Mutant chickens have teeth, according to reports in ScienceNOW 21 Feb 2006 and Scientific American, 22 Feb 2006. Chicken embryos with a mutation called “talpid2” have been found to grown tiny conical protuberances on their jaws similar in shape to crocodile teeth. The discovery was made by Matthew Harris of the University of Wisconsin when he took a close look at an embryo’s beak that had fallen off. The mutation usually causes embryos to die before 12 days of development, before their jaws develop, but Harris’s embryo had survived to be 16 days old and its jaw was beginning to form. Harris and colleagues from University of Wisconsin and University of Manchester are studying how molecular signals work in developing jaws and have found that a growth controlling gene called “sonic hedgehog” was activated in the sides of developing jaw in normal embryos, but was activated in the centre of the jaws in mutant embryos. They were able to mimic this change in molecular signalling in normal embryos using a genetically engineered virus. The embryos developed teeth-like protrusions for a brief time but they were reabsorbed into the beak. There is no way of knowing whether talpid2 mutant chickens keep their “teeth”, because the mutation is lethal and no embryos with it ever grow into a fully formed chicken. The scientists claim their studies prove that birds, which don’t have teeth, evolved from archosaurs, extinct crocodile-like reptiles that did have teeth.
Editorial Comment All this study proves is the embryos with a growth disturbing mutation have abnormal growths in their jaws. As the mutation is lethal it cannot have had a role in any evolution of reptiles into birds. Whilst no living birds have teeth, some fossil birds did, but this is no evidence for evolution. Losing a structure is the opposite of evolution but is no problem for Biblical creation. The Bible tells us the world started out perfect but has been devastated by the Fall of man and Noah’s flood. As part of the general downward trend many creatures have died out, including it would seem, birds with teeth. On this basis, Creation Research predicts that hen’s teeth will remain as rare as … (Ref. embryology, dentition, development, prediction)