Biological cloaking design of silver fish offers biomimetic possibilities.
Brighter is not always better, especially for silvery fish needing to evade predators. Yet sardines and herring flourish. Researchers from Bristol’s School of Biological Science have discovered their secret—a cloaking “technology” that twists the laws of physics to their advantage.
Normally, when light reflects off a shiny surface it becomes polarized, with the light waves all aligned to match the surface off which they bounced. That’s why a smooth water surface can produce such a glare. Silvery fish are shiny because they have multiple layers of reflective guanine crystals in their skin. Yet they don’t announce their presence to predators with a similar flashy glare because their skin takes photonic science a step further.
There are actually two different kinds of guanine crystals in these reflective layers. Each kind of crystal has a different “refractive index,” the property that determines the angle at which light is reflected. Thus, as light is perfectly reflected from each kind of crystal, the combined reflection contains light waves that are not all aligned. Hence, there is perfect reflection without polarization and without glare. Instead, the fish seem to match and mirror their environment, remaining virtually hidden in plain sight.
“We believe these species of fish have evolved this particular multilayer structure to help conceal them from predators, such as dolphin and tuna,” explains Dr. Nicholas Roberts, coauthor of “Non-polarizing broadband multilayer reflectors in fish” published in Nature Photonics. “These fish have found a way to maximize their reflectivity over all angles they are viewed from. This helps the fish best match the light environment of the open ocean, making them less likely to be seen.”
This natural “cloaking technology” could be the biomimetic clue leading to improved optical devices. “Many modern day optical devices such as LED lights and low loss optical fibres use these non-polarizing types of reflectors to improve efficiency. However, these man-made reflectors currently require the use of materials with specific optical properties that are not always ideal,” explains lead author Tom Jordan. “The mechanism that has evolved in fish overcomes this current design limitation and provides a new way to manufacture these non-polarizing reflectors.”
Biomimicry is the science of copying designs and processes found in nature to produce technological innovations. Evolutionists consider such amazing designs to be evolutionary success stories. Fish with better camouflage would have a selective advantage favoring survival, but fish possessing this feature are just a variety of fish. Nothing about this discovery indicates that the silver fishes’ optical twist on physics came about through molecules-to-man evolution. God created the principles of physics by which the world operates as well as all kinds of life in it. And if inventors are able to imitate the principles behind the shiny fishes’ cloaks to produce better optical devices, they will not be imitating evolution but rather making use of one of God’s designs. The evolutionary insistence that designs like this are the products of time, chance, and the laws of nature (the only factors in blind, purposeless, directionless evolution) ultimately is an attempt to rob God of His glory. This discovery, like many others, instead reveals the creative and artistic genius of our glorious Creator.
Primordial primate said to have scampered about the trees in ancient Montana.
Modern paleontological artistry surely puts modern forensic science to shame. From just some teeth found at Montana’s Purgatory Hill, paleontologists have known for decades that a little bushy-tailed brown squirrel-like critter1 was really the last common ancestor of primates and whatever other mammals evolved from it. They “know” it evolved around 65 million years ago, shortly after dinosaurs (the real ones, not birds) died out.
And now, having found that some previously unidentified ankle bones in a box of miscellaneous bones from the same region are the right size to go with the teeth, evolutionists assert that teeth and ankle all belonged to this squirrel-like primordial primate (called Purgatorius) and that it was a tree-dweller with flexible ankles. They believe the ankle made arboreal success possible for our ancestors.
