Did Fingers and Toes Originate From Fins?

on September 27, 2008

Evolutionary scientists have discovered the origin of fingers and toes: fishlike creatures that swam the seas hundreds of millions of years ago. So what exactly was the science behind the discovery, which was reported in Nature?

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The researchers took a look at fossil specimens of Panderichthys, a fish and alleged transitional form. Evolutionists believe the extinct (as far as we know) Panderichthys to be a transitional form that shows part of the sequence from fish to terrestrial tetrapods (though, as The Telegraph puts it, Panderichthys was “nonetheless more fish than tetrapod”).

Scientists wondered how fish fins slowly evolved into weight-bearing limbs with articulated joints.

But scientists wondered how fish fins slowly evolved into weight-bearing limbs with articulated joints, an obvious necessity for walking on land. Were there any signs of such change in Panderichthys?

The problem is, it seems that all “good specimens” of Panderichthys come from a single location: a brick quarry in Latvia, where the color of the clay is nearly identical to the color of the bones—making it “nearly impossible to see what is going on” with skeletal details, explained Uppsala University researcher Per Ahlberg, one of the authors of the Nature study.

So Ahlberg and colleagues decided to use a hospital CT scanner to better discern the Panderichthys skeleton. “We could see the internal skeleton very clearly, and were able to model it without ever physically touching the specimen,” Ahlberg explained.

According to the team, the scans revealed “rudimentary fingers” that had previously been (surprise!) “overlooked.” The Telegraph reports:

The image shows stubby bones at the end of the fin skeleton clearly arrayed like four fingers, called distal radials. There are no joints, and the bones are quite short, but there could be no doubt as to what they were.

Strangely, however, the heavily hyped “transitional form” Tiktaalik, which is considered by evolutionists to be farther along in the fish-to-tetrapod sequence, had fins that “remained largely fish-like.”

“What we have shown is that the hand and the foot emerge from pre-existing bits of the fin skeleton that were just reshaped, rather than being entirely new bits that were bolted onto the existing fin skeleton,” Ahlberg claimed. And in the imagination of evolutionists, that might be so.

But we would like to call to readers’ attention the story of the coelacanth. For many years, the coelacanth was only known from the fossil record and was considered to have gone extinct some 65 million years ago (when it disappeared in the fossil record). What’s more, it was thought to be a transitional form that used its lobed fins to walk on the ocean floor. In fact, evolutionists believed the coelacanth evolved into a land-walking tetrapod.

Dozens of live coelacanths have been discovered.

Since 1938, however, dozens of live coelacanths have been discovered, disrupting not only evolutionary interpretations of the fossil record, but also disproving evolutionists’ claims that it walked. Instead, these coelacanths swim along just like any fish, using their fleshy, bone-filled lobed fins to paddle—not to walk.

And so it goes, we suspect, with Panderichthys (and Tiktaalik, for that matter), even if they ever “walked” (keeping in mind that “walking” can be loosely defined in evolutionary circles to include any ambulation across a solid surface, such as slithering with the use of fins)—the evidence that their skeletal structures necessarily enabled walking, or digit development, is purely in the imaginative minds of evolutionists, who need to identify transitional forms to support their preexisting acceptance of evolution. It’s even possible we’ll discover Panderichthys or Tiktaalik in the deep sea someday, swimming with strong fins that God designed just for that purpose.

P.S. Even ignoring the testimony of the coelacanth against evolution, don’t forget that evolutionists still haven’t given evidence that chance mutations could result in the genetic information that would have been required to “reshape” (to use Ahlberg’s word) fishy fins into fingers—or to transform fish to philosophers!

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