The wandering salamander is tree dwelling amphibian than living the canopy of some of the tallest trees in the world – coastal redwoods.  Like many animals that live in tree canopies it can jump off tree limbs and land safely further down the tree after a controlled glide.  The salamanders are well suited to a tree-dwelling life with long limbs with the long toes and a flattened body, but unlike other gliding animals the salamanders lack obvious structures for controlled flight such as skin flaps or webbed feet. 

Scientists at University of South Florida tested the gliding ability of wandering salamanders in a vertical wind tunnel.  They found the salamanders could slow their rate of descent by about 10% by spreading their legs like a skydiver in free fall.  They also found the salamanders could control the direction of the fall by movements of their torso, limbs and tail. 

Christian Brown, who led study, summarised their results: “These salamanders were not only able to slow themselves down, but also used fine-scale control in pitch, roll, and yaw to maintain upright body postures, execute banking turns, and glide horizontally. This level of aerial control was unexpected because these salamanders do not seem to possess conspicuous features for aerial control.” 

The research team wrote in their summary: “Selection pressures imposed on falling from heights can be substantial, and have resulted in the evolution of diverse aerial behaviors among arboreal taxa”.
References: Science (AAAS) News 23 May 2022; SciTech Daily 28 May 2022; Current Biology 23 May 2022, doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.04.033

Editorial Comment:  Natural selection cannot turn a non-flying creature into a flying creature.  Anything that does not already have the body structure and nervous system to control its body and limbs in a way needed to make a controlled descent after jumping off a tree will be selected out.  Selection pressure cannot build those features in.  Selection pressures will only eliminate the creatures that can’t fly, should they be foolish enough to try. 

The idea that natural selection can make new living things is a lie made popular by Charles Darwin with his book title “On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection”.  However, selection means to choose from a number of already existing alternatives.  It is not a creative process, and cannot produce anything new.  Sadly, many generations of scientists have chosen to put blind faith into what clearly cannot happen because they do not want to face up to the reality of the Creator who made them as well as the salamander. 

A more scientific explanation for these skydiving salamanders, i.e. an explanation based on actual observations, is the salamanders already have the body shape and muscle control to move their body and limbs to make controlled descents built into them by the Creator who designed them to live in trees.

Creation Research News 1 June 2022

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