Green Frog

Frog kneecap surprise reported in New Scientist 7 July 2017 and The Anatomical Record doi: 10.1002/ar.23629 published online 1 July 2017. Scientists in Argentina have studied skeletons of 20 frog species and have discovered, much to scientists’ surprise, that some frogs have kneecaps.

The kneecaps are made of fibrocartilage rather than bone, but as John Hutchinson, of the Royal Veterinary College London explained: “It does matter what kneecaps are made out of. Bone is a good lever, better at resisting compression than fibrocartilage, so animals using their kneecaps as levers rather than cushions would benefit from bony kneecaps. Fibrocartilage is a good cushion, and might be the original state of kneecaps, possibly inherited by all legged land vertebrates”.

The fibrocartilage kneecaps also have more elasticity than bone and as Virginia Abdala of Argentina’s Institute of Neotropical Biodiversity, who led the investigation, explained: “The structures are probably protecting the knee from the huge mechanical effort necessary for the jumping of frogs”.

Why are scientists surprised at this discovery? Virginia Abdala explained: “Until now it was thought that the evolution of kneecaps coincided with the arrival of tetrapods that lay eggs on land or retain fertilised eggs in the body”. Frogs are amphibians, and spend much of their time in water, and are therefore considered more primitive on the evolutionary scale than reptiles, mammals and birds. According to this theory kneecaps evolved when animals evolved to walk in the way reptiles and mammals do. However, as Abdala commented: “The resting position in frogs is analogous to the jumping position in humans, so the knees of frogs are under constant stress, and the fibrocartilaginous kneecap might alleviate this”.

The New Scientist article is entitled “Frogs may have evolved the first kneecaps on Earth”.

New Scientist

Editorial Comment: Here is another example of a scientific discovery being made in spite of the theory of evolution, not because of it. Scientists had previously not looked for frogs’ kneecaps, because their theory said they hadn’t evolved yet. Fortunately human curiosity prevailed, and these scientists learnt something about the real world as it exists now, not some imaginary evolving world.

Furthermore, the idea that animals would develop kneecaps simply because they started to walk on land is pure wishful thinking, but it is not science! No amount of struggling to walk with inefficient knees is going to change the genes that control the formation of fibrocartilage or bone so it makes kneecaps grow where none existed before.

We are not at all surprised that some frogs have fibrocartilage kneecaps. But two comments are needed. One positive and one negative.

The Positive: Fibrocartilage kneecaps seem to be a good design for an animal that jumps, and it would fit with Genesis, which tells us God made all animals as fully functional creatures, according to their kinds. Therefore, frogs would have all the features they needed to live in the environment they were designed for in the very good world that God made.

The Negative: What we would encourage is for some brave scientist to investigate the ‘kneecap-less frogs’ to see if they lost them, as this is the most likely prediction resulting from the ‘degeneration trend’ since Adam’s Fall. Suggested mechanism: gene switches that turned off since Noah’s flood.

Evidence News vol. 17 No.14
19 July 2017
Creation Research Australia

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