Case Study: Terrestrial Whale to Aquatic Whale

By James M. Rochford

Darwinists point to the evolution of the whale as a hallmark case for speciation. Consider the evolution from a terrestrial whale to an aquatic whale:

Pakicetids (fully terrestrial): ~50 mya

Ambulocetids (semi-aquatic): 49 mya

Remingtonocetids (semi-aquatic): 49 mya

Rodhocetus (a Protocetid, semi-aquatic): 47 mya

Basilosaurids (fully aquatic): 40 mya

Darwinists point out that the aquatic whale has a vestigial hip bone. The term “vestigial” comes from our term “vestige.” This means that it is leftover from earlier. Whales don’t need hips to walk, so this points to common descent from earlier, land-based ancestors. Evolutionist Michael Shermer asks, “Modern whales retain a tiny pelvis for hind legs that existed in their land mammal ancestors but have disappeared today.”[1] Why would whales need a pelvis like this, if they were swimmers?

This, of course, is good evidence for common ancestry. Why would whales contain a vestigial hip if they were specially created? On the other hand, many aspects of physiology which were once thought to be useless and vestigial, now turn out to be quite necessary for functional use. Luskin writes,[2]

The tonsils: At one time, they were routinely removed. Now it’s known they serve a purpose in the lymph system to help fight infection.

The coccyx (tailbone): Many evolutionists still claim this is a hold-over from the tails of our supposed primate ancestors, but it’s actually a vital part of our skeleton, used for attaching muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the bones in our pelvis.

The thyroid: This gland in the neck was once believed to have no purpose, and was ignored or even destroyed by medical doctors operating under false Darwinian assumptions. Now scientists know that it is vital for regulating metabolism.

The appendix: Darwinian scientists have claimed the appendix is a “vestige of our herbivorous ancestry,” and over eons of evolution its function in humans has been diminished, or lost. But it’s now known that the appendix performs important functions, such as providing a storehouse for beneficial bacteria, producing white blood cells, and playing important roles during fetal development. In light of this evidence, Duke University immunologist William Parker observed that “Many biology texts today still refer to the appendix as a ‘vestigial organ’” but “it’s time to correct the textbooks.”

Additionally and more importantly, the Darwinian account of the evolution of the whale faces considerable problems: what mechanism could account for the change in the terrestrial whale? Remember, the terrestrial whale had:[3]

Birth on land.

Had a well-developed pelvis.

Had well-developed hind limbs.

Had a sacral vertebrae.

However, the aquatic whale had:

Highly reduced hind limbs.

No sacral vertebrae.

No fully developed pelvis.

Fully aquatic birth.

A counter current heat exchange (testes inside the body).

Ball vertebrae (a wolf’s tail goes side-to-side, not up and down).

Reorganization of the kidney (freshwater to saltwater).

Modified mammary glands (nursed underwater).

Forelimbs changed into flippers.

Hydrodynamic properties of the skin.

Novel muscle systems for the blow hole.

Modification of the eyes and teeth, etc.

Neo-Darwinism states that mutation and natural selection can account for the evolution of the whale. That is, DNA replication messes up, producing mutants in a species. Most of these mutations are worthless and die off. However, some mutations survive to produce offspring (i.e. natural selection), creating diversity and change in the species over time. Darwinism states that this mechanism can produce the aquatic whale over time.

However, mathematically, there simply weren’t enough generations for enough mutations to occur. Between these two species, there were only 400,000 generations. When we crunch the numbers, there simply were not enough generations, to have enough mutations, to have enough natural selection, to produce the fully aquatic whale. To add to this conundrum, recently an ancient whale jawbone was found (October 2011), which dates to 49 million years ago. This would make the jump within one million years—not ten million.[4]

Finally, consider how many transitional forms we would expect to see between a walking whale and an aquatic whale. Of course, millions of transitions would be expected. However, the fossil record doesn’t reflect the transitional forms that we would expect to see.

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[1] Shermer, Michael. Why Darwin Matters: The Case against Intelligent Design. New York: Times, 2006. 18.

[2] Luskin, Casey. More than Myth: Seeking the Full Truth about Genesis, Creation, and Evolution. Chartwell Press, 2014. 43.

[3] This list is generously taken from the work of Dr. Richard Sternberg, who holds two PhD’s in Biology and Systems Biology. From 2001-2007, he was a Research Associate at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. See his page here.