Thursday, 21 January 2010

Tiktaalik and the Tetrapods

The evolution of tetrapods (4-footed animals) has remained a mystery.

It is absolutely remarkable that evolutionists can even begin to think that fishes evolved into four-footed amphibians, but that is exactly what they think. To be fair, they do admit that the gaps are wide, but they have suddenly become wider.

First, here are a couple of quotes to show that they do admit that the gaps are wide:

“The relationship of limbed vertebrates (tetrapods) to lobe-finned fish (sarcopterygians) is well established,[yeah, Like the coelacanth?] but the origin of major tetrapod features has remained obscure for lack of fossils that document the sequence of evolutionary changes.

(Edward B. Daeschler, Neil H. Shubin, and Farish A. Jenkins, “A Devonian tetrapod-like fish and the evolution of the tetrapod body plan,” Nature Vol 440: 757-763 (April 6, 2006))

"It has long been clear that limbed vertebrates (tetrapods) evolved from osteolepiform lobefinned fishes3, but until recently the morphological gap between the two groups remained frustratingly wide. The gap was bounded at the top by primitive Devonian tetrapods such as Ichthyostega and Acanthostega from Greenland, and at the bottom by Panderichthys, a tetrapod-like predatory fish from the latest Middle Devonian of Latvia (Fig. 1)."

(Jennifer A. Clack & Per Erik Ahlberg, "A firm step from water to land," Nature 440:747-749 (April 6, 2006); emphasis added)

It is truly astonishing how presumably competent biologists can fool themselves.

There are so many simply gigantic problems involved in the supposed transition from fish to amphibian or reptile that are simply swept under the carpet, it leads one to wonder where these people got their qualifications.

The veriest child knows that any fish, like its goldfish,left out of water, will shortly die.

Its gills are designed to function in water, and simply cannot do so in the air. Therefore, whichever fish the evolutionist cares to choose as the fancied ancestor of amphibian or reptile had to overcome this basic problem first.

To put it simply, it is just plain stupid to think that could happen.

Every day thousands of fish caught by fishermen die in the air. That's thousands of experiments being carried out to show that no fish can survive out of water. NOT ONE SUCH FISH HAS SURVIVED FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME. Ask any fisherman!

Here's an idiotic statement (typical of this kind of foolish thinking):

"Most scientists believe the amphibians evolved (developed gradually) from the lobe-finned fish. Lobe-finned fish had lungs and enlarged fins supported by bones and muscles. They could use their fins as legs to come out of the water for brief periods. These fins probably developed into amphibian legs.

Ever heard such nonsense?

The fish crept out on land for brief periods - and asphyxiated. The faster they asphyxiated, the faster they evolved! It's hard to credit the stupidity of that idea, but because it emerged from some university, it is supposed to be an intelligent concept. The most stupid fisherman could tell those professors that they're wrong, mad, or on mushrooms.

I don't know which. You must choose, dear reader.

But that's not the only problem!

Look at these diagrams of the skeleton of a fish and a tetrapod:

Let's make the first point here.

Look at the 'pectoral fin' and the 'pelvic fin'.

Do you see that neither of them IS CONNECTED TO THE BACKBONE IN ANY WAY, either directly or indirectly?

OK. That's a typical bony fish.

Now here's the skeleton of a frog, a typical amphibian.

See any differences? Yes, of course.

There are bones in the frog's forelimbs, AND THEY ARE CONNECTED TO THE scapula (shoulder blade) WHICH IS A PART OF THE AXIAL SKELETON as it's called.

There is NO connection between the fins of a fish and the axial skeleton.

QUESTION: How the connection ever made?

ANSWER: It wasn't.

Now look at the star performers in the Tetrapod Evolution Circus Parade.

Do you see any connection between these things and the fins of fish? Look back at the fins of the bony fish above, and decide for yourself.

Now suppose, and we'll use Tiktaalik as an example that this fish ever came out on to land. I said 'fish' because that's what the discoverers called it. Here's wiki on the subject:

Tiktaalik is a genus of extinct sarcopterygian (lobe-finned) fish

Give the artists half a chance, and they'd have Tiktaalik flying! Here's a picture of one - just before it dashed back into the water before it dried out! Or is it dead because it dried out?

