Let Us Learn From the Lizards

Alright, can someone explain to me once more how Evolution is just a wad of improvable nonsense? Because based on the newest evidence, it would seem that the most logical explanation is continuing to play out perfectly.

Lizards Rapidly Evolve After Introduction to Island

Italian wall lizards introduced to a tiny island [called Pod Mrcaru] off the coast of Croatia are evolving in ways that would normally take millions of years to play out, new research shows.

In just a few decades the 5-inch-long (13-centimeter-long) lizards have developed a completely new gut structure, larger heads, and a harder bite, researchers say…

Gee, sounds like textbook Evolution to me. But couldn’t they just be a new species we hadn’t discovered yet?

Genetic testing on the Pod Mrcaru lizards confirmed that the modern population of more than 5,000 Italian wall lizards are all descendants of the original ten lizards left behind in the 1970s…

OK, then it’s clearly a contrived experiment. The scientists hate Creationism so much they set it all up to look like the lizards evolved, right?

While the experiment was more than 30 years in the making, it was not by design…

After scientists transplanted the reptiles, the Croatian War of Independence erupted, ending in the mid-1990s. The researchers couldn't get back to island because of the war…

In 2004, however, tourism began to open back up, allowing researchers access to the island laboratory…

The transplanted lizards adapted to their new environment in ways that expedited their evolution physically…

Pod Mrcaru, for example, had an abundance of plants for the primarily insect-eating lizards to munch on. Physically, however, the lizards were not built to digest a vegetarian diet.

Researchers found that the lizards developed cecal valves—muscles between the large and small intestine—that slowed down food digestion in fermenting chambers, which allowed their bodies to process the vegetation's cellulose into volatile fatty acids.

In layman’s terms, that means that the lizards adapted to their new environment rather than starve to death. That is, by definition, Darwinian Evolution.

So, you science-minded folks out there who have a rough time of proving to Creationists that Evolution is a reality, simply point them to this National Geographic article.

And you Creationists out there who can’t accept the idea that maybe, just maybe, God decided to make everything in a logical, methodical manner, well, I don’t know what to tell you. All viable evidence contradicts the notion that we just appeared here as we are. You can choose to keep denying it, but that doesn’t change the fact that the lizards on Pod Mrcaru evolved.

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About kirkstarr

I draw pictures for a living.
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24 Responses to Let Us Learn From the Lizards

  1. Crom74 says:

    Flies, all flies…

  2. Austin1234 says:

    Excellent post, and sure to confuse and confound the voodoo swilling wingnuts that refuse to evolve.

  3. Kirk says:

    It's not that I think believing God created everything is bad; belief without proof is the very definition of faith. What I have a problem with is this silly idea that the universe came into being in the last 6,000 or so years and that man appeared on Earth just as he is today.In other words, people who believe in God are religious, but people who believe God is some impulsive magician are the voodoo swilling wingnuts, in my mind.

  4. Austin1234 says:

    Agreed, we are a strange, infantile culture with our fire and brimstone and literal Bible translations. So much that religion may be the death of God. As Woody Allen once remarked, "If Jesus came back and saw what people, are doing with his teachings, he'd never stop barfing."

  5. Kevin Wolf says:

    I don't think Ben Stein would like you very much.

  6. Kevin Wolf says:

    Somebody should do a parody of his role in Ferris Bueller:

    "And man evolved how? Anybody? Anybody…that's right, he didn't, because God made him…And what else did God make…anyone…anyone? That's right…everything.

  7. Kirk says:

    "I don't think Ben Stein would like you very much." A real bummer, that.Your parody idea is brilliant, Kevin. Stein's voice is easy enough to imitate; it's the look that might be difficult to nail down. You happen to know anyone as droopy and sad as he is? Who on SNL do you think would be best to play him?

  8. Kevin Wolf says:

    I'm not too familiar with the current crop of SNL people, but Bill Hader seems capable of impersonating practically anybody.

