From Fish Fins to Fingers

This news is a couple of days old, but the creationists haven’t mentioned it yet. They will. It’s the sort of thing that is certain to distress them. Neil Shubin, who is responsible for the discovery of Tiktaalik, has come up with something else.

We’ll give you some excerpts from the news report at PhysOrg, New techniques boost understanding of how fish fins became fingers, with bold font added by us:

One of the great transformations required for the descendants of fish to become creatures that could walk on land was the replacement of long, elegant fin rays by fingers and toes. In the Aug. 17, 2016 issue of Nature, scientists from the University of Chicago show that the same cells that make fin rays in fish play a central role in forming the fingers and toes of four-legged creatures.

This is the article in Nature: Digits and fin rays share common developmental histories. You need a subscription to read it, so we’ll stay with PhysOrg. They say:

After three years of painstaking experiments using novel gene-editing techniques and sensitive fate mapping to label and track developing cells in fish, the researchers describe how the small flexible bones found at the ends of fins are related to fingers and toes, which are more suitable for life on land.

Egad! The evolutionists have driven yet another wooden stake into the creationist heart. Let’s read on:

“When I first saw these results you could have knocked me over with a feather,” said the study’s senior author, Neil Shubin, PhD, the Robert R. Bensley Distinguished Service Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago. Shubin is an authority on the transition from fins to limbs. “For years,” he said, “scientists have thought that fin rays were completely unrelated to fingers and toes, utterly dissimilar because one kind of bone is initially formed out of cartilage and the other is formed in simple connective tissue. Our results change that whole idea. We now have a lot of things to rethink.”

Creationists have a lot more to rethink, but they won’t bother. They never do. We’ll skip some technical details that you may want to read for yourself, and then we come to this:

“It was one of those eureka moments,” [Tetsuya Nakamura, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar in Shubin’s lab] said. “We found that the cells that mark the wrists and fingers of mice and people were exclusively in the fin rays of fish.”

Harrumph — the designer must have put them there. One more excerpt:

Future research includes new expeditions to find more fossil intermediates – such as Tiktaalik, a link between primitive fish and the first four-legged animals, discovered by Shubin and colleagues in 2006 – in the transition from fins to limbs. They are also planning experiments with Hox genes to learn how a common population of cells can form such different structures in fish and people.

Those infernal scientists — they keep finding things to support their theory! The creationists will have to respond to this. They ain’t no kin to no fish!

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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5 responses to “From Fish Fins to Fingers

  1. Clearly this work is evidence of intelligent design! That is, Dr. Neil Shubin and his colleagues have intelligently designed a number of experiments that have given us more facts that fit neatly into Darwin’s factual (no longer theoretical) framework.

  2. Shubin’s next book will be titled Your outer fins.

    Thank you , thank you, you can hire me for parties.

  3. One thing I don’t understand. Other anti-creationist websites, e.g. Sandwalk have their own creationists troll(s) who are always good for a laugh. But this website doesn’t have any! Why could that be? I demand trolls!

  4. KevinC is doing his best here. Although he’s not quite as funny as Robert Byers of the Panda’s Thumb.

  5. @Ted Lawry: The Curmudgeon does a great job of (ahem) keeping the trolls under control. Thank you, Curmy!