What reason does it have for being there anyway? After all, its food is in the water and has been for millions of years. Or has it just decided to take a walk to stretch its non-existent legs?

Just listen to Shubin (guess what, he was one of the discoverers of Tikaalik, and is busy hyping it up, with no evidence at all beside his overheated imagination) "It probably had lungs as well as gills, and it had overlapping ribs that could be used to support the body against gravity, Shubin said.

Did you get that? This creature (which, Clack, one of the other discoverers said was more like a fish than anything else) PROBABLY HAD LUNGS AS WELL AS GILLS!

Now what was it doing with both - and most important of all WHY did it have them, and HOW DID IT GET THEM?

There's another serious point which is never mentioned. In most fishes, the pelvic fins are a lot SMALLER than the pectoral fins. In ALL TETRAPODS, the hind limbs are the biggest, usually by a long way. Think of a kangaroo, the most extreme example. How did that arrangement come about?


But let's now apply the instinct test.

Here's a fish, breathing with gills. It has the instincts to do so.

Here's a creature breathing with lungs AND gills. Allegedly.

Quite apart from the stupidity of a fish evolving the physical structures of lungs - and they are TOTALLY DIFFERENT TO GILLS - which would have filled up with water, drowning the poor brute, where did it get the instincts from TO USE the lungs, if its ancestors had been doing quite well, thank you, with gills before that?

To use our famous little diagram again:

Fish F (using gills) ------ X ------> Tiktaalik (using gills AND LUNGS)

What happened at X?

Tiktaalik was considered to be one of the ancestors of tetrapods, with much blowing of trumpets and evolutionist chortling.

Alas, alas! Woe is them, they are undone!

This very month (Jan 2010) an article was published in Nature which caused one of the editors (Henry Gee) to write this:

The best discoveries are those that overturn current thinking, revealing that what we thought, only yesterday, to have been a coherent and complete picture, is in fact a void that no discoveries can yet fill. Such is the report in tomorrow’s Nature (Nied┼║wiedzki et al., 463, 43-48, 7 January 2010) of footprints left by tetrapods (four legged land vertebrates) eighteen million years older than the earliest known tetrapod fossils, and ten million years older than the fossils of the creatures thought to be the closest relatives of tetrapods. A fairly complete picture of tetrapod evolution, built up over the past twenty years, has been replaced by a blank canvas overnight.

In other words, it's "Back to the drawing board, fellow evolutionist guessers! It was all wrong, dammit!"

You really must read the article. It's here:

But this tetrapod thing was a major plank in the support for evolution, with new 'transitional fossils' being found at a rate of knots every day!

So what's going to happen next month? Where are you going to run, dear evolutionists, if another major plank is blasted next month?

And they will be. Just you wait and see.




Evolution's Soft Underbelly
by Asyncritus


The Argument Darwin Dreaded…
The Argument No-One Has Developed Before…
The Argument to Which There Is


Nearly 50,000 viewers of my articles can’t all be wrong. Check Google for this subject and see!

Go here for your copy. £4.95


  1. Shubin thinks that Tiktaalik had lungs because most modern lobe-finned fish have lungs (that's why they're called lungfish). Lungfish do not, as a rule, die from drowning. As to how and why fish would evolve lungs, this is of course hard to tell, given that lungs do not fossilize even under the best conditions, but embryology suggests that they emerged as outpouchings from the esophagus (through which oxygen could be absorbed as through any thin, well-veined tissue). It has been suggested that before flying predators emerged, fish could supplement air from the water with air gulped at the surface.

    Note that not all tetrapods have larger hind limbs than front limbs: bats, eagles, and whales come to mind as counter-examples. More relevant to your question, though, are the changes in proportion achieved through selective breeding in history.

    Note also that, given the rarity of fossilization, the tiny fraction even of existing fossils that have been discovered and described, and the fact that successful lineages spawn side branches (think of, e.g. the three different species of mockingbirds on the Galapagos), very few people thought that Tiktaalik was our actual ancestor. Read the original papers, or the science blogs covering it: Tiktaalik is shown branching off the line leading directly to us, not as part of that line.

