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ScienceNOW: “Froggy Went a-Rafting”
A recent evolutionary finding from Central and South America lends support to creationists’ post-Flood speciation model. Biologist S. Blair Hedges and colleagues at Penn State University conducted extensive research on frogs in Central and South America, plus the Caribbean, collecting tissue from nearly 300 kinds of frogs in genus Eleutherodactylus. The goal? To determine more about the largely unexplored evolutionary history of the genus, and to determine how species are related across geography.
The team’s results overturned previous scientific “assumption,” which held that “frogs on different islands evolved at different times from separate South American emigrants.” Instead, the research indicated that:
[T]he frogs in Central America are in a distinct part of the family tree from those on Caribbean islands. And the frogs on the islands are more closely related to each other than to frogs anywhere else, meaning they all evolved from one ancestral population, which rafted from island to island and developed into all the various species.
Frogs would have all descended from an original amphibian (possibly frog) kind.
The researchers also concluded that this island-to-island speciation occurred “only 50 million years ago, more recently than the existence of a land bridge between any Caribbean islands and Central and South America,” further supporting the idea that rafts made of “decaying plants, reeds, and roots, which can stretch for a mile and can surf along the ocean currents,” carried adult frogs or even frog eggs to new destinations.
We don’t agree with the timeline given (which is based on the assumption that evolution occurred). We do believe that the researchers’ methods to discern frog relationships are largely valid, as frogs would have all descended from an original amphibian (possibly frog) kind.
But, in particular, this research supports our post-Flood view of speciation that includes the possibility that animals traveled great distances on naturally occurring rafts. Once again, scientific research ostensibly reinforcing the evolution model is equally applicable to the creation model.
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