Blizzard Lizard Evolution, claim scientists in reports in Science (AAAS) News and ScienceDaily 3 August 2017, and Science vol. 357, pp. 495-498, doi: 0.1126/science.aam5512, 4 August 2017.
In the winter of 2013-2014 a polar vortex blasted mainland USA with unusually cold weather. Just before this a group of scientists had studied Anole lizards in various regions of Texas and one region in Oklahoma and compared their ability to cope with low temperatures. When lizards get too cold they lose their muscular coordination, so a simple test for cold tolerance is to see if they can right themselves after being turned over onto their backs at different temperatures. Lizards living in the cooler regions could right themselves when the temperature was as low as 6°C, but those in warmer southern Texas become uncoordinated at 11°C.
The researchers also studied the genomes of lizards from the different populations, and found differences in the activity of genes involved in nervous system function between the cold and warm populations. When the winter storms hit Texas some lizards died in the snow, but some survived, and the scientists went back to research sites in southern Texas and studied the survivors. They found the survivors had a similar cold tolerance and gene activity of the lizards that had been living in the cooler climate before the cold snap. Shane Campbell-Staton explained: “We were able to track natural selection at the level of the whole organism, but also at the level of gene sequence and gene expression”.
Julian Catchen, another of the researchers commented: “One of the great things about this study is that we had three independent lines of evidence – DNA markers, gene expression levels and physiology measures – all pointing to the same biological signal, a shift toward more robustness against cold weather”. Charles Brown, of University of Tulsa in Oklahoma commented “It’s a very conclusive instance of rapid evolution. He described the study as “one of the only real examples in which the genetic mechanisms behind these rapid evolutionary events have been shown”. The Science News article is entitled “Cold snap makes lizards evolve in just a few months”.
However, the change to cold weather tolerance is not necessarily all good. Campbell-Staton commented: “One might think, ‘Oh, they responded! They’re better now.’ But selection always comes at a cost, which is death, basically. It may be that the animals that did not survive this storm had the genetic variants to survive a heat wave, or a drought or some other extreme event. And now those lineages are essentially gone”.
Editorial Comment: When will these guys see it? This is a very good example of natural selection, but, as we have said many times, selection is not evolution. Those lizards that already had the appropriate genes survived the cold snap, and as Campbell-Staton correctly observed, all others died and variation has been lost. There is actually less genetic information than before. The surviving lizards are still the same species as the non-survivors, so nothing has evolved at all. For evolution to occur new genes must be produced, and these must change a creature into a new kind of creature. This has not happened, and it is blatant misrepresentation for anyone to claim they have observed evolution occurring.
Campbell-Staton’s comment about death and the loss of variation in lizards also reminds us that natural selection is evidence of a world that is losing variety and complexity, i.e. not evolving, but devolving! Whenever extreme seasons occur living things will be lost.
Natural selection is not a creative process, but a degenerative process. Therefore, it is even more absurd for theistic evolutionists to claim God created using the processes ascribed to evolution. Natural selection set in only after human sin and God’s judgment caused the world to go downhill. But that only happened after the world and everything in it had been created and declared to be very good, i.e. no lethal blizzards, no death, and no natural selection.
Evidence News vol. 17, No. 16
23 August 2017
Creation Research Australia
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