    It was, rather, and still is, thought to be an evolutionary cousin of one actual ancestor and a little-changed descendant of another. That actual ancestor apparently lived several million years earlier than thought, but Tiktaalik (which has a shoulder girdle and neck, like more advanced tetrapods) still shows a stage that tetrapod evolution went through.

  2. Although it only exist six different species of lungfishes today there use to be much more species. All but six of these species are today extinct. Lungfishes can be traced back to the Lower Devonian area and they haven't changed much in the million of years that passed since then. In fact there are studies suggesting that the Australian lungfish haven't changed in 100 million years.

    This lot haven't evolved at all.


    1 Where did they get their lungs from and

    2 Why did they get them?

    The resemblance between the 'lungs' of a lungfish and the genuine article (as in amphibians upward) is very slight indeed.:

    "The "lungs" of a lungfish are much simpler in structure than those of a mammal. They are just simple sacs, rather then the spongelike structures of mammal lungs. The general way they work is the same as a mammal's lungs, but they are not as efficient, having a smaller surface area."

    Their "lung" is a modified swim bladder, which in most fish is used for buoyancy in swimming, but in the lungfish also absorbs oxygen and removes wastes.

    Note the inverted commas. These are not lungs in any sense of the word, and cannot therefore be held to be in the lineage of fish--->amphibian.

    What's your opinion about the absence of any connection between the pectoral fins and the axial skeleton? Doesn't this deny any evolutionary relationship?

  3. The pectoral/axial phenomenon you describe is a red herring, if you'll pardon the pun. Your picture portrays modern bony fish - not the fish that are believed to be on the evolutionary line to tetrapods (and us).

    You might just as well compare the anatomy of a manta ray to a frog and shout "Hey, these fish things from which amphibians are supposed to be evolved don't even have real bones! It's impossible they are related!"

    An additional point - frogs aren't even shaped much like early tetrapods. They are quite derived. Modern salamanders are also quite different, but they are closer to the early tetrapods than frogs by a huge margin.

    The "jump" that scientists are trying to understand is how lobe finned fishes became early tetrapods - not how groupers became frogs. They have presented quite a bit of molecular, proteomic, genetic, and fossil evidence that fish became lobe-finned fish which became early tetrapods which became very, very primitive amphibians. And each of the steps that I list here is itself made up of many smaller steps.

    Natural selection theory states that if you go to rocks of the right age, you will find no land-vertebrates of any kind, but you will find lobe-finned fish. Then if you go to slightly younger rocks, you will find lobe-finned fish that show limb-bones within the fin, a developing shoulder girdle and a flattened face, because these are traits that have to develop between the earliest appearance of lobe-finned fish and the earliest appearance of walking tetrapods. The traits have to appear, if natural selection is correct. But natural selection theory makes no prediction about the order in which they will appear. And so scientists can feel confident that they know tetrapods evolved by natural selection from lobe-finned fish since they were right in their first predictions about the general types of creatures to be found in the ages of certain rocks and still want to know more about how it happened (which changes happened in which order & how fast). This makes it possible to feel confident about the theory and still have to "go back to the drawing board" when thinking about the process by which particular changes came about.

    If you want to dismantle the arguments of your rhetorical opponents, you need first to actually address yourself to those arguments - not something that's kind of like those arguments if you squint and hold them at arms' length, but the exact arguments.

    When you do this, I'll believe you, but not until.

  4. I'm not going to point out all your misconceptions of evolution, as Della and Steven have already done so, and quite elegantly. Before you make any claims attempting to debunk evolution, you have to understand the concept(s) of evolution. You obviously do not. Your attempts at cherry-picking lines from the abstracts and introductions of scientific papers simply shows your ability to see only what you want to see, while leaving the actual conclusions out.

    The line in the first paper you quote refers to the obscurity in past tense (as one would when they have just discovered key evidence to support the lobe-finned fish-tetrapod evolution). The same goes for the second quote, in which you've highlighted the morphological gap, but forgot (I'm sure) to highlight the phrase before it reading "until recently...".

