Electro-sense cost platypus teeth, according to Science Advances 2016;2: e1601329, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1601329, published online 12 October 2016.

A team of scientists from Japan, USA and Australia have compared the skull of the present day platypus with that of a fossil platypus named Obdurodon. The fossil platypus is larger than the present day platypus, and it has teeth, whereas living platypuses do not. Living platypuses forage for food on river bottoms using electric senses in the “duckbill” and chew their food with horny plates.

The research team used x-ray images of the fossil and present day platypus skulls to estimate the size of the canal that contains the nerves and blood vessels supplying the e-sensing duckbill. They found the canal in the present day skull is relatively large compared with the overall size of canal in the fossil. The researchers concluded the large canal does not leave any room for tooth roots. They suggest that the fossil platypus hunted for food under water or on the water surface, and was more dependent on using its eyes than the electro-sense, but as platypuses evolved they became bottom feeders, which would have stirred up the mud, making the water cloudy, so they became more dependent on the electro-sense. Living platypuses are known to forage for food with their eyes closed.

The research team concluded, “loss of functional teeth in Ornithorhynchus may possibly have resulted from a shift in foraging behaviour and coordinated elaboration of the electroreceptive sensory system”.

A summary of the research in Science is headed “The platypus’s sixth sense cost it its teeth”. (Ornithorhynchus is the scientific name for the present day platypus.)

Science Advances

Editorial Comment: Interesting story, but let’s consider the actual evidence. We have a fossil platypus with a large skull and teeth, and living platypuses have small skulls without teeth.

The evolutionists’ “just so” story doesn’t make sense. Why would a creature that could find lots of different kinds of food from the top to the bottom of the water in a pond or river decide it only wanted to forage soft food on the bottom? Even if some demented platypus decided to do that, it would not make its skull shrink nor make its teeth fail to grow. Changes in skull and teeth require changes to the genes that control the growth of the skull and teeth.

It is more likely that the loss of teeth is part of the overall shrinkage of the platypus skull, probably due to degenerate loss or damage to growth promoting genes. We know from the platypus genome that they do have genes for tooth enamel, but it takes more than enamel to make teeth.

Whatever the cause, loss of teeth and restriction to foraging for soft food on river bottoms is the opposite of evolution. Devolution is a more suitable word for this change. The platypus has changed from complex to simple, and not the other way around. The relatively large nerve canal would be preserved because without it, the platypus would not have survived at all. This change is consistent with the overall degeneration of the environment that has been going on ever since God cursed the ground and later sent Noah’s flood as judgement on human sin.

Evidence News vol. 16, No. 20
2 November 2016
Creation Research Australia

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