Tag Archives: mammals

Another Great Story about Whales

The evolutionary story of how whales came to be is a classic example of how this sort of thing shouldn’t be considered the same as science that studies things we can repeatedly observe and test, even when it seems to be having success.  From Darwin’s speculating that “something like a bear” might have taken up eating stuff in the water for generations until the practice molded them into aquatic creatures, to a scrap piece of skull producing a picture of a paddle-legged swimmer when later discoveries of more extensive fossils showed it really had long, skinny legs and probably never stuck more than its head in the water.

The latest addition to the story is the report on “Fucaia buelli,” a very small whale classified as an “aetiocetid,” one of the extinct kinds of “toothed mysticetes.” Today, mysticetes are all toothless as adults, using the filtering structures known as baleen instead. They are commonly known as baleen whales: right whales, humpback whales, blue whales, and others. Evolutionists were thrilled to find fossils of adult whales with both teeth and baleen, assuming they showed how baleen whales came to be — they evolved from toothed whales that mutated to grow baleen, then they mutated so they lost their teeth. That second stage seems reasonable enough, it’s easy for a mutation to knock out the production of something. But what about that first step? Continue reading Another Great Story about Whales

Hair is hair, for as long as it’s been here.

Today I’ve been studying about the oldest-dated fossil mammal hair. (http://news.yahoo.com/cretaceous-fur-ball-ancient-mammal-spiky-hair-discovered-132251323.html
“Cretaceous Fur Ball: Ancient Mammal With Spiky Hair Discovered”
from LiveScience.com, By Elizabeth Palermo, 10/16/2015 (updated at 3:52 p.m. EDT)

Surprise, it’s not from China! Spain has a very excellent fossil site, the Las Hoyas quarry. Back in 2011, they dug up a fossil now called Spinolestes xenarthrosus. Now a report has been published in the October 14th Nature, and LiveScience had this article about it (repeated by Yahoo). Major take-away quote:

You may think that, over the course of 125 million years, the process by which mammalian hair grows would have changed somehow, but that’s not the case, Luo said. The bones of Spinolestes, which was about the size of a small rat, are proof that ancient mammals grew hair the same way as modern mammals do.

Continue reading Hair is hair, for as long as it’s been here.