The researchers say that multiple lines of evidence — from the skull anatomy and teeth, to the flipper and vertebral column — show that this large dolphin (a toothed whale in the group Odontoceti) was a top predator in the community in which it lived. They say that many features of the dolphin’s postcranial skeleton also imply that modern baleen whales and modern toothed whales must have evolved similar features independently, driven by parallel evolution in the very similar aquatic habitats in which they lived.
“The degree to which baleen whales and dolphins independently arrive at the same overall swimming adaptations, rather than these traits evolving once in the common ancestor of both groups, surprised us,” says Robert Boessenecker of the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. “Some examples include the narrowing of the tail stock, increase in the number of tail vertebrae, and shortening of the humerus (upper arm bone) in the flipper.Cell Press, “15-foot-long skeleton of extinct dolphin suggests parallel evolution among whales” at ScienceDaily
Paper. (open access)
The problem parallel (convergent) evolution creates for Darwinism is that the available chances for purely random hits on solutions to problems are reduced if the solutions developed independently, instead of being derived from a common ancestor. Convergent evolution better fits a theory of evolution that involves front-loading, however it happens.
See also: Evolution appears to converge on goals—but in Darwinian terms, is that possible?
Billion-year-old Trichoplax has everything needed for a nervous system but no system It’s almost like the nervous system is software that was never used.?