  9. R.G. Ryan says:

    Well…I'm a creationist AND I believe in evolution. You'd have to be completely obtuse to ignore the fact that adaptively species are in a constant state of evolving. I went to Harper's Ferry, VA a few years back (site of the 1859 raid on the armory led by John Brown) and was stunned at the display of uniforms and shoes the soldiers wore. The average size of a Civil War soldier was 5'5", shoe size–7. Have we evolved? Uh, gee, I don't know.

  10. Kirk says:

    Thank you for a very astute comment, RG. I agree with you on all counts, except that I am convinced that we humans evolved from the same organisms as other primates."I'm a creationist AND I believe in evolution."Me, too. As long as each is kept in its appropriate place and the understanding of the fundamental differences between the two are acknowledged, I see nothing wrong with the belief that God created complicated life via evolution. It's the utter denial of evolution that makes me start judging the Creationist intellect.

  11. Budd says:

    I see no contradiction in evolution and creation. I mean, I evolved from a zygote into something way more complicated.

  12. DKN says:

    About those lizards. Where I have difficulty is that new species or
    not…they're still lizards. And the canine–while greatly evolved–is
    still a canine. Is evolution a reality? Adaptively, absolutely. Were
    the lizards formerly something else entirely? I don't know…we just
    don't have the fossil records to prove it one way or the other.Actually, we do have that evidence…dinosaurs, in part, were a part of the genetic chain of reptiles…and birds, too, and they are even finding connections to mammals as well. Evolution doesn't mean that a creature becomes a completely different creature, certainly not right away. It has more to do with gradual changes over long periods of time within an existing species, rather than a complete transformation of an existing species into a new species. When species with certain features have died off and the others continue to live, having honed their traits that guarantee their survival via genetics, THEN the transformation into a new species occurs. For us, this took millions of years to occur. This misunderstanding has led people to believe a non truth about Darwinian Evolution which is that we evolved directly from other primates that walk on all fours. We actually evolved from other primates that walked upright – now where their long line of changes came from originally, no one is quite sure but the only logical conclusion is that THEY evolved from other primates that likely walked on all fours. Not us. So yes, canines are still canines and lizards are still lizards. Just like bipeds are still bipeds – we just have a lot less hair and stuff 🙂

  13. R.G. Ryan says:

    "we just have a lot less hair and stuff 🙂 "Are you implying that I'm going bald????? Oh, wait…I AM bald!!! Shoot!

  14. Steve Betz says:

    Great post! I hadn't heard that. Here's to a very well controlled if completely accidental experiment.
    If those animals could still mate and reproduce with their "mainland" cousins then I would consider these adaptations and not evolution into a new species. Phenotypic changes happen all the time (coat/feather color, size/length) as responses to a change in environment — but when counterbred back to an original population they have no problem — it would seem to take many generations to evolve into a separate species.
    One adaptation would be RG's example of size of an adult male from 1860 to now. There's no genetic difference to someone 150 years ago, but humans in just a few generations have adapted to better environment — food, shelter, clothing, nutrition, medicine improvements across the board — have occurred to make the "average joe" pretty huge by 18th and 19th century standards.

  15. SweetMisery says:

    Hopefully this won't piss off anyone, but I have really reached a point in my life where I just don't care anymore. Tra la la

  16. Jay says:

    And because lizzids are lizzids and not peeple, and peeple really only care about peeple, here's an article to bring that into light as well.Of course, all fossil evidence was planted by God for us to find anyway. He made it look Old to fool us.God plays both good cop and bad.

  17. Kzinti says:

    Actually, our genetic material is closer to pigs than monkeys. And why is it so hard to think that if God made everything else that he could have made evolution as well? Sheesh, narrow minded religious people…

  18. Kirk says:

    "And why is it so hard to think that if God made everything else that he could have made evolution as well?" I think that it's 50% literalist thinking (a day is a day, dammit) and 50% stubborn resistance due to most evolutionists being unapologetic atheists.

