Twins born in Germany may be alike in many ways, but they have at least one noticeable difference: their skin shades are somewhat different!
Sky News reports that the twins, named Ryan and Leo, are the children of father Stephan from Germany and mother Florence from Ghana. Ryan’s skin is a lighter shade of brown that people call (somewhat mistakenly) “white,” whereas Florence’s is a darker shade of brown that people (equally mistakenly) call “black.”
Sky News reports that doctors acknowledged both that the rare occurrence is genetically possible and that the two were definitely the twins’ biological parents.
Answers in Genesis has drawn attention to such mixed-color twins for years in our resources because they help demonstrate how skin color is merely another genetic variable in the human body, like other physical traits. Making it clear that we are all just different shades of the same skin color—brown—is a reminder that we are all of one human race, descended from our ancestor Adam through Noah. No matter what skin color an individual has, we are all made in the image of God, fallen because of sin, and in need of salvation from Jesus Christ.
High in the Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau, 15,000 feet (4500m) above sea level, scientists were surprised to find “thick layers of ancient lake sediment filled with plant, fish and animal fossils typical of far lower elevations and warmer, wetter climates.”
For those that believe in long ages for our planet, such as team leader Wang Yang, a Florida State University geologist, the find was puzzling, as ScienceDaily explains:
That fossil evidence from the rock desert and cold, treeless steppes that now comprise Earth’s highest land mass suggests a literally groundbreaking possibility: Major tectonic changes on the Tibetan Plateau may have caused it to attain its towering present-day elevations—rendering it inhospitable to the plants and animals that once thrived there—as recently as 2-3 million years ago, not millions of years earlier than that, as geologists have generally believed. The new evidence calls into question the validity of methods commonly used by scientists to reconstruct the past elevations of the region.
Two to three million years ago is still far more time than the Bible allows for earth history—and far more time than catastrophic geology requires to account for earth’s landscape. However, it’s a virtual “moment” in old-earthers’ chronology of earth history, especially considering previous explanations for the Himalayas have ranged in the tens of millions of years. Creationists, based on ample evidence, rely on catastrophic models of geology that can account for thick layers of sediment—laid down over short periods of time in the past six thousand years.
In this case, the lake deposit was probably formed by a post-Flood lake. Water had accumulated on the Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau, which was uplifted by catastrophic plate tectonics at the end of the Flood. AiG’s Dr. Andrew Snelling explains that during this rapid uplift, “[C]ontinuing rainfall erosion would have been severe, so sedimentation would have been rapid enough to bury these plants and animals to produce the fossils—all post-Flood.” And all of this—including the catastrophic plate tectonics—would have been just over four thousand years ago.
What could the plumage of extinct birds have to do with the creation/evolution controversy?
Scientists examining fossilized birds said to be 100 million years old have been able to interpret the color patterns of the feathers. Writing in Biology Letters, the researchers describe how the feathers displayed “striking” black-and-white bands.
Previous microscopic analysis of the bands had showed a granular texture composed of thousands of tiny flattened spheres. Originally interpreted as fossilized bacteria, they are now recognized as melanosomes, cells that cluster in the dark areas of modern birds. By understanding the location and arrangement of melanosomes on modern birds, paleontologists may be able to reconstruct the plumage colors of other fossilized birds, and the team hopes it may eventually extend the technique to deciphering fur colors or even eye colors.
For years, the banding had been of disputed origin. The University of Bristol’s Mike Benton, commenting on the work, explained:
“The banding looks so life-like that it can’t be geological in origin—it has to be biological. But then how do you square that with the well-known fact that the majority of organic molecules decay in thousands of years?” [Our emphasis]
We’ll simply echo Benton’s question—rhetorically! Since the possibility of organic molecules still being intact in these fossils is obviously being dismissed outright, we will have to hold our breath until we find if their only explanation pans out: “Somehow [the melanosomes] are retained and replaced during the preservation process and hence you preserve a very life like representation of the colour banding” [again our emphasis].
