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Winnipeg Free Press: “New Water Lily Species Called Proof of Evolution” Darwin fans fret no more. From the climes of Canada comes definitive proof of evolution in action. At least, that’s what the headline says.
Dr. Diana Robson, the curator of botany at the Manitoba Museum in Canada, has discovered a new species of water lily. Although the species had already been documented in Saskatchewan, this is the first population found in Manitoba. According to the report, the species is relatively new and is a hybrid between two common species of water lily: Leiberg’s Water-lily (Nymphaea leibergii) and Fragrant Water-lily (Nymphaea odorata). In many cases, hybrid plants like this are sterile, but this new hybrid is able to reproduce and is, thus, a completely new species.
Still waiting for the proof of evolution? Well, according to Robson, you have to look past the prosaic nature of this find to the idea that “[n]ew species evolve when individuals obtain new genetic material that makes them well adapted to new habitats. Mutation is one way that organisms obtain new genetic information, and hybridization is another.” Furthermore, because this species has only been around for the “last 2,000 years,” this is proof that evolution is happening now.
"Mutation is one way that organisms obtain new genetic information, and hybridization is another.”
If you are underwhelmed by this supposed “proof” of evolution, you aren’t alone. While we would certainly agree with Robson that evolution (in the particles-to-people sense) would require organisms to obtain new genetic information (something that does not occur), this new water lily falls far short, which makes it much more ridiculous that the Manitoba Museum website claims this is “Proving Evolution.”
By Dr. Robson’s definition, any hybrid that is capable of reproducing is a new species. Ironically, speciation is generally defined as the inability to reproduce with the parent population. Granted, we do not know if this new hybrid can reproduce with the Lieberg’s or Fragrant Water-lily, but we find it interesting that the viability of water lily species in hybridizing does not cause Robson and others to question the very definition of species that they rely upon.
For a biblical creationist, what we see with this new water lily hybrid, like everything else, has nothing to do with Darwin’s hope to turn slime into sapiens. In fact, we think Robson is looking at this “proof” upside down. The fact that two water lily species can reproduce to make a new hybrid suggests that species may not be the best way to categorize such plants and animals. For a much more cogent method, you have to go back to the original kinds that God created in Genesis 1. God made all plants with a wealth of genetic information. Over time, the descendants of the original kinds have become specialized for particular environments and either lost information, or certain information is not expressed. Although many have lost the ability to hybridize, some have not—such as these rare water lilies. Hybrids, then, would not be breaking new ground; instead, a hybrid would simply be interbreeding between two descendents of the same biblical kind.
We find the same thing in the animal world. For example, many members of the horse kind can still reproduce, which is how a zonkey and a zorse, such as the ones at the Creation Museum petting zoo, came about (although they are infertile). These aren’t new species that show evolution; they are reminders of the original kinds—and the creativity of God.
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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.