how 'life' arose from 'non-life', as though 'life' is some magical, mysterious substance, which, when added to inorganic chemicals, turns them into organic, living, substances. whereas of course, 'life' is simply a term for the active metabolic processes that resist entropy by using the energy stored in organic molecules, involving nothing more than the operation of the laws of chemistry and physics. That energy ultimately comes from the sun via photosynthesis, or, more rarely, geothermal energy via chemosynthesis.
The question for science then, is how did inorganic molecules become organised in such a way that they can carry out these metabolic processes, and for that there is almost an embarrassment of explanations, most of which require conditions and time that would be impossible to replicate in a laboratory.
For a plausible ten-step process towards abiogenesis, see: Perfectly Plausible Abiogenesis.
And now to add more to the embarrassment of riches that is the growing science of abiogenesis, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (MPI-DS), Göttingen, Germany have shown in two studies that catalytic molecules can form metabolically active clusters by creating and following concentration gradients.

As explained in an MPI-DS news release:

Tuesday 8 August 2023

Malevolent Designer News - Creationism's Favourite Malevolence's Top 5 Deadliest Pandemics

While I'm sitting here slowly recovering from COVID-19 which my partner and I probably either picked up in France or during the flight home, I thought I would look at some of Creationism's putative intelligent [sic] designer's other successes with lethal pandemics, so I asked my AI app for the 5 deadliest pandemics from known history.

It should be noted that the current COVID-19 pandemic, which is far from over, has to date produced 768,983,095 cases with 6,953,743 deaths and is still producing 352,943 new cases every week (WHO figures as at 2 August, 2023) This despite the fact that 13,492,099,754 (13.5 billion) vaccine doses have been administered.

Given the high mortality rate of in the early months of the pandemic, imagine what the death toll would have been without the assistance of science! Earlier pandemics had no such benefits so direct comparisons are meaningless.

A survey published in The Lancet in June 2022 estimated that about 20 million deaths from COVID-19 had been prevented in the first year following COVID-19 vaccination, so human medical science has deprived the malevolent designer of an even more stunning success with its SARS-CoV-2 virus. If it had occurred a century earlier, it would have ranked about 2 or 3 in the pandemic deaths league table - up there with the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic.

Now for the top 5 pandemics:

Way out in the lead we have the Black Death or Bubonic plague, with 72-200 million deaths.
Please note that my knowledge is based on information available up to September 2021. These references provide more detailed information about each pandemic and their impacts. Additionally, there have been other significant pandemics throughout history, but these five are among the deadliest. [ChatGPT3]

Saturday 5 August 2023

Malevolent Designer News - Is Creationism's Favourite Sadist Obsessed With Making us Sick?

How the hospital pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii quickly adapts to new environmental conditions | Aktuelles aus der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

Model of the type IVa pilus (T4aP) in A. baylyi. OM–Outer membrane; IM–Inner membrane; PG–peptidoglycan. The individual components are listed in Table 1.
From: Iruegas R, Pfefferle K, Göttig S, Averhoff B, Ebersberger I (2023)
Remember how Michael J Behe got an entire book out of the fact that his target readership thought ignorant incredulity was scientific data, so the fact that neither he nor they knew how the bacterial flagellums evolved was presented as evidence that a god must have designed it? His book is still one of the central gospels of the creationist cult, even though few members would be capable of reading and understanding it, let alone be prepared to read the detailed rebuttals by Miller and others.

In fact, the evolution of the bacterial flagellum by exaptation of pre-existing structures, namely the Type III secretory system that bacteria use to anchor themselves to target cells before parasitizing them, was known about before he wrote his book, as Kenneth Miller has pointed out - a fact that Behe has failed to acknowledge in subsequent editions.

Friday 4 August 2023

Creatinism in Crisis - When Were Humans Given an Immune System?

What happens in our body when we encounter and fight off a virus like the flu, SARS-CoV-2 or RSV?

Having tested positive for COVID-19, I thought I would spend a little time finding out more about what's going on inside my body right now.

But the research has collided with the work I normally do in exposing the absurdity of creationism in all its guises and the futility of trying to force-fit real world evidence into origin myths made up by people from the fearful infancy of our species who thought Earth was just a small flat disc with a dome over it to keep the water above the sky out, centered on the Canaanite Hills where they hearded their goats, told their camp-fire tales of magic sky-gods and imagined it was all made just for them.

What occurred to me is the problem creationists would have if they knew enough about the subject and weren't too afraid to question their cult dogmas. For example: The standard creationist excuse for all the nasty little parasites such as viruses, bacteria, etc., is that they are the result of 'sin' which entered the world because of 'The Fall' (so betraying the fact that creationism isn't the science their cult leaders pretend, but religious superstition after all).

It always amuses me how cult leaders like Michael J. Behe make a big issue of the 'irreducible complexity' of bacteria such as E coli as evidence that creationism putative designer must have designed them, only to have them dismissed on another day in a different argument, as the creation of another 'evil' entity - 'sin'.

But with creationism, the tactic is to use whichever argument will work on the current audience, regardless of if consistence of intellectual integrity.

Incidentally, blaming 'sin' flatly contradicts the claim in the Bible that God told Isaiah that He created evil because he created everything.
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

Isaiah 45:7 (KJV)
So, either God lied to Isaiah or Isaiah lied in the Bible - or creationist cult leaders are lying to their cult.