Cro-Magnon Man, you may be 28,000 years old, but you haven’t changed a bit!
A team of geneticists led by scientists at the University of Ferrara and the University of Florence have shown that a Cro-Magnoid individual allegedly 28,000 years old was genetically and anatomically consistent with modern humans.
Cro-Magnons are considered by evolutionists to be the earliest modern humans (despite evidence of modernity by Neanderthals) and are thought to have migrated to Europe some 40,000 years ago.
To overcome the risk of contamination, the researchers programmed the computer with the DNA sequences of all people who had previously had contact with the fossil. Nonetheless, the researchers wrote, one Cro-Magnon individual “carried a mtDNA sequence that is still common in Europe . . . demonstrating a genealogical continuity across 28,000 years, from Cro-Magnoid to modern Europeans.”
Of course, for evolutionists, this “proves” that Neanderthals were neither modern humans nor ancestors of modern humans; the report points out that the anatomical differences between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons/modern humans are now clearly associated with genetic differences. But anatomical differences—and minor genetic differences—don’t make a human being more or less human. Cro-Magnons were certainly modern humans, but we can also identify Neanderthals as modern by identifying their behavior—living in groups, burying their dead, creating artwork, using sophisticated hunting techniques, and so forth. Furthermore, the anatomical differences are so minor that it would be easy to pass a Neanderthal off as a “modern” human by dressing him in modern clothing.
When we start from the Bible, it’s no surprise that we find numerous variants of humanity, all genetically similar, but all exhibiting modern behavior. There are minor genetic differences, yes, because of varying anatomical structures; but these do not somehow remove the image of God imprinted on every human.
Researchers are uncovering the secrets of super-strong, lightweight materials—thanks to the anatomy of a common marine worm.
The American science team conducted the first in-depth study of the jaw protein composition of Nereis virens (a.k.a. the sandworm or ragworm), a burrowing marine worm found in shallow waters of the North Atlantic. The sandworm’s jaws are fang-like and extremely strong—approximately as hard as human teeth and far tougher than many synthetic plastics.
The study, which was published in the journal Biomacromolecules, uncovered a unique protein in the sandworm jaw that is rich in histidine, an amino acid. Its formation also involves zinc.
The research press release, from the American Chemical Society, comments:
Their work could lead to the design of a new class of super-strong, lightweight materials for use as construction and repair materials for spacecraft, airplanes, and other applications.
Once again, human engineers can only marvel at the designs of the Creator—who engineered this super-strong, lightweight protein thousands of years before it was discovered!
Have a fancy for identifying bugs? Maybe you can help the experts classify an otherwise baffling bug that first appeared on the grounds of London’s Natural History Museum last March.
The small red and black insect showed up in the museum’s wildlife garden, and has since become the most common insect in the garden. It has also been spotted in nearby areas. And although it appears to be harmless, some wonder whether it will spread throughout the U.K.
The museum staff has tried unsuccessfully to identify the insect, despite having more than 28 million insect specimens in their collection. BBC News reports that the bug “closely resembles” the rare species Arocatus roeselii from central Europe. However, that species is brighter red than the unidentified insect and usually resides around alder trees.
In a surprising twist, scientists at Prague’s National Museum found an exact match to the mystery insect—but they can’t identify what the bug is, either!
Max Barclay of London’s museum explained humorously, “It’s not unusual to find something in the middle of a tropical rainforest. But when you’re eating your sandwiches on the lawn you don’t expect to find something that takes you by surprise.”
The mysterious bug is an interesting reminder of a few things. First, we remember how incredible God’s created world is, teeming with life of all kinds. Second, it reminds us that there are still many creatures out there to be discovered, most of them small, but perhaps some larger ones as well. Finally, this bug could be a product of recent, rapid speciation—a “new” bug, that is, not because of evolution, but because of some of God’s built-in variation allowing the population to adapt to a new environment.
Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us. If you didn’t catch last week’s News to Note, why not take a look at it now? See you next week!
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