How dragonfly wings get their patterns according to ScienceDaily and PhysOrg 17 September 2018 and PNAS published online 17 September 2018 doi: 10.1073/pnas.1721248115.
Insect wings get their structural support from struts called veins, with large primary veins and smaller, narrower secondary veins which branch off the primary veins and intersect, forming a pattern of geometrical shapes. In small insects like fruit flies the wing patterns are simple with only a few primary veins. Dragonflies and damselflies have very elaborate geometrical patterns in their wings, where the exact pattern of shapes varies enormously between individuals, and even between the two wings on the same insect.
Researchers at Harvard University have studied the wing patterns in 232 species of Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), and used the data to develop a computer model that can closely simulate the real wing patterns, not only for dragonflies but for “distantly related” insects such as grasshoppers and lacewings.
The computer model wings were so realistic that Seth Donoughe, one of the researchers, commented, “If we’re not careful, even we are sometimes fooled by the simulated wings.”
The researchers suggest the patterns are formed by some unknown inhibitor diffusing from multiple centres in the spaces between the primary veins, forming inhibitory zones that merge randomly and prevent secondary veins growing in some places, but allow them to grow in others.
Christopher Rycroft, a professor of mathematics involved in the project, commented: “This model could be useful for studying the evolution of wing structure and other patterned shapes.”
Editorial Comment: This model is certainly useful for explaining how geometric patterns in animals and plants are generated, but we predict it will prove useless for explaining the evolution of wing structure and patterned shapes. Why? Simply because the man-made model did not evolve. It was created by intelligent scientists and mathematicians who used their eyes and brains (and some previously invented technical equipment) to study the already existing wing patterns. They then came up with a proposal based on knowledge of how biological structures grow, and wrote the code for the computer model that produced the geometrical patterns.
Therefore, these researchers are without excuse for failing to recognise and give honour to the much smarter mathematician, the Creator Christ, who invented the original pattern generating system and embedded in the many living things that have complex patterns of geometrical shapes to give structure and beauty to wings, and also to produce patterns on scales, feathers fur etc.
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