From “How Sticky Toepads Evolved in Geckos and What That Means for Adhesive Technologies” (ScienceDaily, June 28, 2012), we learn:
Geckos are known for sticky toes that allow them to climb up walls and even hang upside down on ceilings. A new study shows that geckos have gained and lost these unique adhesive structures multiple times over the course of their long evolutionary history in response to habitat changes.
“Scientists have long thought that adhesive toepads originated just once in geckos, twice at the most,” says University of Minnesota postdoctoral researcher Tony Gamble, a coauthor of the study. “To discover that geckos evolved sticky toepads again and again is amazing.”
Less amazing (more predictable) is this typical Darwinist evasion:
The researchers found that sticky toes evolved independently in about 11 different gecko groups. In addition, they were lost in at least nine different gecko groups. The gain and subsequent loss of adhesive toepads seems associated with habitat changes; e.g., living on boulders and in trees versus living on the ground, often in sand dunes, where the feature could be a hindrance rather than an advantage. “The loss of adhesive pads in dune-dwelling species is an excellent example of natural selection in action,” Bauer says.
The evasion, of course, is the idea that natural selection, acting on random mutation, somehow just produces the quality as needed, time and again, in the gecko evolutionary tree. They don’t come right out and say that because it would sound too much like magic.
A friend writes to observe,
Other than the improbability of this event, and other than the fact that we don’t have any fossil evidence of “gaining and losing”, isn’t this just another way of saying that the “common descent” tree can’t explain gecko feet?
Well, sort of. Darwinian evolution is like communist economics. You can describe any phenomenon as long as you invoke the reigning rubbish to pretend to explain it. It’s the descriptions people should listen for, not the explanations.
See also: Nature (journal): “Tearing apart” the traditional animal family tree
You can do that Darwinian magic too! Fun with Darwin words