Unique mole walking is all thumbs, according to articles in Science (AAAS) News 29 October 2019 and Biology Letters 30 October 2019, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2019.0503.
Most four-legged land mammals walk with their limbs under their body, swinging their front legs back and forth below their shoulder joint. A group of scientists have analysed high speed videos of moles moving through transparent tunnels to study the way they move through their underground tunnels. The research team found moles have a unique style of walking that makes use of a ‘false thumb’ – a bony knob on their hand that looks like an extra digit. The moles held their forelimbs in front of the body so the limb was swinging above the level of the shoulder joint, and then used their false thumb to briefly support the body weight while they moved forward with each step. The researchers described this method of rapid walking as being like a combination of a human using a walking cane to pull the body forward, but only keeping it on the ground for a minimum time like speed walkers in a race.
According to Science News “Sprawling out during walking may protect their painstakingly built tunnels as it prevents moles from having to crouch through the narrow passages with bent limbs, which could bump into the walls and break down the soil.”
They researchers also claim their findings “broaden our understanding of the diversity of tetrapod limb posture and locomotor evolution”.
Editorial Comment: These researchers’ belief in “posture and locomotor evolution” is a case of making evolutionary mountains out of molehills. This study may help us appreciate the amazing variation in how four-legged creatures move around, but it provides absolutely no information about on how such variation could evolve. The moles studied in the research described were already equipped with the right limbs, including the ‘false thumb’, to move through tunnels quickly without damaging the walls, and also had the nervous system control needed to walk this way.
Do these researchers really think any evolving “pre-mole” with “normal” land mammal legs under its body was going to change its genes for limb growth so that it ‘evolved’ mole forelimbs, complete with false thumbs, plus rewired its brain circuits that control the movement? What blind faith they have! Trying to move through underground tunnels without crouching or crashing into the walls would not do that. The mole needed the right genetic information from the start. If its genes spontaneously changed, how would the animal know its newly ‘evolved’ limbs and extra “thumb” were for moving through underground tunnels?
That’s why it really does make far more sense to believe that moles were designed to move rapidly through tunnels. There is no evidence moles evolved from an animal that didn’t have these features, but there is clear evidence that moles have always been the same kind, and have reproduced after their kind, just as Genesis says.
Evidence News vol. 19,
4 December 2019
Creation Research Australia