    If anyone actually took the time to read the journals you cite, they would think very little of you, indeed. Your attempts at passing yourself off as educated are laughable. Let's take the last paper you referenced; your apparent gut punch to evolution. Niedzwiedski never mentions anything about this indicating that tetrapods did not evolve from a fish-like ancestor. It simply places the transition further back in time than previously thought, and in a different ecological location (marine intertidal rather than freshwater riverine). This actually makes more sense from an evolutionary perspective, as an intertidal zone would give a fish good reason to leave the water for food when the tide goes out, stranding prey items on shore. Thus the motive for evolving the ability to sustain oneself out of water for periods of time becomes quite clear.

    Della has already trounced your poor comparison points between bony fish and frogs. The bony fish in your diagram, by the way, is an actinopterygian (ray-finned), not sarcopterygian (lobe-finned) and thus has no connection to frogs or amphibians. You cannot assume (as you have in this article) that all fish are lobe-finned fishes. Currently the coelocanth and the lungfishes are the only extant sarcopterygian lineages, and the lungfishes should be an obvious example of where lungs developed in the piscine evolution. There are also numerous air-breathing fishes (Tarpon, Gar, many species of eel, e.g.) that will live just fine out of water for quite some time. Eels (which are technically fish, despite what you may think) are especially good at this as they not only use gills for aquatic respiration, but can use air (yes the same air that we breathe) for aerial respiration. As an added bonus they employ cutaneous respiration (a necessary adaptation for amphibians), allowing oxygen to pass through their skin and into their blood-stream. This allows them to remain out of water, and still respire for long periods of time (days if it's really humid).

    Lungfishes have been found out of water for years (yes, I said years; I believe the current record is four years), as they are found in areas that sometimes go through extreme drought and have to bury themselves and estivate. While modern lungfish are obviously not the transition between fish and tetrapods, it is pointedly clear that an ancestor in their lineage would be.

    I'm quite glad to see that you have no support to your claims, and obviously no public support on this matter. It would be alarming to know that people actually accept your pseudo-reporting. Next time don't use references that prove you wrong, and do your homework on the actual science behind the subject. Pick up a textbook rather than going to wikipedia, or You're not going to get anywhere feeding misinformation to your readers.

  5. My dear Dasyatis

    Thank you for taking the time to demonstrate your incapacity to answer the main point in my piece.

    Don't be discouraged. You are not alone. The whole evolutionary establishment is equally hopeless at addressing that point, and in fact

    a. Does not recognise it exists and/or
    b. Ignore it, hopefully believing that it will go away.

    You (and they) have no explanation for the origin of the required instincts.

    As you seem to have missed it, permit me to repeat the point, and eagerly to anticipate your potentially Nobel-Prizewinning explanation, which we will call the Dasyatis Theory of the origin of instincts.

    Let us grant you the existence of whichever type of fish you wish to nominate as the ancestor of the tetrapods which are air-breathing, land walking organisms.

    We’ll call it Dasyatis optimisticus, DO for short.

    For some reason, about which I will sympathetically refrain from pressing you about, DO is going to emerge in a number of stages from the water to

    a. Breathe with lungs and skin, and
    b. Walk about.

    The question which my article raises, and which you ignored whilst frothing at the mouth, is simply this:

    DO (aquatic gill breather, finned) --X-->Air Breather, Land Walker

    You will agree, I hope, that the instincts powering the use of gills and fins are completely different to those powering the use of lungs and legs.

    They are entirely different and distinct types of respiratory and locomotor organs.


    What happened at X, in terms of the origin of the required instincts?

    How did they originate, and just as importantly, how did they enter the genome? (If that is where they are located).

    Please spare us the usual bleating about ‘it took a long time, over zillions of years for these complex structures to evolve.’

    The structures cannot be demonstrated to have evolved, and worst of all, there is no accounting possible or ever offered for the origin of those instincts.

    I encourage you to survey the material on this blog, and make inquiry of every textbook on the planet, and let me know how the instincts evolved.

    Again I say, spare us the old ‘zillions of years’ ploy, and try to produce something intelligent.

