Birds run on water but how? According to reports in Science (AAAS) News 22 April 2015 and Journal of Experimental Biology, doi: 10.1242/jeb.122838 April 2015, a team of researchers led by Glenna Clifton of Harvard University have studied the “rushing” behaviour of Western and Clark’s grebes, water birds that live on the lakes of the Pacific Northwest USA. The “rushing” is a courtship behaviour where pairs of birds rise up from the water, run across the top of the water for several metres, and then dive into the water.

Scientists were intrigued as to how these fairly heavy birds manage to stay on top of the water as they run. They found the birds used “three novel tactics to successfully run on water.” These are: they run with a high step frequency – up to 20 steps per second; they slap their feet down on the water with the toes spread out; and they then pull their feet out to the side with the toes folded together. Grebes have distinctive feet with wide lobed toes and flattened foot bones. Collapsing the toes together, combined with the flatness of the feet, reduces drag as they pull their feet from the water.

The research team claim “the mechanisms underlying this impressive display demonstrate that evolution can dramatically alter performance under sexual selection”.

Science, JEB

Editorial Comment: Come on guys, this is where evolutionist explanations really get dumb! If you want to mate attract a mate by running on water, you need to be able to do it first or your relationship will get that sinking feeling. The grebes’ unusual courtship behaviour reminds us that sexual selection, like natural selection, is a real process, but also like natural selection, it only explains why such behaviours are successful in creatures that already have them, and never explains how such structures and behaviours came into being.

Time to think, even for Nye the Guy, and admit that the desire to run on water can never create the genes to make flat lobed feet, or re-wire muscle control centres in the brain to make the correct movements. A popular evolutionary theory is that creatures co-opt features they already have for new purposes, and grebes’ unusual feet have been shown to be useful for efficient paddling. However, even if the birds already have correctly shaped feet, what would give them the desire to run on water, and think that at the same time such behaviour would attract a mate?

Here we have a good example of how both structure and behaviour go together, and it makes no sense trying to imagine how one would evolve without the other. In fact, the rushing behaviour of grebes, and their extraordinary feet, are good evidence that grebes are the product of a clever and humorous Creator, who also could walk and run on water because He made it and He made the Grebes also. (Ref. ornithology, mating, locomotion)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 8
20 May 2015
Creation Research Australia