Evolution in (In)Action

on July 21, 2011

An Australian lizard can apparently either give live birth or lay eggs.

An Australian lizard can apparently either give live birth or lay eggs. This ability raises the question, is it evolution “caught in the act” (as National Geographic declares*), or is it an incredible ability explained within the creationist perspective?

In Australia’s warm coastal lowlands, a yellow-bellied three-toed skink lays eggs (like most reptiles), but in the colder mountains, most individuals of the same species give live birth.

Secularists speculate that the ability of different animals to give live birth evolved from oviparity (egg-laying). But before you jump to the conclusion that this flexibility among skinks hints at a way mammals may have evolved viviparity (live births), it’s important to remember the vast difference between skink births and mammal births. Skinks simply retain the eggs (that is, the shelled embryos) inside their bodies, while most mammals develop a special organ, called a placenta, rather than a shell.

So is this species of skink really “evolving” from egg-laying to live birth, as the National Geographic Daily News headline states? On the contrary, this discovery showcases the fact that God designed some lizards with the ability to switch birth methods in response to environmental conditions.

Meanwhile, researchers have observed no sign that skinks (or other creatures) have acquired or are acquiring completely new physiologies or behaviors that weren’t already latent in them.

Australian Skink

© Rune Midtgaard - www.natureswindow.dk

Within the same Australian skink species, some have the ability to lay eggs or give live birth. Is this evolution or a God-given design?

This remarkable adaptability is built into these skinks by their Creator, but it was apparently not revealed until they experienced the appropriate conditions (such as colder mountains). It is very likely that many traits are still stored away in God’s creatures. They just may need the right conditions to make them manifest.

* National Geographic Daily News: "Evolution in Action: Lizard Moving from Eggs to Live Birth"; http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/09/100901-science-animals-evolution-australia -lizard-skink-live-birth-eggs/