  19. Brown Suga' says:

    I saw in a programme on Animal Planet where they were saying that human males will be extinct in the next 200,000 years, because the Y chromosome has only 750 genes as compared to 1507 in the X chromosome. There is a species of lizard – I forget the name – that has already evolved to that point – all the lizards in this species are female, and their offspring are only female. Two female lizards simulate male-female sex to begin ovulation. I don't remember exactly how it works. But it was awesome and somewhat creepy. No men in 200,000 years? Hopefully I won't be reborn then … :-/

  20. paikea says:

    Kirk, you might be interested in this article – on a book written about how the study of fruit flies greatly impacted the field of evolutionary biology:)

  21. As R.G. Ryan pointed out, these lizards aren't necessarily a new species. It appears that they've merely demonstrated the variability that naturally exists in most species. Even the most dyed-in-the-wool Creationist isn't going to deny that natural adaptation exists. After all, it's how we created so many breeds of dogs. What's in doubt is the means of speciation, upon which evolutionists can't agree.
    When I first rejected evolution, it had nothing to do with being a Christian. In fact, I was a militant atheist at the time. The issue I had with it was a lack of scientific basis. There's a lot more faith in Science than people would like to admit. The existence of natural adaptation is beyond question. But the mechanisms of speciation — and whether it even occurs — are still very much in doubt.

  22. Kirk says:

    "The issue I had with it was a lack of scientific basis…" Ah, but it is testable. Unlike Creationism, which is pure metaphysics and cannot be tested. Please don't forget: I'm a Christian who just happens to believe Evolution is simply the logical way in which God went about things."…the mechanisms of speciation — and whether it even occurs — are still very much in doubt." I'm afraid I'll have to respectfully disagree. Also, here's a book on the subject (one of many) that refutes your claim.

  23. Yes, anything claiming to be a science needs to be testable. And that's one of my main complaints about evolution — it hasn't been demonstrated to be true through testing. (Though I want to make it clear that natural selection — a component of evolution — is demonstrably true.) As for creationism, it's a religious belief, not a science, so it needn't be tested. Intelligent design, on the other hand, claims to be a science and therefore should be testable. Though I'm a creationist, I'm not a supporter of intelligent design and believe that it's a misguided attempt to eliminate the teaching of evolution in schools. If people want evolution to be removed from the classroom, then they should attack it on a purely scientific basis (which I believe can be successfully done). Intelligent design also overlooks one important point: If creation by God could be demonstrated through science, what need would there be for faith?
    Regarding speciation, what defines a "species" is not as clear-cut as you may think. In fact, there are numerous (and sometimes conflicting) definitions of species, leading to what's referred to as the "species problem". On his site, Rutgers University's evolutionary geneticist Jody Hey defined this issue as follows: "One of the most pernicious uncertainties in evolutionary biology is the meaning of the word 'species'. This question, and the general absence of consensus on the best methods to identify species, have been called the species problem." Note that Hey is a firm believer in evolution and the existence of speciation.
    Some of the examples on The TalkOrigins Archive page that you referred to even demonstrate this problem. Roughly half of these "species" are examples of populations of the same organism that simply don't interbreed. They're genetically identical and are capable of producing fertile offspring, but they simply don't do so. This places the matter into the realm of ethology (the study of animal behavior), not evolution. By the way, there's even a page on The TalkOrigins Archive site that addresses the "species problem" — and does so badly.
    Despite all this, I really don't think that arguing over evolution, speciation, creationism, and intelligent design gets to the heart of the matter. And that, in my opinion, is the arrogance of Science in believing that it can know All Things™. If you believe in God and that you have a soul, then that means that there are non-material elements to our universe that science can't discover or explain. In addition, that means that those forces violate the very laws of nature every single moment of every single day. And if that's the case, then there are limits to science — and few scientists want to admit to that.

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