    Hopefully yours


  6. We cannot see living ancestors of the past, but can make logical inferences based on similar morphologies and behaviors in living representatives. Many of the fishes I and others used as examples in the previous posts exhibit an instinct of breathing air at the water’s surface when dissolved oxygen in the water drops below a certain point. They do this because shallow waters have a tendency to become anoxic under warm-weather conditions. This is not a learned behavior, but an instinct. We know that certain groups of fish have evolved this instinctive behavior, because not all fish do this. Some of these fish are able to pick up oxygen from the air through the gills as they remain moist in the water, allowing for simple diffusion. While that method works (research mudskippers from Indonesia), it’s not perfect for aerial respiration, but it lays the groundwork for the instinct of air-breathing fishes.

    The fact that fish today display these instincts means that it is likely that ancestors to those groups displayed the same instincts. Tiktaalik currently provides us with the best morphological link that allows us to see how the anatomical structures may have been modified in response to those instinctive behaviors.

    I think the problem here is that you believe that evolution happens overnight. Your cry for an explanation that leaves out the "zillions of years" is again a testament to how little you know of the subject, and how little power your arguments can then hold. A fish doesn’t suddenly give birth to a frog, but it does pass on instinctive behaviors to its offspring. The DNA in cells dictate where and how oxygen is picked up from the environment, and can easily be altered by mutations in the genes, which is the starting block of evolution. Natural selection then filters out the mutations that are detrimental to populations. Those offspring may then reproduce themselves, with some of its progeny developing a mutation that draws a great benefit from those instincts, and some that don’t. And thus, the more time you allow an organism to reproduce generation after generation, you will see variation in the population, some more successful than others. You shouldn’t need to go any further than Humans to understand that.

    Since you like frogs so much, let me tell you something that you'll appreciate. Hiccups are an instinctive behavior. We do not control it, and there is seemingly no benefit to humans to have hiccups. Many mammals display this behavior, as well. It occurs because our genes are coded so that during our early (fetal) developement one of our cranial nerves makes a detour down to our lungs, an evolutionary hold-over (i.e. a genetic trait that is retained along an evolutionary lineage) from frogs. As you surely know, tadpoles spend the first part of their lives in a completely aquatic medium, and use gills to respire until their lungs develop. In order to prepare for an air-breathing lifestyle, they have to build up the muscles in their lungs before leaving the water, and do so by performing hiccups. This allows the tadpole to practice breathing and strengthen the lungs without inhaling water. Ever notice that when you hiccup your trachea closes up tight?

    So I'll leave you with this. What keeps a fish that wishes to exploit food on land, already has an air-filled and highly vascularized pouch (gas bladder) which it may already use for surface-respiration, from developing a similar instinctive behavior?

    The answer to that may be beyond the reach of your steadfast incompetence.

    Good day.

  7. Dear Dasyatis

    I missed your account of how the instinct required for the use of lungs

    a. came into existence

    b. entered the genome.

    You will agree, given your biological competence, that coming up to the surface into the region of higher oxygen concentration while breathing with gills, holds out singularly litle hope of producing a set of functioning lungs.

    But I will grant you that.

    So fish A, with gills, somehow has finally produced lungs over a lot of zillions of years.

    Enter first fish with a perfect set of lungs.

    His ancestors only knew how to use gills. But here he is, born with a perfect set of lungs. Somehow.

    Now can you attempt to explain how he managed to figure out how to use them? In the air at that?

    And how that figuring out got into his genome?


    Care to comment?

  8. "Enter first fish with a perfect set of lungs."

    That is pure ignorance. Who said the lungs had to be "perfect"? How do you define a "perfect" lung? The basic definition of a lung is simply an invagination of the esophagus that exchanges gases. There are hundreds of variations on lungs among all the air-breathing species. Who's to say one is more "perfect" than the other? Are human lungs perfect? I'd say no since we actually pick up an incredibly small percentage of oxygen from the air with every breath. Bird lungs easily outperform human lungs, for example, even compared to the most well-trained athletes. But our lungs suit our lifestyle just fine. Fish that have lungs are certainly not as efficient as ours, but that's because they don't have to be. They have gills for primary oxygen uptake, while the lungs supplement or allow them to freely roam the shoreline for extended periods of time.

