Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Darwinists censor writer re: Fish that jump onto land unaided complicate the water-to-land transition story


In an interesting contretemps, Douglas Main at Discover ‘s 80 Beats, reports on “Study: Fish Have Been Jumping on Land for 150 Million Years and Hiding it From the Fossil Record” (2011/10/11):

How did animals move from water to land? The answer may have just got a little murkier. A study published this month in the Journal of Experimental Zoology found that two distantly related fish share a similar method for jumping about on land, suggesting that a common ancestor evolved this ability long ago. But unlike amphibious fish such as the mudskipper, which has pectoral fins adapted to “walking” on land, these fish have no specialized equipment for leaping, and would therefore leave no evidence of their talent behind in the fossil record.

This led researchers to hypothesize that a common ancestor of the two fish evolved the capacity to jump on land, more than 150 million years ago. The researchers are currently filming the jumping behavior of every fish species they can get their hands on to conclusively determine whether jumping did in fact evolve once or whether it cropped up multiple times in different lineages.

The latter would seem far more likely, of course, because it’s not apparent that any special equipment is necessarily required for just plain jumping.

At any rate, Darwinists pounced on the comment

The finding complicates the study into the evolutionary transition of animals from water to land: the process didn’t necessarily include only transitional forms like the famous ‘fishapod’ Tiktaalik.

They forced Main to strike it.

Of course, the finding complicates the study of the evolutionary transition of animals from water to land, for a reason that Main refuses (so far) to back down from:

… this jumping ability, as noted, requires no noticeable anatomical peculiarity and thus hasn’t been left, or “recorded,” in the fossil record (as opposed to, for example, the mudskipper’s modified fins, which can be fossilized).

Yes, exactly. Stick to your point, Main, and quit expecting Darwinists to “get” the problems.

For the rest of us: The fact that many fish can hop around on land without requiring any special equipment complicates acquiring a set-in-stone record of the transition to land. We might never be able to find out who was doing it when.

And now here’s some fun with jumping zebrafish:

Follow UD News at Twitter!

Darwinists censor writer
The writer in question:
Douglas Main Says: October 12th, 2011 at 2:40 pm John & Matt: Thanks for your good points, and you’re right. I mischaracterized the impact of the study, so I’ve stricken the following sentence: “The finding complicates the study into the evolutionary transition of animals from water to land: the process didn’t necessarily include only transitional forms like the famous ‘fishapod’ Tiktaalik.”
News, please can you read the articles you quote before you compose the headline! Elizabeth Liddle
You know there are fish with lungs right? That live in the water? wd400
Seems an expanded definition of 'censor' is operating here. Reading the comments, I don't see where they "forced Main to strike it." Just an honest sharing of a good point, that upon reflection, caused the author to make a correction. DrREC
Why not consider the lobe-finned fish that we know have lungs with some species being obligate air-breathers, i.e., they will drown if held under water. What difficlties do these adpatations present for the land-water transition? These species also have ciliated eggs which no other fish species posses. Amphibians also have ciliated eggs. Common Descent? Acipenser
About two weeks ago my wife was watching a Travel Channel show location from somewhere in the Carribean islands. The photographer was showing a Barracuda patroling back and forth in the shallow shoreline where it's presence caused a small perch to jump from the water and beach itself. The photographer felt sorry for the perch, chased the Barracuda away and gently eased the small perch back into the water as it was too far up the edge to jump back in by itself. I myself have seen as a kid when out fishing, many sunfish beach themselves when a largemouth bass was on the prowl. But hardly proof of fish evolving legs. If such behavior has been happening and going on from the beginning of time for life billions of years ago, then surely there is no reason we haven't found such a transitional lucky mistake happening even right at the present. Of course, maybe all the Bisphenol-A molecules are creating set backs for any of us viewing this event any time soon. But never underestimate the desparation of an intuitive artistic ideologue for making it up as they go along. Faith is a powerful motivator and weapon in the wrong hands. Eocene
Right now someone is asking, "Why would a fish jump out of water onto land? How might that be beneficial rather than fatal? Whatever benefit that is, isn't there a better way to attain it? Why would this same behavior evolve more than once?" Or someone has already asked those questions. The answer will be whatever someone can imagine. Maybe multiple people will imagine multiple clever possibilities. That is evolutionary science at its finest. Whatever they come up with will become part of the history of our origin. ScottAndrews
For a fish living in water, at what point does jumping onto land become an "ability?" Even though there would be no land-based predators, this implies an evolutionary transition in which the first step is suicide. Isn't evolution supposed to weed out animals that randomly kill themselves? (Except when it doesn't!) ScottAndrews

Leave a Reply