Are Humans Driving “A New Kind of Evolution in Animals”?

by Ken Ham on May 20, 2024
Featured in Ken Ham Blog

There’s no question that humans have been and are continuing to change the earth, sometimes in minor ways, sometimes in dramatic ways. Those changes impact a wide variety of species, from animals to plants to fungal life. But are our cities, roadways, waterways, and more driving “a new kind of evolution” across animal species?

A lengthy article from Scientific American claims that “anthropogenic evolution is affecting species across the planet” and gives a variety of examples of the species who’ve been impacted, including tree swallows, fireflies, hermit crabs, crested anole lizards, and more. As humans change the environment and create cities that produce urban heat, light, air pollution, and more, animal species must adapt to their environment likewise changing. The author writes,

One consequence of this change is that we are creating mismatches between animals and the settings in which they evolved. Creatures, once well-equipped to meet the challenges of their environment, suddenly face a world in which their fine-tuned behavioral adaptations are no longer adaptive at all. In some species, natural selection is recalibrating behavior so that individuals are better suited to their new circumstances. The question is whether it will be able to do so fast enough to keep pace with human transformation of the planet we all share.

Now as you read through the article—an article that’s supposed to be all about “a new kind of evolution in animals”—one thing the astute and informed observer will notice is, well, there’s no evolution described in the article! There’s no new kind of creature formed!

The article mentions tree swallows laying eggs earlier in the year, anole lizards being able to withstand higher temperatures, and mice that were more inquisitive and bolder than other mice. But the swallows stayed swallows, the anoles stayed anoles, and the mice stayed (you guessed it!) mice! There was absolutely no change of kind, just minor changes within a species (a subset of a biblical kind) as animals adapted to their habitats because of variations in their genome and (possibly) epigenetic changes.

Examples like these of slight variations and shifts within a population are consistently used as evidence for “evolution in action,” but we’re not observing “molecules-to-man” evolution.

Examples like these of slight variations and shifts within a population are consistently used as evidence for “evolution in action” but we’re not observing “molecules-to-man” evolution. We’re observing the process of natural selection and adaptation, which is not evolution as it does not (and cannot!) create brand-new, functioning DNA for new forms and features.

No evolution has occurred or is occurring. But that doesn’t mean humans aren’t shaping and changing the world around us, for better or for worse. The changes the article highlighted are a reminder that we’re to be good stewards of creation as we take dominion and subdue creation. This means we need to carefully observe how our innovations impact God’s creation and make appropriate action to conserve and preserve the wonderful things that God has made.

However, we must remember this earth has changed in so many ways since creation—the effects of the fall, the curse, the flood, the ice age, and so on.

Climate Change Answers

Now, when it comes to humans impacting our world, climate change is usually the drum that’s constantly beaten by activists. The never-ending barrage of climate alarmism has many children feeling hopeless or scared about the future. They need the truth about the climate!

I encourage you to check out a brand-new resource, Climate Change for Kids…and Parents Too!. I wrote this book with environmental scientist Jessica DeFord to help children and families have a biblical view of the climate, one grounded in the truth of God’s Word, the history God has given us, and observational science. I think you’ll find this resource very helpful! You can find it in our online store.

Get More Answers on Answers News

This item was discussed today on Answers News with cohosts Dr. Jennifer Rivera, Dr. Tim Chaffey, and Patricia Engler. Answers News is our weekly news program filmed live before a studio audience here at the Creation Museum and broadcast on our Answers in Genesis YouTube channel and posted to Answers TV. We also covered the following topics:

  • Fossil found cloning itself?
  • Good news for religious freedom in California.
  • Are US medical groups “misleading the public” about transgender children?
  • And more!

Watch the entire episode of Answers News for May 20, 2024.

Be sure to join us each Monday at 2 p.m. (ET) on YouTube or later that day on Answers TV for Answers News. You won’t want to miss this unique news program that gives science and culture news from a distinctly biblical and Christian perspective.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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