    But that's aside from the main point. Despite the fact that I've given you the answers to your questions, you seem to not be able to connect the dots. Fish "breathe" with gills by drawing water into the buccal cavity (mouth) and flushing it over the gills and out the operculum. They do this the same way that every animal with lungs breathes air, by creating negative pressure within the pharynx. So Fish A with gills already possess the "breathing" mechanism. Now it's a simple stepwise process of mutations in the genes to produce the instincts, such as breathing at the surface which likely came before the first fish with a lung (one lung as it was derived from the swimbladder, not a "set" of lungs). Fish A also already possesses the invagnination in the form of the swimbladder, so the structure for the first lung is already in place. All that has to happen is small changes in the swimbladder that make it more efficient at exchanging vital gasses. It's not that hard to see, really.

    Now your two questions ("how did it come into existence?" and "how did it enter the genome?") are one in the same. Once a mutation occurs in the genome (the DNA) and effectively changes an instinctive behavior (or produces a new behavior), it is at that point in existence.

    But that's just me being nitpicky. To actually answer your question, I would literally have to go back in time to the dawn of the fish-tetrapod evolution and observe and sample DNA for a few hundred-thousand years to catch the exact moments that the instincts involved in all of this. If you want that kind of evidence, that's what has to happen. Obviously, I cannot go back in time, nor can I live for a hundred-thousand years. But thankfully I don't have to do that, because we can analyze the DNA of all the extant species of fish and delineate a phylogenetic tree that describes which genomes are more ancestral (or basal) in nature, and which are more derived (i.e. advanced, or new). By studying this phylogeny and making comparisons to dated fossils, we can fairly accurately map when traits likely began showing up in the evolutionary history of fish. The fact that the 25,000 species of extant fish are different, some with only gills and fins and some with lungs and appendages (each with their own unique instincts), coupled with the evolutionary road map we have, should be enough for you to see that these instincts are indeed produced through evolution.

    But you are likely too stubborn to accept this. Instincts are no different than any other physical manifestation of the genetic code. We know that genes control instincts, and through many experiments with fruit flies, we've tested how mutating genes can alter instinct. If you can accept the fact that humans have different hair color because their genes dictate such a difference, then you should accept that instincts follow the same pattern.

  9. Hey Daysatis

    I see you're back. Sorry to have missed this.

    I was not asking you if and how genes control instincts.

    There is a huge difference between the answer you gave, and the questions I asked.

    Just to remind you,

    1 How did the instinct arise (choose any instinct I've described on this forum)

    2 How did it get into the genome.

    The date of this response is May 30. I regret it's lateness, but I will say the following:

    You have published several repsonses on this blog, and I'm pleased that you took the time to do so.

    However, this is the nth time that you have written.

    All I can now see is abusive rhetoric, and a total failure to respond to the two questions above, which have been reiterated many times in my own responses, and in the material in the blog proper.

    In your next response (if there is one), you will respond to the 2 questions above.

    If you fail to do so, my tolerance limit will have been exceeded, and your posts will be deleted, and you will be banned.

    I did not start this blog to receive abuse, but to have constructive discussions of this point which is the ruin of any theory of evolution yet proposed.

    The sole weapon left to supporters of evolution when asked the 2 fatal questions above is: abusive behaviour.

    Yu are not in the same low league as the foul-mouthed and venomous members of the Dawkins forum, and I applaud that.

    But you have failed to address the questions being asked, and have gone on to making personal comments.

    You have exceeded your brief, and this is your final chance to redeem your theory. You and I both know it is a waste of time to try, but you're welcome to do so.

    The threat still stands, and is real.

  10. Your threat is hollow and meaningless. What you have just done is convinced me that you have failed. By banning me you admit that my presence is a threat to your idea. By deleting my posts you admit that I have already proven you wrong.

    I have done what I came here to do, and that is to show the fallacy of your arguments, and let the few people who may actually read this understand why you are wrong.

    You don't want to receive harsh criticism for your outrageous ideology? Don't start a blog.

    Evolution is a scientific process, not a belief. It happens whether or not you believe in it.

    - Dasyatis