Killer Whales Quickly Evolving?


Killer whales “are still evolving, and quickly,” BBC News reports. But is it really so?

Scientists led by Andrew Foote of the Natural History Museum of Denmark have watched as orcas (another name for the whales) living near Antarctica appear to be diverging into two types, B and C. Type B orcas are among the largest known and feed on seals, while type C orcas are small and mainly eat fish. The two types also have distinct head markings.

Curious to learn more, Foote’s team compared the genes of the two orca types and discovered two notable differences. All type B orcas showed a mutation on a gene known as site 279, while most type C orcas have a separate mutation, at site 193. The genes are both involved in directing how the whales’ cells produce energy. Foote explained:

The gene under selection is important in producing energy for the body’s cells, and so the mutations are probably linked to the metabolic requirements of these two types. Both types live in the Antarctic pack ice and therefore the low temperature of this habitat could be one selective pressure. But the two mutations should have the opposite effect on metabolism to one another, suggesting divergent evolution.

According to the researchers, neither mutation is present in the genome of what is thought to be the two orca types’ most recent ancestor, dating from before the two types split off an alleged 150,000 years ago.

As with most supposed examples of evolution in action, however, these orcas’ divergence can be explained within a biblical, creation-based biology framework. Genetic mutations and the workings of natural selection do appear to have led to two new orca types; yet neither shows an increase of genetic information or diversity relative to either the other or to the hypothesized common ancestor. Furthermore, the whales are still whales. Foote’s team has thus helped reveal another interesting case not of molecules-to-man-style evolution, but of a population of creatures adapting to its environment.

Further Reading

For More Information: Get Answers

Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, FOX News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us. If you didn’t catch all the latest News to Know, why not take a look to see what you’ve missed?

(Please note that links will take you directly to the source. Answers in Genesis is not responsible for content on the websites to which we refer. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.)


Get the latest answers emailed to you or sign up for our free print newsletter.

I agree to the current Privacy Policy.

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390