Echolocation origin revealed, according to articles in Discovery News, Monash University News 13 April 2016 and Tech Times 15 April 2016 and Biology Letters 12 April 2016.DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0060. Dolphins, porpoises and other toothed whales, collectively named odontocetes, use high frequency sounds to communicate with one another, and also to navigate and find food by echolocation. To do this their inner ears must have the structure to receive high frequency sounds.

Scientists at Monash University have studied the ear bone from a fossil toothed whale known as a xenorophid, dated as 26 million years old. They were able to examine the internal structure of the bone using a CT scanner, and found it had the structure needed for hearing high frequencies, just like living echolocating whales. Travis Park, who led the study, commented: “When I first looked at the inner ear of the xenorophid, I was blown away by just how similar this incredibly old toothed whale was to a modern echolocating dolphin”.

According to Discovery News “The similarity between the ancient toothed whale’s inner ear and that of today’s dolphin, the researchers say, solves a long-running mystery of just when dolphins first evolved their ability to echolocate”.

Erich Fitzgerald, Museum Victoria’s Senior Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology, who was also involved in the study, commented: “Our paper shows even the earliest known fossil odontocetes have all the tools for echolocation seen in living dolphins. But they must have evolved from something that didn’t quite have all the tricks of the odontocete trade. What were those animals like and how did they start down the path to sonic supersenses? The quest for the origins of this extraordinary group of creatures continues”. (emphasis in original)

The Monash University News article is entitled “Fossil reveals the origin of dolphin hearing and communication”.

Discovery News, Monash News, Tech Times

Editorial Comment: Hey, did you notice the difference between what the scientists actually found, and the twist the media headlines put on it? Unfortunately, most people only get to see popular news headlines such as “Fossil reveals the origin of dolphin hearing and communication” and media comments claiming this fossil “solves a long-running mystery of just when dolphins first evolved their ability to echolocate”.

However what scientists actually found was a fossil whale ear bone that has the same structure as living whale ear bones. Therefore they concluded, quite reasonably, the fossil whale had the same echolocating ability. Furthermore, they admitted they had not found how a non-echolocating whale turned into an echolocating whale, even though they did assert their already held evolutionist belief that it must have happened.

This vast gap (missing link) between the actual discoveries and the story told about them is one of the reasons we publish Evidence News, and we encourage you to pass it onto students (and get them to sign up for it here) so that they can learn what science can and can’t tell us about the history of life on earth.

The other reason we send out this newsletter is to show how scientific discoveries confirm the Biblical history of the world, not undermine it. In the case of whales, Genesis tells us God created all sea creatures, including whales, as fully functioning creatures according to their kinds. One direct prediction about evidence based on this, is that fossil odontocetes (dolphins, porpoises, whales etc.) should have ear bones designed for echolocation, just like their ‘after their own kind’ descendants, the living odontocetes do, and that is exactly what this new research confirms. (Ref. cetaceans, sonar, fossils)

Evidence News, vol. 16, No. 7
27 April 2016
Creation Research Australia

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