But let's forget that bit of Bible awkwardness and think things through a little more:

Humans were allegedly created before 'The Fall' so would have had no need for an immune system, which is our defense, imperfect though it is, against the parasites 'sin' created after 'The Fall'.

So, were we given an immune system after 'The Fall'? There is no mention of a major redesign in the Bible, but wouldn't it have been simpler for the creator to have forgiven Adam and Eve and stopped 'sin' creating these things in the first place? And of course, most multicellular species also have an immune system which wasn't needed before 'The Fall'.

Or, if he was really going to need to have himself sacrificed later in a blood offering first why did he wait several thousand years? Why couldn't he impregnate Eve, have Adam do the dirty deed and solve the problem there and then?

Or did he omnisciently anticipate what would happen and design immune systems for the (future) parasites right from the start? If so, he must have anticipated 'The Fall' and the creative powers of 'sin', including details of what it would create, and being omnipotent, could have stopped it.

Anyway, those are just a few of the many problems that creationism causes for itself by trying to fit reality into such an absurd myth, like trying to ram a large square peg into a small round hole, without changing its shape in any way.

Here then is the account of how our immune system tries, often unsuccessfully because it isn't very efficient, to cope when an infection enters our body. It is an article from The Conversation by Lara Herrero, Research Leader in Virology and Infectious Disease, and Wesley Freppel, Research Fellow, Institute for Glycomics, both of Griffith University, Australia. It is reprinted here under a Creative Commons licence, reformatted for stylistic consistency:

Wednesday 2 August 2023

Malevolent Designer News - Dandruff - Another Anoying Little Gift From Creationism's Beloved Malevolence

Scanning Electron Microscope picture of freshly prepared human dandruff sample.
What is dandruff? How do I get rid of it? Why does it keep coming back?

Dandruff is caused by a yeast of the Malassezia family, Malassezia globosa to be precise. As a complex, eukaryote cell, creationists superstition insists that it must have been designed by an intelligent [sic] designer. It is also axiomatic in creationism that the only entity capable of designing living organisms is the omnipotent, omniscience god of the Bible, Torah and Quran.

It follows from that then, if we accept the dogma for the sake of argument, that this designer god knew precisely what Malassezia globosa would do and so designed it for that purpose.

And that purpose, apart from making more copies of Malassezia globosa, is to cause the embarrassing condition in humans, dandruff. Dandruff doesn't cause a general illness or handicap (apart maybe from a social handicap), and it isn't even painful, apart from an irritation or itch that needs constant scratching. In fact, inducing the person with dandruff to scratch their scalp a lot is Malassezia globosa's dispersal strategy.

Here is what AI's ChatGPT has to say about it:

Creationism in Crisis - How Multicellular Life Evolved - Science is Revising its Thinking

The Cambrian seas teemed with new types of animal, such as the predator Anomalocaris (centre).
Credit: John Sibbick
Natural History Museum
Life on Earth didn’t arise as described in textbooks – University of Copenhagen

Biologists are changing their collective minds about how multicellular life arose on Earth, but it's nothing for creationists to get over-excited about. They aren't beginning to think it was all magicked by a magic man in the sky. The change of mind is about the exact mechanism and the trigger that started the evolutionary process. No objective biologist thinks the explanation is anything other than a natural, evolutionary process.

It used to be thought that the trigger for the evolution of multicellular organisms, which only evolved between 685 and 800 million years ago, was increasing levels of oxygen caused by the waste product of the photosynthesising cyanobacteria. They had been, like their descendant today in the chloroplasts of green plants, converting carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen, and so polluting their own environment with their waste product - oxygen.

However, the idea that it was rising oxygen levels that triggered the change, has been disputed by the findings of a team from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Massachusetts, USA, the University of Southern Denmark, and Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman.

The team arrived at their conclusion after analysing the chemical composition of ancient rock samples from an Omani mountain range deposited during what geologists call the 'Shuram Formation produced during what is referred to as the 'Shuram carbon isotope excursion':

Creationism in Crisis - The Evolution of Batesian Mimicry in a New Zealand Stonefly

A cyanide-producing Austroperla cyrene sits at the top of this picture, with a mimicking Zelandoperla fenestrata in the center and non-mimicking Zelandoperla fenestrata at the bottom.

Credit: University of Otago
When cheating pays – survival strategy of insect uncovered, News, University of Otago, New Zealand

I've written before about Batesian mimicry as an example of environment-driven evolution and how it depends on an evolutionary arms race - which makes no sense as the work of a single creator god, as creationists believe is responsible for the 'design' of all living organisms.

Batesian mimicry

Batesian mimicry is a fascinating concept in evolutionary biology named after the English naturalist Henry Walter Bates. It refers to a form of mimicry in which a harmless species closely resembles the appearance of a toxic or dangerous species to deceive predators. This phenomenon is commonly observed in the animal kingdom, particularly among insects, although it can also occur in other groups of organisms.

The key components of Batesian mimicry are:
  1. Model Species: The toxic or harmful species that possesses some form of defense mechanism, such as toxicity, stinging, or bad taste. Predators learn to associate the distinct appearance of this model species with the negative consequences of attacking or consuming it.
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