Lord Howe lobsters older than Lord Howe, according to an article in ScienceNOW 17 December 2008.
In spite of its name the Lord Howe tree lobster (Dryococelus australis) lives on the ground, and is actually a thickset stick insect that looks like a cross between a grasshopper and a cockroach. It is the world’s rarest insect, being only found on Lord Howe Island, a rocky volcanic island off the east coast of Australia.
As part of a project to find the evolutionary origin of stick insects, scientists from Lanscare Research analysed DNA from this insect, along 70 other stick insect species, including three groups of tree lobsters. They concluded that D. australis was more than 20 million years old. This would make it 13 million years older than the rocks on Lord Howe Island.
This left researchers having to explain where they evolved as they can’t fly or swim. They suggest the insects originated on nearby volcanic peaks that are now submerged. The insects would have moved south as their island eroded away. They also found that three present day groups of tree lobsters are not closely related despite their similarity in body shape.
The researchers believe they are an example of “convergent evolution” having separately evolved their body shape as an adaptation to ground dwelling.
Editorial Comment: The idea that the flightless, non-swimming insects could move from one island to another is plausible as it is seen today that insects can, and do, float on rafts of vegetation, or their eggs get picked up by birds, or they can be blown vast distances in huge storms.
However, it takes more faith to believe that it happened repeatedly over 13 million years as volcanic islands came and went. Now add to this the fact that convergent evolution is a process that has never been seen to happen. Amazing how much faith an evolutionist has to have to write a scientific paper, so let’s stop tagging the faith label only on the creationist and lets all admit faith is an integral part of any scientific discussion and is not the exclusive realm of religion.
Evidence News 8 July 2009
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