For the evolutionary story to be possible, there must be some evidence of creatures undergoing intermediate stages of evolution. So do a dwarf gecko’s hairy toes show signs of stepwise evolution in progress?
A recent news story caught my eye when I read the following quotes:
But new analysis suggests one Gonatodes species is on its way to developing adhesion. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside say Gonatodes humeralis offers a “snapshot” of evolution.
“Until now, we had not seen a gecko showing the beginnings of the adhesive system,” [Timothy Higham, a gecko expert and associate professor of biology at UCR] said. “In all the innovations seen in the animal kingdom, we rarely get to see their beginnings.”
Higham says the new findings—detailed in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society—offer further proof of the falsities of “intelligent design” theories. [emphasis ours]
So what exactly did Professor Higham and his research team discover? Well, they found that one species of dwarf gecko (mentioned above) has setae (microscopic hairs) between its toes. Setae allow this particular gecko to scale sheer surfaces and cling to leaves and plant stems—areas that other dwarf geckos can’t access. Like many other geckos not of the Gonatodes genus, it achieves this by using van der Waal forces. As explained in our article, “Gecko Feet—Best Foot Forward”: “Simply put, if the electrons of two different molecules are thrown out of sync in close contact to each other, they form a temporary bond.”
Now this particular dwarf gecko does not have the full adhesive pad system of other geckos; all that it has are the microscopic setae between its toes, yet it is still able to perform many of the same acrobatic feats of these fully padded geckos.
Commenting on this in a press release, Professor Higham stated:
The relatively simple adhesive system of the G. humeralis is indicative that slight modifications in form can dramatically influence functional outcomes and the ecological niches that can be exploited. . . . This ostensibly padless gecko offers us a snapshot—a crucial intermediate stage—of the evolution of the adhesion apparatus. It’s telling us, “Look, this is how pad-bearing geckos started to acquire adhesion.”
Evolution takes place in incremental steps, as the “snapshot” we report on shows. Complexity does not start with complexity. Small modifications can, however, lead to complexity. Key innovations can come about in small incremental steps and lead to feedback processes that result in the more complex renditions of such systems. Our research offers more experimental evidence to show this is true.
So does this particular gecko really prove the “falsities of intelligent design”? Does it really show evolution in action? Is this one gecko “climbing mount improbable” and starting on its way from nonadhesive to fully adhesive feet? No, Professor Higham is only offering up his own hypothesis (his story) and not really producing evidence about complexity starting from small modifications. He's only assuming this feature is part of the process to the gecko’s full-fledged adhesive pad. It’s not as if setae are even unique to geckos; spiders, insects, and some chameleons have them as well. None of them have the adhesion pads of geckos. Over and over again, we see that God created some animals living in the same environments to have similar features.
This particular dwarf gecko just shows the variety placed within the gecko kind.
What we do see is evidence of a gecko uniquely designed to live in its environment and exploit areas for food where its competitors (and perhaps its predators) cannot go. The observational science shows that geckos are still geckos—some with no adhesion, some with limited adhesion, and others with full-fledged adhesive pads. This particular dwarf gecko just shows the variety placed within the gecko kind. This has absolutely nothing to do with the molecules-to-man evolutionary belief.
For more information on this subject, read “Gecko Diversity and Evolution” by AiG’s Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.