Top Biology News of 2018: Year in Review

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2018 was a busy year for biology on a number of fronts. From a Nobel Prize for 'evolution in action' to scientists discovering that most species have a recent origin, biology was very busy on multiple fronts throughout the year. We covered many of these events on Answers News or on our website as we continue to equip the church to answer the skeptical questions of our day.

Fossils

Numerous new fossils were either discovered or announced to the public in 2018 from a variety of animal groups. In February, evolutionists pronounced that they had found the missing link between dinosaurs and birds. This missing link was nothing more than a species of the extinct bird Archaeopteryx. The fossil was simply being reinterpreted as a missing link according to the evolutionary worldview.

In June, scientists announced that they had discovered “the world's oldest rainforest frog” preserved in amber. While researchers were quick to trumpet this frog as being millions of years old, it remarkably resembles modern tree frogs and was clearly recognizable as a frog. Unsurprisingly, frogs have remained frogs.

August was a busy month for paleontology. At the beginning of the month, researchers announced that they had made fossils in the lab in a mere twenty-four hours. All that was needed was the right conditions, conditions that remarkably resemble what creationists expect would have existed during Noah’s global flood. The same month scientists announced that a sauropod dinosaur had been discovered “too early” in the rock layers, and in the wrong area of the earth. Predictably based on the evolutionary worldview, the evolutionists simply adjusted their timeline, rather than abandon their ideas.

Speciation

In June, a major genetic study was released, revealing that 90% of extant species have arisen in the last 200,000 years. This conclusion was not what the researchers expected, but it fits beautifully with the biblical worldview. If we ignore the assumed time it takes for a species to form, then this number drops even further. To support their worldview, evolutionists assume speciation takes a long time. This is the opposite of what we observe in real life.1

In July, Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson, one of our resident geneticists and author of Replacing Darwin, published an article on our website that took these results and expounded on them by discussing mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Dr. Jeanson used mtDNA data on humans as an example to demonstrate that human mtDNA originated around six thousand years ago. He then devoted a section of his article to debunking theistic evolutionary objections to this idea by demonstrating that the only way to document ancestry is through DNA, not the fossil record.

Into the Water

As one of the opening articles of the year, we discussed the eye of the scallop. Most people do not even think of scallops as having eyes, but some species have over 200 incredibly complex eyes which closely resemble the design of a space telescope! Yet evolutionists refuse to accept that the scallop eye brings glory to God, but not their blind, unguided process.

On back-to-back days in September, we discussed some fascinating sea creatures. One day we discussed the bonnethead shark, which has been discovered to eat sizeable amounts of seagrass as part of their regular diet. In fact, researchers put them on a seagrass diet, and the sharks thrived. This hearkens back to the time before the fall when even sharks would have only eaten plants. The next day, Dr. Matthew Ingle’s article on on coral reefs debunked the longstanding evolutionary claim that giant coral reefs, like the Great Barrier Reef, are too old for the earth to be 6000 years old. Dr. Ingle discussed coral growth rates and how reefs are built and why these facts are perfectly consistent with a young earth.

Moving to freshwater, in October, we published an article on annual killifish which addressed the fastest maturing vertebrate. Researchers had recently discovered that one species, Nothobranchius funzeri could sexually mature in as little as two weeks. This led to them being extensively used in aging research. However, the annual killifish lifestyle provides excellent evidence for God’s original design in creation. Their special lifestyle and incredible design points to their original creation, and their adaption to the post-flood world.

Nobel Prize

In October, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to three researchers for what was called “evolution in action.” One researcher was able to mutate an enzyme to make it more efficient in breaking down a given target. The other two worked with bacteriophages and were able to produce a more effective antibody. However, neither of these studies is evolution in action. In fact, they merely demonstrate that intelligence is needed to create something beneficial! There was no chance involved: everything was guided by the researchers. On top of that, no new proteins or information was produced. The protein parts were simply shifted around to make them work slightly more efficiently.

Odds and Ends

In March, just in time for spring, a study was released that pushed the origin of photosynthesis back by a mere billion years, making it older than the earth itself! However, since the research was based on evolutionary assumptions, the researchers simply adjusted assumptions and came up with numbers more palatable to the ruling paradigm. This study just illustrates that the evolutionists will not accept any data that contradicts their ideas, regardless of the source.

In November, we published an article in response to a Pew research poll that asked people about their views on genetic engineering. This is particularly relevant given that a Chinese scientist purportedly used CRISPR technology to genetically engineer two baby girls in vitro.2 Our article discusses genetic engineering in light of the biblical worldview, and how genetic engineering must be viewed and applied differently to animals than it would be to man.

Looking Ahead

We trust God will provide us with a blessed 2019. We’re looking into covering a wide variety of topics including polyploidy, cladistics, hoatzin, the “evolution” of skin pigment, “quirks of evolution,” island animal “evolution,” and much more. Keep an eye on our website for answers to these and other questions of our skeptical age.

Footnotes

  1. Mark C. Ungerer, Stuart J. E. Baird, Jean Pan, and Loren H. Rieseberg. “Rapid Hybrid Speciation in Wild Sunflowers.” PNAS 95, no. 20 (September 29,1998): http://www.pnas.org/content/95/20/11757.
  2. “Chinese scientist claims to have created ‘worlds first genetically edited babies’,” The Telegraph November 26, 2018. Accessed December 14, 2018. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/11/26/chinese-scientist-creates-worlds-first-genetically-edited-babies/

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