“This animal’s foot clearly had a wide range of motion,” explains graduate student Stephen Chester, who presented his team’s findings at the 72nd annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Raleigh, North Carolina. “This mobility would have allowed for rotating the foot in different directions as it adjusted to different angles presented by tree trunks and branches. It also shows that the first primates did not have elongated ankles that you see in many living primates today that are thought to be related to leaping behaviors.”1 Explaining the significance of the discovery, Chester says, “We really think this closes the question of where the first primates were living. The way in which the earliest primates lived has been a subject of great debate for many years, but these fossils are the first direct evidence that shows that these primates spent most of their time in the trees following their divergence from other mammals in the earliest Paleocene.”2
Why did this animal’s evolutionary destiny lead it up into the trees? Chester’s colleague Jonathan Block says, “We think there is a connection here between primates and plant evolution, with fruits [believed to have evolved about the same time] playing a role in luring them up.” The team says that many mammals were around at that time but that these flexible ankle bones spelled “evolutionary success”2 for little Purgatorius, keeping it around until it could evolve farther up the evolutionary tree.
Incidentally, “recent phylogenetic analyses” and attempts to match Purgatorius’s teeth to characteristic teeth of placental mammals have “failed to support” its primate or placental evolutionary relationships.2 That evolutionary discrepancy seems to have escaped the notice of most, since those ankle bones have provided ancestral primates with their first real boost to arboreal life, 60 million or so years before they needed to come down and walk bipedally to complete the evolutionary story of “us.”
The story still sounds good to paleontological colleagues. “I buy it. These guys certainly know their morphology,” says paleontologist Robert Anemone from Western Michigan University. But another, Kenneth Rose of Johns Hopkins University, cautions, “The anatomy of these specimens certainly matches that of known Paleocene primates, but a skull or a full skeleton would tell us so much more.” William Clemens, whose team originally found the bones in Montana’s Garbani Channel, says, “We’ve still got an immense collection of unidentified bones to sort through,” so maybe they will yet be able to put something together. Frankly, even the assumption that the ankle bones and the teeth came from the same animal is wishful guesswork. So who knows, they might even find a brown bushy tail in the box to go with all the existing conjectures long based only on those teeth!
What they won’t find, however, is anything to prove this animal changed into a different kind of animal or that this creature is a remote ancestor of humans. Such imaginative connecting of the ancestral dots is rampant in evolutionary thinking. This creative approach to science is even easier when the desired transitional animal can be manufactured by assuming random parts belong together.
This worldview-based determination to explain life while ignoring God’s account of creation presupposes that complex creatures evolved from simple ones. In the evolutionary model, any similarity, even the features of some disembodied teeth, supposedly supports their predetermined contentions about where we came from. God left us an eyewitness account of His creative work in the Bible, from which we know He created all kinds of animals, plants, and the first humans without evolution about 6,000 years ago. He designed them to reproduce after their kinds (but with genetic potential for variation within each kind), which is what science observes them doing, rather than evolving into increasingly complex new kinds of organisms.
Evidence demonstrates preservation of cellular proteins in dinosaur fossils.
Ever since Mary Schweitzer identified red blood cells and blood vessels inside fossilized dinosaur bone in 2005, debate has raged. Could protein and cellular structures survive for millions of years? Schweitzer unveiled her latest discoveries at the 72nd annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Some evolutionists have insisted the purported protein-containing structures in Schweitzer’s specimens must be bacterial biofilm—a microbial slime. Biofilm proponents believe bacterial slime in old blood vessels just looks like vessels and blood cells. Even a springy texture could, they say, be produced by such “biofilm morphs.”3 Regarding these allegations, Schweitzer, showing a blank slide, said, “Here’s the data in support of a biofilm origin. We haven’t found any yet.”4
Schweitzer and colleagues have continued to press the case for the authenticity of preserved dinosaur soft tissue. Newly published data presented at the conference demonstrates that four kinds of protein molecules like those found in modern bone cells remain in fossils of two dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex and Brachylophosaurus canadensis.
The four proteins—actin, tubulin, PHEX, and histone H4—are found in modern eukaryotes but not in bacteria. Histone H4 is a DNA binding protein, and although no DNA was sequenced, additional stains confirmed the presence of some DNA. PHEX protein is found in the osteocytes (mature bone cells) of many kinds of organisms.5 Human, rodent, and avian PHEX proteins have a high degree of homology, their amino acid sequences being very similar.6
Osteocytes are encased in minerals even in living organisms. After demineralization of the fibrous collagen matrix, Schweitzer’s team used monoclonal antibodies to identify the proteins. Thus tagged, the proteins outlined star-shaped osteocytes. These results rule out “biofilm morphs” and demonstrate that cellular proteins do remain in some dinosaur fossils.7
Monoclonal antibodies must be designed in the laboratory to match specific targets. The antibody used to detect PHEX is OB7.3. It was developed in the 1980s to target chicken osteocytes.8 For this reason, much of the research performed on bone cells has been done on chickens, and it was not until the 1990s that monoclonal antibodies for mammalian osteocytes were developed.9 OB7.3 targets part of the PHEX molecule.10 And unlike the comparable mammalian antibody, OB7.3 only targets PHEX in osteocytes, not in their precursor osteoblasts.11
Schweitzer’s team used the osteocyte-specific monoclonal antibody, OB7.3, to confirm these osteocytes were really osteocytes. OB7.3 tagged PHEX in the osteocytes of ostrich bones as well as in the two dinosaurs tested, though not in alligator bone. “The PHEX finding is important because it helps to rule out sample contamination,” Schweitzer says. “Some of the antibodies that we used will react to proteins found in other vertebrate cells, but none of the antibodies react to microbes, which supports our theory that these structures are surviving osteocytes.”
Schweitzer believes additional support for the genuineness of these dinosaur proteins comes from the hypothesis that dinosaurs are “closely related to birds.”7 However, homologous proteins are only an example of common design by a common Designer, not proof of ancestry. The same can be said of many proteins that appear in homologous forms throughout the biological world. Cross-reactivity of OB7.3 with dinosaur PHEX does not demonstrate that dinosaurs evolved into birds.
The survival of protein molecules and even cellular structure in dinosaur fossils is now authenticated. The question remains, how long can such biomolecules last? It is impossible to experimentally test for millions of years of survival. Dates claiming millions of year ages for these fossils are based on unverifiable assumptions, not experimentally demonstrable proof.
These photos (see above) are showing us bone cells and DNA from dinosaurs buried around 4,300 years ago during the global Flood. We see that God, the common Designer of all creatures, naturally used the same proteins to construct the microstructure of dinosaur cells as He used for other creatures. For that reason, monoclonal antibodies developed today can detect these proteins in these ghostly osteocytes of extinct dinosaurs.
Unprecedented global heat left its footprints in tiny teeth.
Global warming of epic proportions is now suggested not only as a major cause of the end-Permian mass extinction but also as the explanation for a five-million-year evolutionary lag in recovery of biological diversity. The Permian graveyard, conventionally dated at about 250 million years ago, marks the final appearance for more species than any other catastrophe in history, exceeding even the end-Cretaceous dinosaur swan song.
Researchers reported October 19 in Science that they have developed a way to precisely measure temperatures during the Permian-Triassic transition. They extrapolated temperatures from oxygen isotope ratios in 15,000 tiny conodont teeth. Conodonts are extinct eel-like marine vertebrates found in the fossil record from the Cambrian through the Triassic layers. The teeth were removed from two tons of South China rock from the Permian-Triassic boundary, with dates ranging 252 to 247 million years ago. Because marine animals today preferentially utilize lighter isotopes of oxygen in their skeletal construction at warm temperatures, the oxygen isotope ratio was used to estimate the temperatures at which the teeth were built and buried.
The idea of high temperatures associated with the Permian mass extinction is not new. The end-Permian rock layers coincide with enormous quantities of Siberian volcanic lavas, so some have suggested that carbon dioxide gas released with those eruptions caused severe global warming.12 Those Siberian volcanic lavas cover an area nearly the size of Australia.13
“Global warming has long been linked to the end-Permian mass extinction, but this study is the first to show extreme temperatures kept life from re-starting in Equatorial latitudes for millions of years,” according to lead author Yadong Sun. Hot conditions persisted for 5 million years, the authors conclude, due to the massive deficit of plant life. Without plants to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the earth became “like a runaway greenhouse,” coauthor Paul Wignall explains, producing temperatures too hot for most organisms to thrive or even survive. Based on isotopes in conodont teeth, researchers believe temperatures at the ocean surface exceeded 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). (Normal equatorial sea-surface temperatures today are 25 to 30 degrees Celsius (77–86 degrees Fahrenheit).13
The dates associated with the current study’s time-tracked temperatures are based on unverifiable assumptions associated with dating methods. Those geologic layers of sediment that were deposited by the Flood and its aftermath were laid down over a short span of time, not millions of years. The fossil record is not a chronicle of gradual evolution and extinction. Much of the fossil record reflects instead the order in which organisms were catastrophically buried during the global Flood.
The global Flood began with the disruption of the ocean basins as “the fountains of the great deep were broken up” (Genesis 7:11). The Paleozoic rock sequence consists of the lowest layers deposited by the Flood. Marine creatures buried by the initial oceanic upheavals dominate it. In the uppermost Paleozoic rocks, amphibians and land animals make their appearance. The “mass extinctions” in the fossil record are really regions representing the massive burial of organisms swept together from various ecosystems.14 Thus the Permian layers at the top of the Paleozoic sequence likely correspond to the time when rising Flood waters were beginning to overwhelm more terrestrial ecosystems.15
The likelihood that hot temperatures prevailed when Permian and Early Triassic sediments were deposited also makes sense in light of biblical history. Geology reveals much volcanic activity associated with the fossil record, notably in the end-Permian and end-Cretaceous layers. That high temperatures prevailed when they were deposited is consistent with the unprecedented level of volcanic activity associated with the global Flood. The break up of oceanic crust would have released tremendous quantities of hot lava into the oceans. However, those remarkably hot conditions did not produce five million years of scorched earth. But the effects of this volcanic heat did continue past the year of the global Flood, promoting meteorological conditions that within a few centuries ultimately produced the Ice Age.
Editorial exhorts veterinarians and physicians to embrace evolution.
One Health is a joint initiative started in 2007 by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Medical Association to encourage cooperation between medical professionals who care for animals and for people. Recognizing not only the similarities between humans and many animals but also their frequently shared interaction with disease-causing organisms, One Health seeks to foster interdisciplinary collaboration to meet these challenges. Its goal is to improve “the lives of all species—human and animal—through the integration of human medicine, veterinary medicine and environmental science.”16
Writing in the Point/Counterpoint editorial forum of clinician’s brief, a publication of The North American Veterinary Conference, Dr. Leonard Marcus and Dr. James Evans complain that One Health is failing in its goals because it has not demanded the acceptance of evolution. The writers consider molecules-to-man evolution with its assumptions of a common ancestry for all living things to be the foundation for all One Health stands for. They write:
Notably lacking, however, has been a discussion of evolution as its [One Health’s] principle underlying scientific basis. Acknowledging and embracing that concept is essential if the philosophy and objectives of One Health are to be realized. Training in evolutionary biology must be part of the education of every veterinarian, physician, and biologist.
Raising the iconic claim that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution,”17 they add:
It is because of common ancestry that all living things have shared metabolic functions and respond in similar ways to pathogenic agents. The closer the evolutionary relationship between organisms, the greater is their similarity in anatomy, physiology, pathology, and response to treatment. The fact that diverse organisms respond to similar pharmacologic treatments is testament to common ancestry, which is the essence of One Health.
They cite the development of antibiotic resistance and the emergence of virulent microbial pathogens as the “frightening” reason all medical professionals must embrace evolution, lest the world be devastated by a preventable pandemic. They warn:
Only by understanding the evolutionary relationships among critical organisms (birds, pigs, viruses, and humans in the flu pandemic) will we be able to apply appropriate surveillance and develop specific vaccines and treatment.
Veterinarians are critical to such efforts and must be at the forefront of progress in preventing the next worldwide pandemic.
Evolutionary biology is a critical tool in our goal of lessening the burden of disease on this planet. On the other hand, blind faith in constructs (e.g., intelligent design) leave [sic] us without the demonstrably efficacious tools of rationality and science.
Without a mandate to embrace evolution, the writers imply trained medical professionals will be ineffective. To fail to embrace evolution in every area of medicine, they contend, is to court worldwide disaster.
The writers demonstrate a number of misconceptions. By assuming as incontrovertible fact their worldview-based belief in common evolutionary ancestry for all life, they embrace an idea that lacks (and always will lack) experimental confirmation. Historical (origins) science—since it deals with events in the unrepeatable, untestable past—cannot be examined with controlled scientific tests.
The writers insist that evolution from a common ancestor is the only explanation for shared biology between humans and animals. Thus they ignore the fact that life has never been shown to randomly emerge from nonliving elements—an event demanded by their evolutionary principles in violation of biology’s fundamental law of biogenesis (the fact that life only comes from life). They also ignore the fact that science has failed to demonstrate a mechanism by which new genetic information to fuel increasingly complex development can be acquired through random natural processes.
Furthermore, the writers fail to acknowledge that common design by a common designer—which we understand to be the Creator God—explains the unifying principles of biology, such as metabolic similarities and similar responses to pathogens. A common designer (God) who created all living things to live in the same world would sensibly design principles of biochemistry suitable for all. A common designer would also sensibly employ useful designs and modified versions of those designs to create many kinds of living things. Science has never shown how matter through random natural processes could produce genetic information.18 Our infinitely intelligent and eternally living Creator is the source for all the genetic information that directs the development of every living creature.
The writers treat the acceptance of a common designer—“blind faith in constructs (e.g., intelligent design)”—with unjustified contempt, saying it “leaves us without the demonstrably efficacious tools of rationality and science.” Yet the evolutionary faith to which they cling and to which they would compel others represents only their own determination to “not allow a Divine Foot in the door.” With blind faith in naturalism, evolutionists concoct just-so mythological stories to explain the origin of living creatures.19
How, we might ask, can belief in a Creator deprive us of the “tools of rationality and science”? Scientific testing takes place in the present. Observations are made in the present. Understanding that biological relationships exist as a result of common design cannot deprive a scientist of sense or blind him to the biological truths evident in the laboratory or the practical application of them.
Actually, mistaken belief that evolutionary ancestry left people with useless vestigial organs has historically blinded medical science to some truths about the important functions of some anatomical structures, including the thymus, the appendix, and the pineal gland.20
Furthermore, their scare tactics—predicting catastrophic failure to understand antibiotic resistance and microbial pathogenicity—display a lack of discernment. The writers claim, “Microorganisms and parasites evolve to become drug resistant in accordance with the laws of natural selection.” Antibiotic resistance—commonly treated as the poster child of molecules-to-man evolution—does not demonstrate acquisition of genetic tools to evolve more complex kinds of organisms. A combination of mutations, horizontally transferred genes, environmental changes, host changes, and natural selection can transform harmless or mildly pathogenic microorganisms into deadly ones,21 yet none of these changes have anything to do with the processes that would be required for a molecules-to-man sort of evolution to occur. Antibiotic resistance involves similar processes, also without acquisition of information needed for upward evolution. Bacteria remain bacteria, and even a trillion years of mutations and natural selection would not change them into bacteriologists.
Creation scientists recognize natural selection as an observable process that acts on existing genetic material, including horizontally transferred genes. Natural selection, however, has nothing to do with evolution of new kinds of organisms. Utilizing genomic analysis to fight microbial pathogens, interpreting epidemiological data, and developing vaccines have nothing to do with molecules-to-man evolution. Nothing about a creationist belief blinds scientists to the tools and understanding needed to deal with disease.
“Understanding evolutionary biology” will not help relieve the burden of disease on the planet. And frankly, if the dollars and efforts invested in trying to prove the “facts” of an evolutionary past were instead invested in addressing the pathological problems of the present, perhaps we would be “lessening the burden of disease” a little more effectively.
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