Parrots discarded dull colours, claim scientists, according to Inside JEB 17 June 2020 and Journal of Experimental Biology, published online 17 June 2020, doi:10.1242/jeb.225912.

Most birds colour their feathers by producing a mix of two types of melanin pigment – eumelanin, which produces black and grey, and pheomelanins, which produce browns, reds and yellows.  Birds can also add colour by depositing carotenoids into the feathers.  Carotenoids are plant pigments that are absorbed from their diet, and used as antioxidants.  Although melanins and carotenoids can produce deep and rich colours, they are not as bright or vivid as the colours found in parrots.  Eumelanin is also produced by parrots in places where they have black and grey feathers, but their brightly coloured feathers contain completely different pigments called psittacofulvins, which are only found in parrots. 

Ismeal Galván, from the Doñana Biological Station, Spain, along with two colleagues from Brazil and Belgium collected feathers from 28 species of parrots and used a laser scanning technique called Raman spectroscopy to identify the pigments in the different coloured feathers.  They identified eumelanin and psittacofulvins, but no pheomelanin or carotenoids in the feathers. 

The researchers concluded: “As natural melanins are assumed to be composed of eumelanin and pheomelanin in varying ratios, our results represent the first report of impairment of mixed melanin-based pigmentation in animals. Given that psittaciforms (parrots) also avoid the uptake of circulating carotenoid pigments, these birds seem to have evolved a capacity to avoid functional redundancy between pigments, likely by regulating follicular gene expression.”

Link: JEB

Editorial Comment: Psittacofulvin pigments are certainly unique to parrots, and evolutionary biologists most certainly have no explanation for how they evolved.  See our report You Can’t Parrot This Colour here

But let’s be honest, negative evolutionist claims about ‘impairment’ are a nonsense!  There is nothing impaired about parrot colours, and the comment about evolving the ability “to avoid functional redundancy” is a typical evolutionary non-explanation, for what is clearly an example of brilliant colour design.  Using the basic rule of science known as Occam’s Razor, that the simplest explanation usually turns out to be closest to the truth, parrots do not need to make pheomelanin, or absorb carotenoids into their feathers, simply because they have been created with other pigments in their feathers. 

When you see a colourful parrot, don’t think negative “impairment”, but rejoice in their positively brilliant design and artistry, and give thanks to their Creator, who declared everything that He had made to be very good.  (Genesis 1:31).

Evidence News
5 August 2020
Creation Research Australia

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