Flipper: Man's Best Friend? | The Institute for Creation Research
 
Flipper: Man's Best Friend?

Was Flipper Really Fido?Science headlines today in the mainstream media have become stereotypical and, frankly, tiresome. The evolutionary spin of reporters and editors routinely elevates speculation to the level of hard evidence and proof. Take, for instance, the announcement this week that a dolphin with “legs” was caught off the coast of Japan. The headlines explain everything:

Dolphin reveals an extra set of ‘legs.’”

Japanese Researchers Find Dolphin With ‘Remains of Legs.’” 

Four-finned Japanese dolphin an evolutionary throwback, researchers say.”

"Dolphin With Four Fins May Prove Terrestrial Origins."

Flipper with legs?

In her article titled “Dolphin with four-wheel drive stuns the scientists,” Fiona Macrae, science reporter for London’s The Daily Mail, writes:

“Experts believe that the dolphin’s ancestor was a dog-like creature which roamed the earth many millions of years ago. And now the extraordinary discovery of a bottlenose dolphin with an extra set of flippers has provided living proof of the theory.”

Fido with fins?

Associated Press reporter Hiroko Tabuchi described the alleged evolutionary connection to this unusual dolphin:

“Fossil remains show dolphins and whales were four-footed land animals about 50 million years ago and share the same common ancestor as hippos and deer. Scientists believe they later transitioned to an aquatic lifestyle and their hind limbs disappeared.”

What Japanese fishermen actually found on October 28 was a five-year-old, nine-foot bottlenose dolphin with an extra set of fins, not a set of legs with hooves or even leg remnants. According to Katsuki Hayashi, director of the Taiji Whaling Museum, the dolphin has a well-developed set of symmetrical fins. It is premature to speculate beyond this.

After anatomical studies are done by qualified researchers, we should expect the results to be peer-reviewed. Only then can we determine in more detail the significance of this find. Researchers are now planning to do X-ray and DNA tests.

Possible sources of the hind fins include mutations, such as the Hox gene that produces flies with an extra set of wings or a child recently born with a third arm. Also, this dolphin could be a cross with, or somehow related to, dolphins that have two front and two rear non-dorsal fins. In support of this, some cetacean embryos do initiate hind-limb bud development which, in dolphins, degenerates during about the fifth week (see Thewissen et al., 2006).

In fact, today’s two-finned dolphins may have the genetic information for generating all four fins. All dolphins could have once had two rear fins, and lost the information. The fins are not used for propulsion but for steering, and for this reason, one pair may be adequate for survival.

The conclusion by Darwinists that these fins could be vestigial hind legs is based on the fact that dolphins are air-breathing sea mammals, which they believe descended from land-dwelling mammals having four legs designed for terrestrial life. This theory is postulated because all other theories of dolphin evolution are even less plausible.

The most popular Darwinist view is that fish evolved into amphibians, which left the sea to live on dry land, later evolved into reptiles, and eventually became mammals. Some of those mammals, such as whales and dolphins, returned to the sea to avoid predators or for a more robust supply of food, evolving so as to once again adapt to sea life.

However, the fossil record does not support either the fish or the terrestrial mammal evolution theory.

It is also important to stress that even if dolphins lost their hind limbs, loss of information is not what is required for progressive evolution to occur. Loss of information has been well documented in nature. Rather, a gain of information is the chief problem Darwinists need to solve to support their theory.

And so far, they have not.

Whatever “discovery” the media bombard us with next will require more than a cursory glance. Careful analysis demands a look behind the headlines to discern fact from fiction, truth from theory, science from speculation.

References

Thewissen J. G. et al. “Developmental Basis for Hind-limb Loss in Dolphins and Origin of the Cetacean Bodyplan.” PNAC 103, no. 22 (May 30, 2006): 8414–8.

See also “When is a Whale a Whale?” by Dr. Duane Gish.

The Latest
NEWS
Remembering Patti Morse
But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from...

CREATION PODCAST
What Happened with Washington's Violent Volcano? | The Creation...
How did a 1980 volcanic eruption change our understanding of geology? What impact did this event have on the age assignments of sediments? Join us for...

NEWS
Fossil Insect Predation Shows No Evidence of Evolution
Some recent science news stories have come out describing fossils of insects feeding on plants supposedly many “millions of years ago.” What...

NEWS
Adaptive Genetic and Epigenetic Changes in Plants
Being sedentary organisms, plants are essentially stuck where they are planted and need to dynamically adapt to the conditions around them to not only...

NEWS
Dr. Tim Clarey Awarded Adjunct Professor of the Year
Congratulations to ICR Research Scientist and geologist Dr. Tim Clarey! He received the Adjunct Professor of the Year award from King’s University,...

NEWS
Mars Rover Records Dramatic Solar Eclipse
NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover has filmed the Martian satellite (or moon) Phobos eclipsing the sun, and this short but impressive video may be viewed...

CREATION PODCAST
Darwin or Design? CET Pt. 2 | The Creation Podcast: Episode 22
How does design provide a better explanation for biological functions and adaptations than natural selection? And how can engineering principles help...

NEWS
Resurrecting “Ancient” Enzymes?
The most abundant protein on Earth is probably an enzyme (biological catalyst) called RuBisCO (or Rubisco) designed by the Creator to function in photosynthesis.1...

NEWS
Inside May-June 2022 Acts & Facts
How can Christians stand up to scientific elitism? What does the plant fossil record in Iceland tell us about the global Flood? Does a new bacterium...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Grand Canyon
by Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation...