Often portrayed as a simple Darwinian development, it was recently admitted at Nature to be a puzzle:
The giraffe’s neck has long been a beloved icon of evolutionary theory. According to the story, one of the giraffe’s short-necked ancestors had a slightly longer neck, which helped him reach leaves the other animals on the savannah couldn’t. This gave him a survival advantage he passed on to his offspring. Or maybe the female giraffes really dug his slightly longer neck, giving him a reproductive advantage. Same result. He passed his slightly longer neck on to his offspring. Rinse and repeat a few thousand times, and voila, the lineage ends up with 600-pound, six-foot long giraffe necks. – Jonathan Witt (March 13, 2023)
One prevailing theory is that giraffes evolved longer necks to reach higher trees for food. “This is widely believed; it’s really entrenched,” says Simmons…. [But] research has shown that giraffes tend to eat from lower levels, and tall giraffes aren’t more likely to survive drought, when food competition is highest. Another idea is that giraffes evolved longer necks for sexual competition, with male giraffes engaging in violent neck-swinging fights and longer necks attracting mates…. [But] males don’t have longer necks than females.” – Nicola Jones, “How the Giraffe Got Its Neck,” Nature, June 2, 2022, internal references removed. For additional evidence against the “necks for sex” hypothesis, see Byriley Black, “Giraffe Necks Not for Sex,” National Geographic, January 15, 2013.
Much more at the link.
19 Replies to “At Evolution News: Evolution’s Tall Tale — The Giraffe Neck”
The biggest problem with all the long neck explanations leading to the giraffe’s neck is why is it not everywhere in the animal kingdom?
Similarly, strength was a limiting characteristic with humans in generating food. So why didn’t all humans become super strong? Certainly there were entities in the population that were stronger than others and these stronget individuals should have left more offspring. There should be nothing more important than food in having more descendants.
“The biggest problem with all the long neck explanations leading to the giraffe’s neck is why is it not everywhere in the animal kingdom?”
Indeed, Jerry. This is why all Evolutionary “explanations” are exposed as just-so stories upon a cursory inquiry.
Isn’t “God did it” the biggest just-so story of all? Believers don’t even ask how because they have a one-size-fits-all explanation.
“Isn’t “God did it” the biggest just-so story of all?”
Well, when design is present, there was a designer. But that’s even irrelevant to my comment.
My comment identified as Evolution being just so stories, and you haven’t done anything so far to even argue otherwise.
Darwinian just-so stories vs. reality:
Darwinists have been misinterpreting reality for 150 years …
It is not, because autonomous self-navigating flying systems do not self-design. You need a very very very skilled engineer/creator/designer … so simple is it …
When you people will finally get it ?
Yes, that is true but it is also logically possible.
On top of logically possible it is the most likely explanation. Something created the universe and in a very specific way. What was that force? Had to be massively powerful and intelligent. That is just logic working. That the universe was created in a specific way implies purpose. That is logic working.
That there aren’t other animals that have long necks, indicates the long neck was not created by straining to get food at high levels. That is logic working.
That is why ID is science+ It is science plus logic. Normally logic has been part of most science since the begging of time but when political motives override logic, logic gets thrown out.
So Sev throws a rock at someone’s window and disappears.
So what else is new?
Asauber, Martin_r, and Jerry,
Yes, exactly! The REAL gods-of-the-gaps infest Darwinism. Their names are MUSTA, MIGHTA, and EMERGED, and they are frequently invoked to slather intellectual putty over the massive gaps in Darwinian science-fantasy explanations.
More to the point, I just looked at the following article about the longest-necked animal every found:
From the artist’s conception, wouldn’t it make more sense that this animal primarily walked along deep rivers and lakes with similar behavior as the hippo? Hippos stand on its hind legs while submerged and walk along the bottom of lakes since they can’t float.
Regardless, it would be important to try to find physical evidence to support any speculation. For example, it’s likely that the observed behavior of hippos would also appear in muddy lakes as footprints of their hind legs in addition to all fours.
However, there’s no extant observational evidence that giraffes ever submerge themselves in water–especially considering the danger of crocodiles. So, many of the MUSTA and MIGHTA science fantasies that Darwinists propose without a shred of evidence remind me of this humorous video:
Seversky @ 3:
No. “Evolution did it” is the biggest just-so-story of all. That in a world of causality, a First Cause is invoked (Aristotle) does not surprise anyone. Likewise, in a world where random processes degrade, invocation of randomness makes little sense. As Steven Meyer might put it: “It has little ‘explanatory’ power.”
“ So Sev throws a rock at someone’s window and disappears.
So what else is new?”
Okay, here’s a list of the 10 animals with the longest necks:
What do they have in common? It occurs to me that the design advantages for longer necks might have different advantages.
For example, a longer neck might be necessary in support of longer legs (imagine how a short necked giraffe would drink water). Longer legs can wade deeper in lakes and tall grasses, brush, and scrub. Some long-legged animals can deliver crippling blows in defense such as with giraffes and ostriches.
Jerry hits on an important point. Natural selection has provided humans with an outsized brain rather than brute strength or agility. That brain provides us with superior cognition, learning, adaptability, and, perhaps most important, problem-solving behavior which, in turn, gives us a huge competitive advantage. Quite frankly, as history tells us, an almost unfair competitive advantage…….
So, what would you estimate YOUR chances of surviving would be in the middle of the Amazon or in the wilds of Alaska without food, clothing, or tools? Surely your superior brain will provide you with everything you need. Now try this with a rat instead.
Oh wait, I bet you’d evolve into a monkey.
Querius does understand that fitness is relative to niche! 🙂
Jerry logic at work:
Jerry’s logic condemns Lamark’s ideas to the pages of history. 😉
Where are the cameras? What is this? “Survivor: Season 4 or 5 ” or whatever season they are up to?
It’s precisely because NS has provided us with the brain we have that we don’t have to try to survive naked and toolless in the jungle or on the tundra. Or fight grizzlies or anacondas with our bare hands. We actually have guns and HVAC to do that for us. I mean knock yourself out if you want to give it a shot and run around the Yukon naked. Who knows, you might win the “Survivor” grand prize…..
No one can show that natural selection, whatever that is, had anything to do with the brain.
It’s just idle speculation with no proof. Logic would actually say otherwise. Like the giraffe’s neck it’s unique when it should be ubiquitous.
Aside: people watch too much TV. They start to believe what they see on it.
Haha! No guns, no electricity, just your naked body and your superior brain against hungry jaguars or grizzly bears.
My bet is that you’d be pooped out of some animal’s anus before your superior brain could figure out how to make clothing or a bow and arrow.
Just sayin’. But I would bet that the far more evolved rattus would beat you, paws down!
Am I wrong?